BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana is doubling cash payments available to poor families through its welfare programs next year in the first increase in more than two decades.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services said the new payment amounts will boost benefits to the national average.

They will begin in January. About 1,500 households receive cash assistance through the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program, and 1,300 households receive kinship care subsidies for relatives caring for children whose parents don’t live in the home.

A three-person household that gets $240 in welfare assistance will see that amount grow to $484. Kinship care subsidies will grow from $222 per child to $450.