Impact of Drug Testing for TANF Benefits

"Few proposals [to drug test applicants and recipients of TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] suggest child well-being improvements as a result of drug testing, though provisions for protective payees for children’s benefits are intended to ensure funds are spent on children’s needs. Proposals that sanction families by definition reduce the income available to the family and may therefore decrease child well?being. Sanctions and benefit decreases have been shown to increase the risk that children will be hospitalized and face food insecurity.42 An Idaho analysis also suggests that children may be harmed unintentionally by drug testing programs because parents may refuse to apply for benefits knowing they will face drug testing or may refuse to complete treatment.43 On the other hand, deterrent effects of drug testing may lead welfare applicants to reduce drug use, with potential positive effects for children."

Source: 

"Drug Testing Welfare Recipients: Recent Proposals and Continuing Controversies," Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (Washington, DC: October 2011), p. 8.
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/11/Dru...

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