when TANF undermines its own goal…

The Oregonian has a new article about TANF called: Oregon welfare audit says state should increase job training, accountability to move recipients into work. I found out about it via the blog of The Institute for Research on Poverty based at The University of Wisconsin and not because it’s my local paper. Because that’s how the world works the days.

Oregon has one of the lowest cutoffs thresholds for TANF recipients in the nation. A single parent with two children who earns $617 a month — about $7,400 a year — no longer qualifies for TANF in Oregon, according to the audit.

Policymakers need to restructure the system so that recipients face a “glide path off the program, not a cliff,” said Jessica Chanay, deputy director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and a member of the Oregon TANF Alliance.

Chanay was on welfare from 1989-96 while raising two children on her own. She found a job as a framer at a construction site in 1991 but quit after about a week because her welfare payments had ended immediately.

“I couldn’t even make it those two weeks until I got my first paycheck,” Chanay said. “I couldn’t even pay for gas to get to the job, so I had to quit the job and got back on the program. I was trying to do everything I could to get off the program, and I didn’t have the support services.”

Chanay graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in 1996, found a job and never received welfare again.