Spending Too Much, Accomplishing Too Little: An Analysis of the Family Formation Provisions of H.R. 4737 and Recommendations for Change.

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Levin-Epstein, Jodie.
Ooms, Theodora.
Parke, Mary.
Roberts, Paula.
Turetsky, Vicky.
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On May 16, 2002, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4737, the Personal Responsibility, Work, and Family Promotion Act of 2002, which, among other things, amends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to encourage states to make more efforts to promote marriage and, to a lesser extent, responsible fatherhood. The bill also earmarks substantial funds -- $1.6 billion -- focused almost exclusively for the promotion and support of marriage.

In this paper, we describe and analyze the various family formation provisions in H.R. 4737 and offer recommendations for how the legislation could be improved. We begin with an overview of the issue, then proceed with an analysis of the various provisions in the bill regarding: (1) program purposes and maintenance of effort clauses, (2) the provision of TANF benefits to two-parent families, (3) the establishment of marriage performance goals, and (4) funding for marriage and fatherhood activities. In each section, we offer recommendations. (Author abstract)

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