Document Type


Publication Date



For half a century, Aid to Families with Dependent Children ("AFDC")' -the program of federally supported cash assistance to low-income families with children-has been oddly conceived. Congress has chosen to make assistance available almost solely to low-income single-parent families, not all low-income parents with children. At first many of the eligible single parents were women whose husbands had died. Over time, a growing majority were women who had been married to their children's father but who had separated or divorced. Today, to an ever increasing extent, they are women who were never married to the fathers of their children.2