HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

ASPE RESEARCH BRIEF(*)

Characteristics of American Indians and Alaska Natives Participating in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs[1]

April 2009

This Research Brief is available on the Internet at:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/09/AI-NA-TANF/rb.shtml

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Contents

References

Appendix A

Endnotes

Introduction

American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) can be served under state or tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.  Since 1997, a growing number of AI/AN tribes have assumed responsibility for their own TANF programs through the tribal TANF (TTANF) program, referred to as tribal programs in this paper.  While we know a good deal about the characteristics of state TANF populations, there is a knowledge gap pertaining to AI/ANs participating in either state or tribal programs.  For example, little has been published to date about the characteristics of AI/ANs in these programs such as their case status (e.g., child only, one-parent, two-parent), age, or average family size.  Additionally, data on AI/ANs in both of these programs have not been reported side-by-side or combined to permit a comprehensive picture both nationally and in selected states of AI/AN participation, nor have trends in AI/AN participation been compared with trends in the non-Indian state TANF population.

To address these issues, staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) conducted a study whose purpose was to gain a greater understanding of the characteristics and participation of AI/ANs in state and tribal programs over time.  Administrative caseload data submitted to HHS by state and tribal programs were used to obtain a full picture of the caseload sizes and characteristics of these populations.

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Background

In Census 2000, 4.3 million persons, or 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population, reported they were AI or AN.  Of the 4.3 million persons, 2.4 million were AI and AN alone, and 1.9 million were AI/AN in combination with other races (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006).  About 15 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives that reported only one race were Hispanic. 

AI/ANs are a diverse population living in various locations.  In 2000, about 36 percent of those who identified only AI/AN as their race lived in American Indian Areas (i.e., American Indian reservations and/or off-reservation trust lands, Oklahoma Tribal Jurisdictional Areas, and Alaska Native Village Statistical Areas), while 64 percent lived outside these American Indian areas. 

In 2004, the national poverty rate was higher for AI/ANs than for non-Hispanic Whites; about 22 percent of AI/ANs (alone or in combination) were living below the poverty level in the 12 months prior to being surveyed, compared with about 9 percent of non-Hispanic Whites (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007).  Despite improving unemployment rates over the 1990’s in Indian areas, there are ongoing economic problems in these areas and unemployment remains high (Taylor & Kalt, 2005).

The TANF program is a block grant program with four purposes: (1) assisting needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes, (2) reducing the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage, (3) preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and (4) encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.  Eligible AI/ANs can participate either in a state program, or if their tribe operates a tribal program, they can participate in the tribal program instead.  Federal funding for approved tribal programs is deducted from the federal TANF block grant funds for the state(s) where the TANF families served by the tribal program reside.  The amounts to be deducted are based on the sum historically spent by the federal government on American Indian families in the service area under the previous Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in 1994.  States are not required to provide matching funds to tribal programs as they are required to do in state programs.  However, of the 62 tribes receiving federal TANF grants in December 2008 52 (84%) reported receiving state matching funds.

Many TANF families are required to work or participate in work preparation activities in exchange for assistance.  While state programs are allowed considerable flexibility to develop and implement their own eligibility criteria and benefit rules, they each must have a certain percentage of their caseload engaged in qualifying work or work preparation activities, or face financial penalties.  These percentages are called Work Participation Rates.  To help move families towards self-sufficiency, states may also provide supportive services to low-income families such as transportation, child care, job search, job training, work subsidies, and other supportive services. There is a 5 year federal time limit for TANF assistance; however, states and tribes have the option of implementing time limits shorter than 5 years.  Families that receive only support services without cash assistance are generally not subjected to these limits.  State TANF programs provide assistance to eligible AI/ANs, including those who are enrolled as members of federally-recognized tribes and other AI/ANs, if they are not served under a tribal TANF program.

Since 1997, federally-recognized Indian tribes and specified Alaska Native entities have been able to apply directly to HHS to operate a TANF block grant program.  Like states, tribes may use their TANF funding in any manner reasonably calculated to accomplish the purposes of TANF.  As of  January 2008, there were  57 TTANF programs serving 269 tribes and Alaska Native villages and the non-reservation Indian populations of 117 counties (including several major metropolitan areas, designated near-reservation towns), and the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska.  In FY 2007, tribes received $168 million in grants for TTANF, which was about 1 percent of TANF grants provided to all states and tribes.

