Podcast | Why a WA mom’s child support payments never arrived

Reporter Brandon Block shares an example of how the state intercepts parental assistance to people who also receive TANF, or welfare.

Amy Roark in the woods near Vancouver, WA

For several years, while Amy Roark was on TANF, the state intercepted thousands in child support payments meant for her children. Now she’s off TANF, but still struggling after the loss of that money. (Kristina Barker for Crosscut)

In 2017, Amy Roark applied for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program after one of her exes stopped paying his child support.    

She began to receive money through the program, but as these funds started coming in, she stopped getting payments from her exes altogether.   

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This was thanks to a Washington policy which intercepts child support to families on TANF – a common practice in most states. Washington lawmakers are pushing a bill that would redirect a portion of future payments back to these individuals.    

In this episode, we speak with Crosscut’s Brandon Block about his reporting on Washington’s interception of child support, including why it happens and how it affects families like Amy’s.   

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