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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

Tracking Federal Poverty / Family Support Policy


There are a variety of federal programs which address the needs of young children and their families. This section of our web site tracks the federal government programs on child poverty and family support. 

The chart below provides a basic overview of the federal programs, as well as status updates on the authorizations of those programs by Congress.

To track the funding of these programs through the annual Congressional appropriations process, click here.

Federal Law/ ProgramOverview Authorization

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)


Means-tested and time-limited cash assistance program aimed at assisting needy families with children and reducing dependency through job preparation, work, and marriage.

Administered by the Office of Family Assistance within the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Authorization expires in 2010.

Social Services Block Grant (SSBG, Title XX of the Social Security Act)


Allocates funds to states to support a variety of social service programs for adults and children to achieve self-sufficiency, prevent or remedy abuse and neglect, and referrals for institutional care where appropriate.

Administered by the Office of Community Services within the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Permanently authorized.



Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)



Allocates funds to states, territories and tribes, so that they may provide supportive services and activities to assist low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

Administered by the Faith-based and Community Initiative within the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Authorization expired in 2003.



Women, Infants and Children
Supplemental Food Program (WIC)

Federal program aimed at improving the health of pregnant woman, new mothers, infants, and young children.

Administered by the Food and Nutrition Service at the Department of Agriculture.

Authorization expires in 2009.



Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


Formerly called the Food Stamp program, SNAP provides benefits to low-income people and families to buy the food they need for good health.

Administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.fns.usda.gov/FSP/

Authorization expires in 2013.



Home Visitation





This proposed initiative would create a new mandatory Home Visitation program to support the establishment and expansion of evidence-based home visitation programs for low income families and pregnant women in states and territories. The initiative will primarily fund models that have been rigorously evaluated and shown to have positive effects on critical outcomes for children and families. At the same time, a portion of the funds will be used to support promising models requiring additional evaluation.

Administered by the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/                                                                    

Legislation required to implement this program is included in both the House and the Senate health care reform bills. 








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