Re: “Temporary assistance for needy families can be a lifeline” [Jan. 10, Opinion]:

I hope all Washington state legislators read this Op-Ed. A bill introduced this past week can remove restrictions from WorkFirst/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families that in the past helped so many of our families with precarious finances and living situations.

From 1980 to 2008, I was in pediatric practices serving families in South Seattle and King County. During this time, I saw our poor families initially getting virtually no federal or state financial support and then, in 1997, assistance from WorkFirst/Temporary Assistance to Families in Need. This program was essential for the support of so many of the families that I cared for. Now, in 2020, restrictions on this program prevent many of our poor families in Washington from its benefits.

Needy families receiving direct financial assistance use it to provide resources for their children’s healthy development. We do not need to see generations grow into adulthood suffering as the consequence of traumatic early childhood experiences that could be prevented through providing families financial and social support.

Urge your legislators to support WorkFirst/TANF, and help stop the traumas that underlie adult illness and cost our society psychologically, socially and financially.

Elinor Graham, Seattle, M.D., FAAP