Each eligible tribe or Alaska Native organization that wants to administer its own tribal program must submit a Family Assistance Plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for review and approval.  Tribes administering their own programs have considerable flexibility in program design and implementation, more so than state TANF programs.  They can define elements of their programs such as: the service area, service population, time limits, benefits and services, the definition of “family,” eligibility criteria, and work and work preparation activities.  Unlike states, tribes have the ability to establish, through negotiation with HHS, work participation rate targets and required work hours.  They also can establish what benefits and services will be available and develop their own strategies for achieving program goals, including how to help recipients move off welfare and become self-sufficient (HHS, 2006).  Part of the rationale for these flexibilities is the underdevelopment of reservation economies and the resulting lack of economic opportunity.

Federal TANF law exempts from the federal 60-month lifetime time limit any month of aid during which the adult recipient lived on a reservation of in which at least 50 percent of adults were not employed.  Tabulations from the 2000 Census showed that almost 50 percent of the reservation land areas in the United States met this criterion (Harvard Project, 2008).

Not all families that are recipients of tribal programs live on tribal lands.  Participants of these programs may include non-reservation American Indian populations.  For example, the Torres-Martinez Tribes’ service area covers Los Angeles County and several non-tribal towns in Riverside County.

This report will focus only on AI/AN participation in state and tribal TANF programs.  However it is important to be aware that AI/AN families may receive services from other programs such as Native Employment Works (NEW), Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), and the General Assistance Program from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  Additional information about these programs can be found in Appendix A.

The data presented in the remainder of this paper are based on state and tribal data submissions to HHS.  Data presented for years before 1998 are based on AFDC Quality Control Data and for years starting in 1998 are based on data from the National TANF Datafile.  Statistical significance tests are not shown, but most of the differences mentioned in this Research Brief are likely to be statistically significant because of the very large sample size used for the tabulations.[2]  There is considerable variation in characteristics among individual states and tribes.

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Methodological Considerations for Analysis of AI/AN TANF Populations

This section examines two issues that should be considered when analyzing AI/AN TANF populations using administrative data.

  1. The source of racial and ethnic determination.  The statistical determination of a recipient’s race can be conducted in several ways.  In some states and localities race and ethnicity is determined by a representative of the TANF program, often as part of the application process.  When this happens, AI/AN recipients are sometimes mistaken for other racial and ethnic groups by the TANF representative.  As a result of these policies, official caseload sizes for AI/ANs in certain states and localities may be inaccurate counts of the true population size, although the size of the measurement bias is difficult to determine with any precision.  In other states and localities, however, race and ethnicity determination is made directly by the TANF recipients, or by relatives of the recipients.  Although self-determination is generally considered more accurate than other methods of identification, it should be noted that self-identification of race and ethnicity can potentially change over time for certain populations and can be impacted by various factors.  For example, a surge in ethnic and racial pride among certain groups could potentially increase the number of families self-reporting particular racial categories or ethnicities.
  2. Changes in federal reporting requirements.  The federal categories used to document race and ethnicity were changed beginning in FY 2000.  Prior to FY 2000, states used a single, mutually exclusive definition for race and ethnicity for federal reporting requirements.  Persons were categorized as Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaskan Native, but could not be categorized with more than one of these categories.  Starting in FY 2000, the federal TANF data system was changed to allow more than one race or ethnicity to identify recipients.  The change increased the number of families identified with any particular racial category, including AI/ANs; thus, comparing caseload sizes of more recent populations to populations before FY 2000 should be done cautiously.  In some states, the number of TANF families designated as AI/AN increased significantly the year the data change was implemented.

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National TANF Caseloads

TANF populations are often examined using families as units of analysis.  For this paper, TANF units are considered AI/AN if one recipient[3] in the family can be categorized as AI/AN.  Figure 1 shows the caseload sizes of state TANF populations for FY 1994, FY 1999, and FY 2006.  AI/AN families served through tribal programs are excluded for the moment.  For FY 1994 and FY 1999, the caseload estimates are presented using the pre-FY 2000 single-race category, while FY 2006 is presented using the post-2000 definition that allows more than one race and ethnicity to be reported.  This is the definition used for the FY 2006 TANF data used in the remainder of this report.  Between FY 1994 and FY 2006, average monthly caseloads declined from 70 thousand to 40 thousand AI/AN families, a 42 percent reduction.  Declining caseloads also occurred among non-AI/AN populations from 5.0 million to approximately 1.9 million families, a 61 percent reduction (Figure 2).

Figure 1
AI/AN Families Receiving Assistance from State TANF Programs by Race/Ethnicity
(FY 1994, FY 1999,and FY 2006, Average monthly)

Figure 1. AI/AN Families Receiving Assistance from State TANF Programs by Race/Ethnicity (FY 1994, FY 1999,and FY 2006, Average monthly). See text for explanation and data.

Figure 2
Non-AI/AN TANF Families in State TANF Programs
(FY 1994, FY 1999,and FY 2006, Average monthly)

Figure 2. Non-AI/AN TANF Families in State TANF Programs (FY 1994, FY 1999,and FY 2006, Average monthly). See text for explanation and data.

The bar representing FY 2006 in Figure 1 shows the relative size of the Hispanic and multi-race AI/AN populations served by TANF state programs that year.  Together, Hispanic AI/AN (8,300) and the non-Hispanic multi-race AI/AN (3,200) families accounted for 29 percent of the total AI/AN state TANF population.  Mixed-race AI/AN families served in FY 1994 and FY 1999 were included in Figure 1 if their state categorized their primary race/ethnicity as AI/AN instead of as another race such as Black, White, or Hispanic.

Since both state and tribal TANF programs serve AI/AN families, it is helpful to examine these populations together to provide a complete national picture.[4] The combined state and tribal AI/AN TANF caseloads are shown in Figure 3.  Between FY 1994 and FY 2006 the overall number of AI/AN families served by state TANF programs declined while the number served by tribal[5] TANF programs increased.  Part of this trend can be attributed to AI/AN populations transitioning from state TANF to tribal TANF programs.  However, it is also possible that the introduction of tribal TANF programs brought new populations into the system because of the flexibilities that are part of the tribal program.

Figure 3
AI/AN Families in State and Tribal TANF Programs Non-AI/AN TANF Families in State TANF Programs
(FY 1994, FY 1999,and FY 2006, Average monthly)

Figure 3. AI/AN Families in State and Tribal TANF Programs Non-AI/AN TANF Families in State TANF Programs (FY 1994, FY 1999,and FY 2006, Average monthly). See text for explanation and data.

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State Locations of Families Receiving TANF Services

Approximately three-fourths of AI/AN families (tribal and state combined) reside in 10 states — California, Arizona, Washington, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Alaska, South Dakota, New Mexico, and North Dakota. (Figure 4).  The largest percentage of these families (18 percent) resides in California.

Figure 4
Percent of AI/AN TANF Families (Tribal and State Combined) Residing in Various States
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 4. Percent of AI/AN TANF Families (Tribal and State Combined) Residing in Various States (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

Approximately 23 percent of all AI/AN families in TANF programs participate in tribal programs.  As shown in Figure 5, over 85 percent of these families reside in six states — Arizona, California, Washington, Montana, Alaska, and New Mexico.  Arizona and California have more families in tribal programs than any other state, together accounting for over 40 percent of all tribal TANF families.  Of the 51 tribal TANF programs submitting data to HHS in FY 2006, 5 of them served 43% of the nation’s tribal TANF families on an average monthly basis including:  Navajo Nation (Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, 2,700 families); White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation (Arizona, 800 families); Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation (Montana, 600 families); Association of Village Council Presidents (Alaska, 500 families); and Owens Valley Career Development Center [intertribal] (California, 500 families).

Figure 5
Percent of Tribal TANF Families Residing in Various States (FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 5. Percent of Tribal TANF Families Residing in Various States (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

States differ as to the extent to which AI/AN TANF families are served through tribal or state programs (see Table 1).  While 57 percent of AI/AN families in Alaska are served through tribal programs, other states such as New York, North Dakota, Michigan, and North Carolina do not have any tribal programs within their borders.

Table 1:
Number of AI/AN Families in State and Tribal TANF Programs (Average Monthly, 2006)
  # Families in Tribal Programs # Families in State AI/AN Programs # AI/AN Families in State or Tribal Programs % AI/AN Families in Tribal Programs % of AI/AN TANF Families (State and Tribal) Served in this State
U.S. Total 11,850 40,150 52,050 23% 100%
California 1,850 7,750 9,550 19% 18%
Arizona 3,150 3,700 6,850 46% 13%
Washington 1,500 3,050 4,550 33% 9%
Minnesota 250 3,750 4,000 6% 8%
Montana 1,350 1,750 3,100 44% 6%
New York 0 2,750 2,750 0% 5%
Alaska 1,350 1,050 2,400 57% 5%
South Dakota 100 2,150 2,250 5% 4%
New Mexico 1,050 1,150 2,200 48% 4%
North Dakota 0 1,700 1,700 0% 3%
Oklahoma 50 1,350 1,400 4% 3%
Michigan 0 1,050 1,050 0% 2%
Nebraska 50 950 1,000 3% 2%
Wisconsin 300 650 900 32% 2%
Oregon 100 800 900 13% 2%
North Carolina 0 900 900 0% 2%
Remaining 35 States 750 5,700 6,500 12% 12%
Source: ASPE tabulations of the National TANF Datafile (FY 2006)

Note: Column 2 and Column 3 may not add to Column 4 because of rounding.  Column 6 is calculated by dividing the populations shown in Column 4 under the heading “# AI/AN Families in State or Tribal Programs” by the national total (52,050).

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Caseload by Family Type

TANF populations are often presented in one of three categories based on the number of adults in each assistance unit: child-only, one-parent, and two-parent.  TANF units without any adult recipients are called child-only cases.  An example of a child-only case is a unit consisting of a child that lives with her aunt where the state has decided not to include the aunt in the assistance unit when determining benefit amounts and administrative requirements.

One-parent cases include families with only one adult in the assistance unit, and two-parent units are families with two adults in the assistance unit.  These adults could include parents as well as extended family members.

Adults that live in TANF families with children are sometimes excluded from the assistance unit because they have been sanctioned, receive disability income from Supplemental Security Income (SSI), exceeded the maximum time limit to receive benefits, do not qualify based on citizenship requirements, or are non-parental caretakers such as relatives or other adults taking responsibility for the children.

As shown in Figure 6, AI/AN caseloads in tribal programs have a smaller percentage of child-only cases (27 percent) compared to AI/AN families in state programs (40 percent) and non-AI/AN families in state programs (45 percent).  As a result of having fewer child-only cases, a greater percentage of tribal TANF cases include one and two parents compared to AI/ANs in state programs and non-AI/ANs in state programs.

Figure 6
Tribal and State TANF AI/AN Caseloads by Family Type
(FY 2006 Average monthly)

Figure 6. Tribal and State TANF AI/AN Caseloads by Family Type (FY 2006 Average monthly). See text for explanation and data.

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Average Age of Adults and Youngest Children in the Family

The average age of TANF adult recipients is the same (31 years) for non-AI/ANs in state programs as for AI/ANs in tribal programs, and similar to the average age (30 years) of AI/ANs in state programs (Figure 7).  The three groups are also similar with regard to whether they have a child who is younger than 6 years of age.  Figure 8 indicates that 53 percent of the non-AI/AN families in state programs have a child of this age compared to 53 percent of AI/AN families in state programs and 56 percent of families in tribal programs.

Figure 7
Average Age of AI/AN Adults in State and Tribal TANF Programs
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 7. Average Age of AI/AN Adults in State and Tribal TANF Programs (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

Figure 8
Percent of State and Tribal TANF Families with a Child Younger than Age 6
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 8. Percent of State and Tribal TANF Families with a Child Younger than Age 6 (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

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Average Grant Amount per Family

Figure 9 shows that the average grant amounts per family are similar for non-AI/ANs and AI/ANs in state programs ($371 and $384 respectively).  However, average grant amounts are larger ($443) for those in tribal programs.  The higher grant amounts may result from differences in the caseload characteristics of these groups; on average, families receiving assistance from tribal programs are larger (Figure 10) and have fewer adults working in unsubsidized employment (Figure 11) than families receiving assistance from state programs.  However, the differences could also result from policy distinctions between these programs because benefit levels are determined independently by each tribal and state program.

Figure 9
Average Grant Amount for State and Tribal TANF Families
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 9. Average Grant Amount for State and Tribal TANF Families (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

Figure 10
Average Number of Recipients in State and Tribal TANF Units by Family Type
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 10. Average Number of Recipients in State and Tribal TANF Units by Family Type (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

Figure 11
Percent of Tribal and State TANF Adults* that were Employed and in Work Participation Activities
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 11. Percent of Tribal and State TANF Adults* that were Employed and in Work Participation Activities (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

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Average Number of Recipients per Family

An important part of the benefit determination process for most state and tribal TANF programs is determining the number of adults and children to be included in the assistance unit.  As shown in Figure 10, the average number of recipients per family was 2.4 for non-AI/AN and 2.5 for AI/AN families in state programs, compared to 3.4 in families in tribal programs.  The higher number of recipients in tribal families is not surprising since they have proportionately more one and two parent families than state programs (Figure 6).  However, families in tribal TANF programs also average more children per case than non-AI/ANs and AI/ANs in state programs (data not shown in chart).  Although the various reasons for these findings are not clear, it is important to note that the number of recipients in TANF units is influenced by not only the demographics of the eligible populations, but also state and tribal policies.  In many cases, certain family members may be residing with the TANF family, but state and tribal policies may differ on whether or not such relatives would be considered part of the assistance unit for eligibility purposes.  Tribal policies may use broader definitions of the assistance unit based on differing concepts of extended family relationships and responsibilities in many tribal cultural traditions.

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Work Participation

In state programs, there are specified work activities that qualify for work participation rates including employment (unsubsidized and subsidized), community service, and other training and educational activities intended to prepare families for work and self-sufficiency.  As noted above, tribal programs have additional flexibility to define what they want to consider as qualifying work activities.  They may include some or all of the activities allowed by state programs, but they may also include activities that are relevant to the unique conditions and needs of their communities; for example, traditional subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing or gathering; cultural activities training; and barrier removal and life skill training such as parenting, individual and family counseling, or counseling for chemical dependency may be included.

The percentages of TANF adults participating in employment and work preparation activities are presented in Figure 11.  In this figure, unsubsidized employment refers to full or part-time work in the public or private sector that is not subsidized by TANF or another public assistance program, and “other work preparation activities” refer to all TANF adults that did not work in unsubsidized employment, but participated in other work training or community service activities.  Some adults participated in both unsubsidized employment and work training activities and they are included in the unsubsidized employment category.

A greater percentage of non-AI/AN adults in state programs (22 percent) participated in unsubsidized employment than AI/AN adults in state programs (18 percent) and AI/AN adults in tribal programs (12 percent).  However, this pattern was reversed when examining the percentage of adults participating in work preparation and community service activities, not including unsubsidized employment; 43 percent of tribal TANF adults participated in work preparation activities compared to 30 and 21 percent of AI/AN adults in state programs and non-AI/AN adults respectively.  Non-AI/AN adults were more likely to not participate in any work activities than AI/AN adults in state programs and adults in tribal programs.  Factors that may contribute to dissimilarities in the percentage of participation in various types of activities may be the more rural location (discussed below) of tribal programs, contributing to limited job opportunities and lower participation in unsubsidized activities, and the broader range of qualifying work participation activities permitted in tribal TANF programs leading to higher participation in other work preparation activities.[6]

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Geographic Location and Travel Time

One difference between state and tribal programs is that tribal programs are more likely than state programs to serve families that do not reside in large urban population areas.  To report these differences, a categorization system called the Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCA) is used to classify the geographical information of each TANF family based on the zip codes in which they reside.[7]

As presented in Figure 12, a much greater percentage of non-AI/AN families in state programs (84 percent) reside in urban areas than do AI/AN families in state programs (57 percent) or AI/ANs in tribal programs (29 percent).  In addition, AI/AN families in tribal and state programs were more likely to reside in rural areas than non-AI/ANs in state programs.

Figure 12
Location of Residence for Tribal and State TANF Families
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 12. Location of Residence for Tribal and State TANF Families (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

Another way to look at the geographic location of these various groups of families is to examine the approximate travel time needed to get to the nearest urban area of at least 50,000 residents.  Travel time is critical because of its implications in terms of the distance to access employment opportunities and services such as health and child care.  Furthermore, those who live further away from urban areas would need to have access to reliable transportation to get to these areas.  As shown in Figure 13, a much smaller percentage of AI/AN families in state and tribal programs (52 percent and 24 percent respectively) live in an urban area of at least 50,000 residents compared to non-AI/AN families in state programs (79 percent).[8] A much greater percentage of AI/AN families in state and tribal programs (32 percent and 63 percent respectively) live about one hour or more away from urban areas compared to non-AI/AN families (6 percent).

Figure 13
Approximate Travel Times to Nearest Urban Area of at Least 50,000 Residents for State and Tribal TANF Families
(FY 2006 Average Monthly)

Figure 13. Approximate Travel Times to Nearest Urban Area of at Least 50,000 Residents for State and Tribal TANF Families (FY 2006 Average Monthly). See text for explanation and data.

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Summary

This analysis of state and tribal TANF administrative data is a beginning effort to lessen the knowledge gap about AI/AN participation in these programs.  The findings presented here provide insight into some basic trends and characteristics.  For example, we learn that similar to non-AI/AN TANF caseloads, caseloads for AI/AN families in state and tribal programs have declined since the early 1990’s.  Furthermore, there has been an increase in TANF participation among AI/AN populations that coincides with the introduction of tribal TANF programs but does not reach mid-1990’s levels.  In addition, the findings presented here reveal that differences exist with regard to the proportion of child-only cases, average grant amounts, average number of recipients per family, and work participation when comparing non-AI/ANs in state programs and AI/ANs in state and tribal programs.  Finally, the data clearly reveal differences in geographic location and travel time among the three groups; AI/ANs in state and tribal programs are more likely to live in areas with greater travel times to urban areas, suggesting greater difficulty in accessing employment and health and human services.  It is hoped that this initial effort to look at these topics will stimulate additional research regarding AI/AN participation in state and tribal TANF and related programs.

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References

Bowker, Ann. 2008.  Personal Communication. Division of Tribal TANF Management, Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Families and Children, Washington D.C.

Gipp, Ginny. 2008.  Personal Communication.  Tribal Child Care Specialist, Child Care Bureau, Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Families and Children, Washington D.C.

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. 2008. The State of the Native Nations.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Taylor, J. and Kalt, J. 2005. American Indians on Reservations: A Databook of Socioeconomic Change Between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development,  John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.   Available at:  http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/hpaied

U.S. Census Bureau. 2007.  The American Community — American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2004.  Washington D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.  Available at: http://factfinder.census.gov/home/aian/index.html

U.S. Census Bureau. 2006.  We the People: American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States.  Washington D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.  Available at: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. 1997.  Policy Interpretation Question (ACYF-PIQ-CC-97-01).  Available at:  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/law/guidance/current/pq9701/pq9701.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. 2003.  Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Report to Congress for FY 2002 and FY 2003.  Washington D.C.: Child Care Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/ccdf/rtc/rtc2002/rtc_general/2002_2003.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. 2006.  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program.  Seventh Annual Report to Congress.  Washington D.C.:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance.

U.S. Department of the Interior. Budget Justifications and Performance Information. Fiscal Year 2009. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington D.C.; Department of the Interior, Office of Budget.

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Appendix A

Native Employment Works (NEW) program.  This program began in July 1, 1997. Eligibility to administer NEW programs is limited to federally-recognized tribes, Alaska Native organizations and tribal consortia that operated Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs in FY 1995.  NEW programs provide work activities, supportive services, and job retention services to help clients prepare for and obtain permanent, unsubsidized employment.  During July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007, $7,558,020 in NEW grant funds was awarded to a total of 78 Indian tribes and tribal organizations.  Data is available on 48 of these 78 grantees[9].  Data on these 48 grantees indicates that in Program Year 2005-2006, 5,225 NEW clients were served; 3,192 of these clients were in the state TANF program; 524 were in tribal programs, and 499 received General Assistance (GA) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Bowker, 2008).  NEW programs coordinate with tribal and state TANF programs and other employment and training programs.  While NEW programs are not required to serve TANF participants, the majority of their participants are tribal or state TANF participants; thus, some of the families included in TANF data used for this paper are also recipients of a NEW program (HHS, 2006).

