Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) began in October, 1996.
Those who were on assistance at that time and every family that has started to receive TANF assistance since that time have all been limited to no more than sixty months of lifetime benefit under the program. That time limit has expired for many families already, and more are affected as each month passes. Though it is possible to extend TANF beyond the five year maximum under some circumstances, our goal is to assist families in becoming self-supporting quickly enough to avoid using up their maximum benefit.
TANF is a potential source of assistance for families that have children who are deprived for one of the following reasons:
- Death of a parent
- Continued absence of a parent
- Physical or mental incapacity of a parent
- Unemployment of a parent
TANF clients may have a number of problem areas, such as lack of child care, little or no education, insufficient work experience, lack of available transportation, unpaid child support, no health insurance, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, illiteracy, and emotional problems.
TANF recipients must participate in the TANF / Work program (unless exempt), and the program is designed to help move them into the workforce as quickly and effectively as possible. Every person involved in the program is individually assessed. That assessment includes identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and the social service specialist works with the client to develop a plan that meets his or her needs.
TANF recipients can perform many tasks in order to fulfill their participation requirements, including both subsidized and unsubsidized employment, on-the-job training, job search, vocational education, and completion of a GED. To further assist TANF recipients, participation allowances may be paid, as well as start-up payments. Flexible funding is available to eliminate problem areas preventing successful completion of work-related tasks.
One of the major things that has happened since the advent of the TANF block grant is the opportunity to make changes in the way we approach working with our clients. We are now more family focused than ever before, and many new initiatives have been put in place to ensure that families are strengthened by the TANF program.
This change has created a focus on new goals, and the creation of several initiatives designed to assist in achieving those goals.
Some of those initiatives are:
- Continued Medical Benefits (CMB)
- Adjustment Period