When life knocks us down, we all can use a helping hand to get back on our feet. SNAP, TANF, WIC and other safety net programs provide essential assistance to hundreds of thousands of Alabamians who struggle with challenges like unemployment, health problems or wages that are too low to make ends meet. Arise studies the importance of safety net programs to our society and economy and examines the need to continue making strong investments in them.
Congress established WIC in the 1970s to try to reduce disturbingly high infant death rates, and the program has been a success story ever since. Infant mortality rates in Alabama and nationwide have fallen by nearly two-thirds since the creation of the program officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. [...]
The cost of living has increased in the last two decades, but federal money for temporary cash aid for very low-income families has not kept up. The federal government in 1997 froze its allocations for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, informally known as welfare. Since then, the number of families receiving benefits has [...]
Many hungry children miss out on far more than regular meals. Hunger can do serious, long-term harm to a child's health and ability to learn, and childhood hunger is a bigger challenge in Alabama than in most other states. More than one in four of the state's children live in families with incomes below the poverty [...]