Two heartrending news articles crossed my desk this morning. Both highlight the reasons that TANF (the main federal anti-poverty program) should focus on economic assistance. They also point to the importance of healthy relationships for all people, regardless of marital status. If any federal money is going to pay for relationship education, it really must be available to people in every type of relationship.
Women’s e-News details how the recession contributed to an increase in domestic violence.
The New York Times details how evictions have a disparate impact on unmarried African-American women.
President Obama’s budget proposal offers a one-year extension and expansion of marriage programs. Few details are available yet, but we’re inclined to agree with our colleague Wendy Mink, who writes
far from a one-shot deal, this is a shot-in-the-arm to proponents of privatizing poverty reduction through patriarchal family norms. Significantly, despite economic hard times, the budget request does not include increases in cash grants to struggling families, a suspension of time limits on eligibility for assistance, an end to sanctions, or a change in rules so that more families in need of assistance can actually get it. We need to insist on changes to the structure of TANF, not the structure of families.
If you haven’t signed our TANF petition yet, now is the time!