BP6: AFDC vs. TANF: the grudge match

Explain AFDC & TANF.  Discuss the ideological and political changes surrounding the switch from AFDC to TANF. Describe the differences & similarities between the two programs.  

These blog posts have been eerily on-target with whatever is going on in my life at the time.

I have a friend who experiences pretty intense instability in every area of her life. Yesterday I was helping her move out of her house because she was being evicted. After months of struggle and food insecurity, she finally filed for SNAP and TANF. I felt good that I was able to explain some of the benefits of it to her and also comfort her with the knowledge that, as a taxpayer, she’s already paid for these services. Now she gets to use them.

I’m a big proponent of working smarter, not harder (although I do work hard). I found this super nifty chart that lays out many of the similarities and differences in AFDC and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

A major ideological difference in AFDC and TANF is the idea that people were “living off the system”, since there were no limits on how long a person could be on assistance. TANF is a five-year limit. Another difference is the idea that children had to be deprived of support by one parent because of death, separation, divorce, or desertion.

I can see the perspective of those who feel that people “live off” welfare and do not support government support. Those people are likely recalling AFDC, however, and are uneducated on how TANF works. Check out the chart.

I pulled this from www.advocatesforyouth.org.


(before 1997)

(after 1997)

Federal Funding
  • Unlimited for AFDC and EA
  • Capped entitlement for JOBS
  • Federal share of AFDC and JOBS costs varied inversely with state per capita income
  • Fixed grant
  • Plus: (1) contingency fund and loans for states with high population growth and low welfare spending; (2) welfare-to-work grants (through FY 2003); and (3) bonuses to states that reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births and abortions
State Funding
  • Matching required for each federal dollar
  • States must spend 75 percent of “historic” level (100 percent for contingency funds) and must provide matching for contingency funds
Categories Eligibility
  • Children with one parent or with an incapacitated or unemployed second parent
  • Set by state
Income Limits
  • Set by state
  • Set by state
Benefit Levels
  • Set by state
  • Set by state
  • States required to aid all families eligible under state income standards
  • TANF expressly denies entitlement to some individuals
Work Requirement
  • JOBS Program had participation requirements, but not work requirements
  • By 2002, states must have 50 percent of their caseload in specified work activities
Exemptions from Work Requirement
  • Parents (chiefly mothers) with a child under age three (under age one at state option)
  • None, but states may exempt single parents caring for children under age 1
Work Trigger
  • None
  • Work (as defined by the state) required after a maximum of two years of benefits
Time Limit for Benefits
  • None
  • Five-year time limit (20 percent hardship exceptions allowed)

Generalist Practice Blog Post 6: Building a Leadership Plaza

Part 1: Please share what 2 changes/additions you made to your website (note if they were peer suggested or your own ideas) and explain your reasoning behind it.

Shelby suggested that I add a pictures, add and About Me section, and delete my test “This is a Test” blog. I did all these things. I added one picture of myself at the end of my About me section. I also added an archive to my sidebar as well as a calendar. I think these changes add personality to my blog. I think they also make my blog a little more user friendly and fun for people to navigate. I’m having fun with this and look forward to making some more changes as the semester goes on.

I also added a Tags and a Categories section to increase ease of navigation.


Part 2: Using citations and key points from the Morse Chapter 7 (“Growing New Leaders”) text, explain 3 important elements of building a “leadership plaza.”

According to the text, a leadership plaza is “open, inviting opportunities to put the whole community to work for the community. (Morse, 2014, pp. 166)”

I think the first significant piece of building a leadership plaza is in the leaders that are elected. A good example is from Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston, SC and his commitments to his community (Morse, 2014, pp. 156-157)

  • Open government for everyone, so everyone feels they can participate.
  • Historic preservation, so we can learn from the past and keep those things protected.
  • Strategic, long-term planning and follow-through for the future to keep the community constantly revitalized.

Building a leadership plaza also includes protection of the children in that community. In Harlem in NYC, Geoffrey Canada developed the Harlem Children’s Zone to provide a safety net that would offer support for the kids that live within a 100 block range in Harlem. They offered social, educational, and health support for these kids (Morse, 2014, pp. 158).

Finally, good leaders working within that leadership plaza are looking to the future. Programs like Kansas Health Foundation (Morse, 2014, pp. 162) and Horizons (Morse, 2014, pp. 163) are looking long-term when solving issues like poverty and health. They understand that “wicked” problems can’t be solved in six months. Most can’t even be solved within a year. They create long-term projections and are willing to stick to them and see them through, even during the times when it appears that nothing is happening. It’s hard when we live in a society that is obsessed with instant gratification.

It’s good to read about how these communities have set themselves up for a good future, but it is still a bit frustrating to think of how long one must wait to see the fruits of their labor. But that’s what good leaders do.

Morse, S. (2014). Smart communities: How citizens and local leaders can use

       strategic thinking to build a brighter future (2nd edition). San Francisco: