Assisting Two-Parent Families through TANF

Publication Date: June 23, 2016


Two-parent families’ lower TANF participation rates appear to result from differences in policies and practices. The dynamics of family relationships and personal feelings, especially of men, about seeking assistance may contribute to this difference as well. These families may also receive fewer support services than single-parent families because of either formal rationing of services or staff assumptions about their needs.

This report documents these findings by analyzing administrative data, phone interviews, and site visits, highlighting key findings about:

  1. the characteristics of two-parent families participating in or eligible for TANF;
  2. the variety of services two parent families are receiving through TANF;
  3. how state policies help or hinder families participation in TANF; and
  4. how beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of state and eligible families help or hinder families’ participating in TANF.
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