On Tuesday, March 19, Governor Inslee signed EHSB 1652 and SHB 2007 into law. These bills take important strides towards making Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) a more effective pathway out of poverty for families living on low incomes in our state. 

Governor Inslee signs ESHB 1652, flanked by bill sponsors, policy lobbyists, and community advocates.

ESHB 1652 reinstates the full TANF Child Support Passthrough, which will ensure that families on TANF who receive child support from a non-custodial parent will receive 100% of the payments made. Under existing policy, the state collects child support payments made to families on TANF and only passes through $50 for one child or $100 for two or more children.  

From July 2021 to August 2023, DSHS collected $46 million in child support from families on TANF. Families only received $9 million of those funds, meaning that DSHS kept $37 million in payments intended for children in deep poverty in our state during this two-year period. 

When ESHB 1652 goes into effect in 2026, families will receive 100% of child support payments, as intended. While we are not thrilled about the delayed implementation timeline, we are happy to see this bill cross the finish line this legislative session and look forward to the full implementation of this policy. 

We are so grateful to the lawmakers, community advocates, and our advocacy partners who have worked with us for years to get this policy across the finish line. This legislative effort was driven from start to finish by the lived experience of our community advocates, whose dedication to sharing their story shaped this policy change. 

Governor Inslee Signs SHB 2007, flanked by bill sponsors, policy lobbyists, and advocates.

SHB 2007 will reinstate TANF hardship time limit exemptions for families with children under two who still qualify for an infant or toddler WorkFirst exemption. This is a baby step towards our policy goal of reinstating TANF hardship time limit exemptions for all families on TANF, which will address racial inequity in TANF distribution and allow families to access lifeline support when they need it.  

This bill will not achieve the policy outcomes we are working towards but is a small victory that energizes us to continue advocating for policy change to make TANF an effective pathway out of poverty for families living on low incomes in our state. As we enter the interim, we are proud of the major policy progress we’ve made with ESHB 1652 and motivated by the baby steps taken by SHB 2007.  

We want to extend a special thanks to Rep. Taylor, the sponsor of ESHB 1652; Rep. Peterson, the sponsor of SHB 2007; and Amy Roark, a community advocate who shared her story of TANF and child support countless times over the past years. These legislative successes would not be possible without their dedication and work on these bills.