Maryland families receiving Temporary Cash Assistance
2019 is estimated using January through March data.
“Temporary Cash Assistance” also refers to cash welfare under Aid for Families with Dependent Children (1960-1995) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (1996-present)
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Baltimore Sun analysis
Using child support to pay back cash assistance has generated significant money for government coffers, but as welfare rolls fall sharply, so does this revenue source. Stopping the practice of squeezing money from deeply poor parents to repay the government has never cost less, researchers say.
1971: Democratic U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Russell Long denounces “deadbeats who abandon [their children] to welfare” in a Senate floor address called “The Welfare Mess”
1975: A federal-state child support program is established with a primary purpose of recouping government welfare costs, requiring child support to children in welfare families to be paid to the government
1981: President Reagan signs bill cutting welfare spending and tightening eligibility rules
1996: President Clinton signs welfare reform bill, establishing stricter rules for welfare recipients and requiring states to give more child support payments to families who used to receive welfare
2004: Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement calls child support a “family-first program” and “no longer primarily a welfare reimbursement, revenue-producing device for the Federal and State governments”
2019: Maryland gives child support payments of $100 for one child and $200 for two children or more directly to welfare families, with the rest going to the government, starting in July
A national expert estimates it would cost Maryland only about $1 million a year to end the policy going forward and direct parents’ entire child support payments to their families