Protecting Women on the Rolls: Emphasizing Consistency and Empowerment in TANF’s Family Violence Option
Domestic violence is an experience that threatens the health and well-being of all victims, but perhaps none more so than women who depend on government aid. Studies suggest that a culture of empowerment lessens instances of domestic violence, but what does this empowerment actually look like on a national scale? With these questions in mind, the larger question follows: how do we create an environment of empowerment within the context of those government-guaranteed programs so that we can protect those women who are most vulnerable to intimate partner violence? Because a just society requires empowerment, and because the current FVO is ineffective at consistently achieving empowerment among women on the rolls experiencing domestic violence, I argue that we must make several significant changes to the structure of the Family Violence Option if we wish to provide the protection for these victims that justice requires. For the application of this framework, I have chosen to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a program that is unique in its inclusion of a Family Violence Option, a waiver that offers state-by-state exemptions to TANF’s requirements.
Jordan Baker Cohen is a member of the Class of 2017 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]