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TANF was created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act instituted under President Bill Clinton in 1996. The Act provides temporary financial assistance while aiming to get people off of that assistance, primarily through employment. There is a maximum of 60 months of benefits within one's lifetime (some states have instituted shorter periods). In enforcing the 60-month time limit, some states place limits on the adult portion of the assistance only, while still aiding the otherwise eligible children in the household. While on aid, there is a component requiring non-exempt clients to attempt to find employment. Unmarried minor parents have to live with a responsible adult or guardian. Paternity of children must be established in order to receive benefits. These requirements have led to massive drops in the number of people receiving cash benefits since 1996, but there has been little change in the national poverty rate during this time.  The table below shows these figures along with the annual unemployment rate. 
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, often pronounced /ˈtæˌnɪf/) is the United States of America's federal assistance program, formerly known as “welfare”. It began on July 1, 1997, and succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, providing cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children through the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to 1997, eligibility was determined by the federal government, which administered the program. Since 1997, states have been given block grants and administer their own programs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_Assistance_for_Needy_Families
- Lieberman, Robert. Shifting the Color Line: Race and the American Welfare State. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2001.
- Kaufman, Darren S. "Aid to Families with Dependent Children (ADFC)." in Encyclopedia of Health Care Management, ed. Michael J. Stahl. SAGE Publications, 2003, p. 17
- Welfare Reform and Single Mothers (Yale Economic Review)
- Numbers On Welfare See Sharp Increase by Sara Murray, The Wall Street Journal, June 21 2009
- http://cqresearcherblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/are-safety-nets-working.html Are "Safety Nets" Working. CQ Researcher Blog
- TANF Fact Sheet at HHS
- Congressional Research Service Report on TANF
- "Labor Force Statistics including the National Unemployment Rate". U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/data/.
- "Historical Poverty Tables". U.S. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/histpovtb.html.
- "Caseload Data". Administration for Children and Families. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/data-reports/caseload/caseload_recent.html.
Average Monthly TANF Recipients, Percent of U.S. Families in Poverty and Unemployment Rate