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Safety in the Safety Net: TANF Reauthorization Provisions Relevant to Domestic Violence.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Patel, Nisha.
Turetsky, Vicki.
Policy Analysis
Page Count: 

There is a strong link between domestic violence and the financial resources of families. Women living in economically distressed families and communities are more likely to experience domestic violence, and the violence is more severe. In addition, one of the main reasons that women remain with or return to an abusive partner is lack of financial resources. For women leaving battered women's shelters, access to an independent income, along with child care and transportation, are primary considerations in deciding whether to return to their abusive partner. Although many abused women with children are employed in low-wage jobs, domestic violence can be a major welfare-to-work programs, starts work, or initiates child support enforcement actions. In addition, some women face difficulties maintaining and advancing in their jobs because of the short- and long-term effects of domestic violence on their physical and mental health. Many women trying to leave an abusive home rely on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF reauthorization legislation pending in Congress would make a number of changes to the existing TANF program. Some proposed changes, such as increased child care funding and increased flexibility to pass though child support payments to families, could help domestic violence survivors achieve greater self-sufficiency and safety through employment. However, other changes--such as more restrictive work participation rules--may increase the vulnerability of domestic violence survivors. This paper summarizes key provisions in the TANF reauthorization bills of particular importance to domestic violence survivors and their advocates. (Author abstract modified)

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