The Department of Human Services (DHS) offers several programs for lower income households. These programs offer a wide variety of services and assistance to low-income households, and the DHS typically runs these programs at a district level. Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) is a DHS-sponsored program that provides assistance to children for basic needs such as child care, medical assistance and nutrition.
ADC aims to help poor families that have dependent children. The federal government initiated the ADC program in 1935 as part of the Social Security Act. Under stipulations of the legislation, the federal government provided matching grants to state-run programs for the poor to assist dependent children. These grants continue in 2011.
Provisions of the Social Security Act, including ADC, became the legal basis for the welfare system that exists in the United States. From ADC, the federal government subsequently passed several pieces of legislation providing assistance to mothers in homes in which the breadwinner was unable to work because of illness or disability. This later became Aid to Families with Dependent Children, a federal program that ran until 1996. In 1996, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program.
One of the main difficulties implementing and developing ADC programs has resulted from the many forms that ADC has taken over the years. Because ADC deals with a series of state programs and not a single federal program, the specifics of ADC vary widely from state to state. Therefore, the initial ADC program has created a depth of state issues the federal government can no longer manage. For example, each state has different eligibility requirements and different levels of assistance provided by ADC, making it impossible for the federal government to provide a significant amount of oversight for this program.
Specific Kinds of Assistance
The ADC program, in its form at the time of publication, helps poor children and families in several ways. Food stamps provide households with assistance paying for food, helping to ensure that children do not go hungry. Additionally, ADC offers low-cost or free health care for children of all ages. The specific benefits received by your family depend on the state in which you reside and the number of dependent children you have in your household.