What is TANF and how does it relate to child support?
The Federal laws “supporting families” — yes, I’m implying a sarcastic tone — are intentionally a maze so that no one can unearth answers to very basic questions like: “Where did the money go?”
On a tip from Connie Reguli, I took a look at the wording of TANF which stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Like most labels of laws within the Federal government, the title is yet more smoke and mirrors.
The selected text below comes directly from the main TANF document found here.
Child Support Enforcement Requirements
Families receiving cash assistance are often headed by a single mother. In most of these families, there is a noncustodial parent who is also likely to be financially responsible for the children’s economic well-being. TANF has requirements that assistance recipients cooperate with child support enforcement and assign their child support to the state as a condition of receiving assistance within the TANF program. As discussed in “Assistance Provided in the TANF Program or in Separate State Programs,” these requirements do not apply if assistance is provided through a “separate state program.”
Families receiving TANF assistance must cooperate with the state in establishing the paternity of a child and in establishing, modifying, or enforcing orders that the noncustodial parent pay child support. Federal law requires states to penalize families who do not cooperate with child support enforcement requirements by cutting their benefits at least 25%. States could penalize families by more, and even end assistance for failure to cooperate with child support enforcement requirements.
Families receiving TANF assistance must assign (legally turn over) any child support they receive from noncustodial parents to their state as a reimbursement for welfare costs. The federal government and the states split the receipts from assigned child support. A state has the option of passing through assigned child support to TANF families.
At some point I may take a deeper dive into this document and all the implications, but at first glance my analysis looks something like this.
- States have child support collection systems. Only two (Colorado and Minnesota) pass 100% of what they collect to the custodial parent. In California, only 30% of all money collected “passes through” to the parent. Bottom line: states have created a system where removing a parent and setting up a child support system yields a profit margin for the state.
- If states DO NOT set up a child support system (to profit the state), they lose funding for needy families
People need to wake up to the myth known as child support. Our country is being derailed so that states can get their cut off the collection of child support. The myriad of financial incentives to create unethical state collection systems need to be quickly, harshly curtailed if we have any hope of saving the American family.