Folbre: Inadequate Assistance for Needy Families

Nancy Folbre

Nancy Folbre, economics, writes a column in the New York Times Economix blog about how the cash-welfare program for needy families with children is inadequate and growing more so as the numbers of poor children grows due to the economic downturn and high unemployment. (New York Times, 9/20/10)

September 20, 2010
For Needy Families, a Needy Program

But the inadequacies of the needy-families program have also contributed to the deterioration of economic conditions among the very young. 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, our nation’s primary cash-welfare program for families with children, would more accurately be named Inadequate Assistance for Needy Families.

The latest Census Bureau estimates show that an additional 2.1 million children officially entered poverty between 2007 and 2009, as the poverty rate among children rose to 20.7 percent from 18 percent.

This comes as no surprise, given increases in unemployment over these years, from 4.6 percent in January 2007 to 10 percent by December 2009 (declining only slightly to 9.6 percent in August 2010).  Read more…