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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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In 1996, federal legislation replaced the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with a block grant to states to finance a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The law greatly extended the devolution of federal authority to the states that had been occurring. When the law passed, many welfare reform initiatives already were under way through federal waivers that allowed states to experiment with key features of the federal AFDC program. Because states varied considerably in their use of waivers, in mid-1996 substantial diversity existed among states’ welfare programs. This diversity was expected to influence states’ responses to TANF. (Authors)
The Urban Institute
Washington, D.C.