Home / Special Collections / Welfare and Domestic Violence

Special Collection: Welfare and Domestic Violence

Collected in this area of VAWnet are materials related to welfare, now known as the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), with a particular focus on the Family Violence Option and related provisions and their implementation at the federal and state level. This special collection is designed to provide advocates ready access to documents, fact sheets, research, legislation and rules, and other materials to support informed discussions with policy-makers and welfare personnel and effective advocacy on behalf of survivors.

Table of Contents:

   
  • Acronym & Abbreviation Key
    Click here for a list of organizational, legislative, and trade related acronyms, abbreviations and terms in the annotated entries of this special welfare collection.

TANF - Legislation and Rules | Back to top

The 1996 Federal welfare law provided states the option of adopting and implementing the Family Violence Option (FVO) to address the needs of domestic violence victims receiving welfare. Included below is the full text of the FVO in the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, the Final Rule issued by HHS to Guide it's implementation, as well as information on the larger TANF bill. Also included is information related to the new TANF provisions in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

2005 TANF Reauthorization Provisions
  • TANF, Healthy Marriage, and Responsible Fatherhood Provisions | Word DOC (7 p.) PDF PDF (7 p.)
    This document includes an excerpt of the Subtitle A – TANF provisions included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 signed into law on 2/8/06. More detailed analysis and resources will be posted soon.
    + View Summary
TANF - The Family Violence Option
  • Not Enough: What TANF Offers Family Violence Victims | PDF PDF (39 p.)
    by Timothy Casey, Jill Davies, Annika Gifford, and Anne Menard, Legal Momentum & The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (March 2010)
    Report on findings from a survey of 600 domestic violence, legal aid, and anti-poverty agency staff where 14% said that the TANF family violence responses work well in their states, and 43% said fewer than half of victims were able to access benefits.
    + View Summary
  • Family Violence Option and Hardship Exception 42 U.S.C. Sec. 602(a)(7) and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 608(a)(7)(C)(iii) | HTML HTML
    + View Summary
  • Excerpts from the TANF Final Rule: Preamble and Regulations Related to Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (18 p.) TXT TXT (18 p.)
    by Compiled by Jenny Schultz Pappariella, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
    This document is the NRCDV’s compilation of domestic violence provisions included as part of the 4/12/99 TANF Final Rules, developed to assist advocates to become familiar with the TANF Final Rule.
    + View Summary
  • HHS Summary of TANF Final Rules | HTML HTML
    (released on 4/12/99 and effective 10/1/99)
    This document is a 7-page summary of Final Rules issued by HHS. The summary includes a discussion of those sections of the Final Rule related to state implementation of the Family Violence Option (FVO) (see pp. 2-3).
    + View Summary
TANF - General
  • HHS Guidance to States on Application of TANF Final Rules | HTML HTML
    by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (June 18, 1999)
    A 2-page memo to states addressing some of the questions raised by states related to the TANF Final Rules released on 4/12/99.
    + View Summary
  • TANF Fact Sheet | HTML HTML
    by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (September 2000)
    A 2-page overview of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families developed by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    + View Summary
  • HHS Summary of TANF Final Rules | HTML HTML
    (released on 4/12/99 and effective 10/1/99)
    This document is a 7-page summary of Final Rules issued by HHS. The summary includes a discussion of those sections of the Final Rule related to state implementation of the Family Violence Option (FVO) (see pp. 2-3).
    + View Summary

