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Why This Indicator Matters

TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is designed to provide a temporary safety net to poor families. In the past 20 years there have been sweeping changes on both the federal and state level to eligibility. As a result, TANF reaches fewer and fewer families with financial need.
This means that many families lack the income to meet their most basic needs for food & shelter.
It is true that in times that when the economy is good, fewer families will need this basic income support of TANF. Still, most of the reason for the declines in TANF use both in this state and nationally, are due to changes in eligibility, including time limits and work requirements.


What the data shows
After a slight up tick from 2008 to 2010, statewide, from 2010 to 2017, the number of children with TANF has declined from 24,916 to 7,405 or down 69%.
On a county level, in 2017, the use of TANF among Maine's children varied between a high of 5.4% in Androscoggin County and 4.1% in Somerset County to a low of 1.1% in Hancock County and 1.6% in Sagadahoc County.
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