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Oregon Struggling To Help Welfare Recipients Find Work

OPB | April 28, 2014 12:15 p.m. | Updated: April 28, 2014 2:04 p.m.

Oregon has seen a larger increase in TANF cases than any other state since 2007

Oregon has seen a larger increase in TANF cases than any other state since 2007

Secretary of State's Audits Division

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office has released an audit of the state’s welfare — or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — program, and the results paint a bleak picture of life on welfare. The report shows TANF took on as many new clients as it could during the recession, but didn’t have the staff or services to effectively help those clients become self-sufficient. 

Over the past six years, the number of single parent families in the system doubled, and two-parent families increased 400 percent. Case workers were forced to take on massive caseloads, and programs within TANF to help address problems like domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health issues were eliminated.

The TANF program provides a single parent family with two children with $450 per month on average, but as soon as that family makes more than $617 in a month, they are dropped from the system. Ninety-six percent of the families have no other source of income.

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