Implementation of the Family Violence Option | Back to top

  • Family Violence Option | HTML HTML
    The full text of the Family Violence Option, and amendment to the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996.
    + View Summary
The Family Violence Option: State by State Summar
  • The Family Violence Option: State by State Summary | PDF PDF (28 p.)
    by Legal Momentum (2004)
    This report includes a brief description of the federal FVO, accompanied by a state-by-state chart that indicates whether the state has chosen to adopt the FVO, and, if so, how they have chosen to implement it.
    + View Summary
NRCDV Policy and Practice Papers
  • The New Welfare Law: Implications for Battered Women, Introduction to the Law | PDF PDF (10 p.) HTML HTML
    by Jill Davies, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (October 1996)
    Provides basic introduction to the U.S. federal welfare law, PRWORA of 1996 - provides information about this "welfare law" and its potential effects on battered women and their children.
    + View Summary
  • The New Welfare Law: State Implementation and Use of the Family Violence Option | PDF PDF (39 p.) HTML HTML
    by Jill Davies, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (January 1997)
    This paper explores the impact of implementing the U.S. federal welfare law, PRWORA of 1996. It looks at how the use of the FVO and the federal block grant program, TANF, might effect battered women and their children.
    + View Summary
  • Building Opportunities for Battered Women's Safety and Self-Sufficiency | PDF PDF (20 p.) HTML HTML
    by Jill Davies, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (1998)
    This practice paper provides background information about domestic violence and describes options battered women need available to them in order to be safe and more economically independent.
    + View Summary
  • Family Violence Protocol Development for TANF and Child Support Agencies | PDF PDF (19 p.) HTML HTML
    by Jill Davies, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (1998)
    This paper provides detailed guidance on developing family violence protocols within welfare settings. It is written to assist domestic violence advocates and state administrators implementing PRWORA
    + View Summary
National Studies and Reports
  • TANF: State Approaches to Screening for Domestic Violence Could Benefit from HHS Guidance | PDF PDF (46 p.)
    by United States Government Accountability Office (August 2005)
    [GAO-05-701 ] This recent Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on federal and state implementation of the Family Violence Option recommends that HHS identify and promote promising practices.
    + View Summary
  • Screening and Assessment in TANF/Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions | HTML HTML (6 p.)
    by Terri Thompson, Asheley Van Ness, Carolyn T. O'Brien, Urban Institute (March 2001)
    Examines screening and assessment issues related to barriers to employment among TANF recipients, including dv, substance abuse, mental health, and disabilities. Full Report (107 p.) [PDF PDF]
    + View Summary
  • Strategies for Addressing the Needs of Domestic Violence Victims within the TANF Program: The Experience of Seven Counties | HTML HTML (10 p.)
    by Martha Burt, Janine M. Zweig, and Kathryn Schlichter, Urban Institute (2000)
    This report summarizes what states were doing about the FVO, and examines daily operations of TANF and child support programs on the issue of dv. Full Report (115 p.) [PDF PDF]
    + View Summary
  • Keeping Battered Women Safe Through the Welfare to Work Journey: How are We Doing? A Report on the Implementation of Policies for Battered Women in State Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) | PDF PDF (40 p.)
    by Jody Raphael and Sheila Haennicke, Taylor Institute (now Center for Impact Research) (1999)
    The report explores state level FVO implementation issues and begins to identify promising practices.
    + View Summary
State Studies and Reports
  • Welfare on WorkFirst: Serving Victims on Public Assistance in Washington State | PDF PDF (60 p.)
    by Tyra Lindquist, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (June 2001)
    The findings and recommendations are based on eleven months of experience working in the field with partners in 19 pilot projects. Appendices (187 p.) [PDF PDF]
    + View Summary

