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Abstract

Studies show that a majority of women who receive welfare are survivors of domestic violence. This Recent Developments piece argues that child exclusion provisions, which deny a family additional cash assistance if a child is born while the family is receiving cash aid, create unreasonably high barriers for domestic violence survivors receiving welfare to achieve safety. This piece also argues that in order to help domestic violence survivors achieve safety and heal from abuse, every state should implement the Family Violence Option, establish minimum standards for domestic violence training and screening in welfare offices, and specify program requirements that can be waived and identify protocols for waiver implementation. After examining policies and recent changes in California as a case study, this piece concludes by providing guidance and recommendations for welfare offices in making choices to promote safety for domestic violence survivors.

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