Needy Families and the Recovery Act Funds: Is Your State Leaving Money on the Table?

Renee Davidson
December 8, 2009

With nearly 40 million Americans -- including nearly 14 million children -- living in poverty, Congress included provisions for $5 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to help low-income families. But states have been slow to take advantage of the money available through the fund, called the TANF Emergency Fund. In fact, as of mid-November 2009, less than $1 billion of the funds had been awarded. Many states still have yet to apply. The clock is ticking: Funds are only available until the end of fiscal year 2010.

The Journalism Center on Children and Families' Renee Davidson explains how to report on the TANF Emergency Fund, including: what it offers, the obstacles faced by states pursuing the funds, how to debunk misconceptions about the funds, how to track your state's progress and the application process.