Welfare-to-Work and Domestic Violence | Back to top

  • Self-Sufficiency and Safety: The Case for Onsite Domestic Violence Services at Employment Services Agencies | PDF PDF (28 p.)
    by L. McKean (October 2004)
    This document reports findings from a collaborative project of DV agencies and employment services agencies in Houston, Chicago, and Seattle. The report highlights experiences and barriers to work of DV, service needs, and outcomes.
    + View Summary
  • Addressing Domestic Violence as a Barrier to Work: Building Collaborations between Domestic Violence Service Providers and Employment Services Agencies | PDF PDF (31 p.)
    by L. McKean, Center for Impact Research (October 2004)
    This report summarizes lessons learned from a collaborative project of DV agencies and employment services agencies in Houston, Chicago, and Seattle. The report describes and recommends practices including collaboration, training, and screening/referral.
    + View Summary
  • Research & Evaluation on Violence Against Women: Battering, Work, & Welfare, Final Grant Report | PDF PDF (157 p.)
    by Lisa Brush and Lorraine Higgins, National Institute of Justice NCJ 205021 (2004)
    This research project sought to understand - from the perspectives of welfare recipients - the obstacles women face and the strengths and resources poor women bring to their struggles for safety and solvency.
    + View Summary
  • Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Women's Labor Force Participation, Final Report | PDF PDF (136 p.)
    by Stephanie Riger and Susan Staggs, National Institute of Justice NCJ 207143 (2004)
    This study assesses the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on labor force participation of welfare recipients and examines whether change in economic status affects violence levels.
    + View Summary

Curricula and Training Materials | Back to top

  • Recommendations for Training TANF and Child Support Enforcement Staff about Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (27 p.) HTML HTML
    by Jill Davies, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (December 2000)
    This paper provides an overview of legal and policy context for domestic violence training, presents suggestions for effective teaching, and defines the concept of a "basic response to domestic violence."
    + View Summary

Research – Welfare and Domestic Violence | Back to top

  • Welfare and Domestic Violence Against Women: Lessons from Research | PDF PDF (14 p.) HTML HTML
    by Eleanor Lyon, VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (August 2002)
    This paper provides a summary of the research on the connections between poverty, public assistance, employment, and violence against women. Implications for working with battered women who receive TANF are discussed in detail.
    + View Summary
  • A Review of Research on Welfare and Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (47 p.)
    by Richard Tolman, University of Michigan, and Jody Raphael, Center for Impact Research (2000)
    This paper reviews the growing body of research literature on domestic violence and welfare in several key areas and examines the relevance of the research for practice and policy, particularly for the implementation of the Family Violence Option.
    + View Summary
  • Monitoring Domestic Violence Policy and Practice in State Welfare Programs: The Role of Community-Based Groups and Providers, A How-to-Guide | PDF PDF (35 p.)
    by Pamela Jons, Center for Impact Research (1999)
    This paper offers basic guidance to community-based groups and service providers to use in conducting research and gathering information on welfare polices and practices related to domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Research & Evaluation on Violence Against Women: Battering, Work, & Welfare, Final Grant Report | PDF PDF (157 p.)
    by Lisa Brush and Lorraine Higgins, National Institute of Justice NCJ 205021 (2004)
    This research project sought to understand - from the perspectives of welfare recipients - the obstacles women face and the strengths and resources poor women bring to their struggles for safety and solvency.
    + View Summary
  • Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Women's Labor Force Participation, Final Report | PDF PDF (136 p.)
    by Stephanie Riger and Susan Staggs, National Institute of Justice NCJ 207143 (2004)
    This study assesses the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on labor force participation of welfare recipients and examines whether change in economic status affects violence levels.
    + View Summary
  • Violence Against Women: The Role of Welfare Reform | PDF PDF (13 p.)
    by Daniel Chandler, Joan Meisel, and Sandra Naylor Goodwin, National Institutes of Justice NCJ 205791 (2004)
    Using survey research in two California counties, this study documents high rates of domestic violence among welfare recipients, and its impact. Full Report (109 p.) [PDF PDF]
    + View Summary

Acronym & Abbreviation Key | Back to top

This is a list of organizational, legislative, and trade related acronyms, abbreviations and terms in the annotated entries of this special welfare collection.

  • ACF - Administration for Children and Families
  • AFDC – Aid to Families with Dependent Children
  • BCSDV – Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence
  • FVO – Family Violence Option
  • HHS - Department of Health and Human Services
  • OFA – Office of Family Assistance, ACF/HHS
  • PRWORA - Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996
  • TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families