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Letter to the editor: On Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Rachel Cox

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As human beings, we all share certain innate things in common. Two of those things are: we were all children at one point, and we do not choose the situation of our birth. 

For these reasons, most of us feel compassion toward children and the issues that affect them. Although we feel this compassion, it appears that we are not acting upon it to positively impact their lives. This is blatantly evident in the cutting of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs in Kansas. 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Children is supposed to allow children of all backgrounds in all life situations to start out on the same footing. As TANF’s requirements increase work demands for caregivers receiving benefits, but in doing so it is the children who suffer. What the hell? 

Some recent changes include shortened infant care exemptions from six months to three months and shortening the lifetime benefits from 60 months to 48. Most of these changes have come in times of recession when more families and children need help and when fewer job opportunities necessary to receive benefits, and then someday no longer need them, are available. 

If you care about children and children’s issues, then these chances should seem punitive and unacceptable. Together we need to demand from our state representatives that children get the assistance they need to have equal opportunities in the future. TANF can help make that happen.

— Rachel Cox

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