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF).  CCDF funds play a critical role in offering affordable, accessible, and quality child care options to low-income working parents as they move toward economic self-sufficiency.  They provide subsidized child care/child development services through vouchers or certificates to low-income families with young children.  CCDF grantees include the 50 states, D.C., and the territories as well as tribal grantees.  In FY 2008, through a statutory set-aside, 260 tribal grantees received close to $100 million.  (Gipp, 2008).  Over 500 tribes, Alaska Native villages, and a Native Hawaiian organization receive these funds directly or through consortium arrangements.  A tribe is able to receive these funds if the tribe is federally-recognized and its tribal population includes at least 50 children under age 13.   Similar to the TANF program, Indian children are dually eligible to receive CCDF funds from either a tribe or the state (HHS, 1997).  CCDF regulations provide flexibility for tribes to design and administer their programs in accordance with the needs of their communities.  In addition to CCDF funding, states are using significant amounts of TANF funds for child care either through state transfers of these funds to CCDF or direct TANF funding (HHS, 2003).  States have the option of providing child care assistance funded by CCDF and TANF to TANF and non-TANF families.

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance (GA) Program.  The BIA provides several types of welfare assistance including GA.  GA is a residual source of funding that provides financial assistance and employment planning for individuals and families who are members of a federally-recognized tribe, whose income is below state standards and who do not qualify for state operated programs.  Among others, GA clients include families who are not eligible for TANF or waiting for TANF; these GA recipients are not included in the TANF caseloads presented in this report.  GA programs are operated directly through the BIA, tribally contracted programs, tribal self-governance compacts, or P.L. 102-477 programs.  In FY 2007, GA was provided to about 34,000 persons on a monthly basis.  The FY 2007 costs of this program were approximately $37 million (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2008).

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Endnotes

[1] The authors would like to thank Ray Apodaca, Ann Bowker, Barbara Broman, Eddie Brown, Sue Clain, Ginny Gipp, Sarah Hicks, Gerald Joireman, Canta Pian, and Bob Shelbourne for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this Research Brief.

[2] For FY 2006, there were a total of 299,824 families in the National TANF Datafile submitted by TANF state programs, including 13,277 AI/AN families (as defined above) and 286,266 non-AI/AN families.  An additional 281 records had missing information and were excluded from the analysis.  Tribal TANF programs submit records for all families, which resulted in an average monthly analysis file size of 11,864 families FY 2006.

[3] This definition does not include some family members that were excluded by the state or tribal program for various reasons. For example, some family members were excluded because of work sanctions, participation in a disability assistance program, or citizenship status.

[4] It should be noted that these estimates only include families receiving “assistance”, as defined by federal statute.  This definition excludes large numbers of working families that receive non-cash services such as child care subsidies, transportation vouchers, and job training services.

[5] All families in tribal programs were included in the analysis even though some tribes served a small number of families that were not AI/AN.

[6] Another possible reason for the differences between groups may be a lack of reporting of work preparation activities by state TANF programs.  State programs are more restricted than tribal programs in which activities can be applied toward federal work participation requirements, and states often do not report hours of participation in their data submissions for activities that do not qualify.

[7] The RUCA system categorizes zip codes into 10 primary and 30 secondary categories based on population cores and workforce commuting patters.  This paper condenses these classifications into 4 categories for simplicity, as follows: “Urban-Focused” refers to places with large urbanized areas or places with a high percentage of their workforce commuting to urbanized areas; “Large Town Focused” refers to areas with urban clusters of 10,000 to 49,999 persons; “Small Town Focused” refers to areas with urban clusters between 2,500 and 9,999 persons; and “Isolated Rural” refers to areas without large population clusters. For more information on this methodology visit: http://depts.washington.edu/uwruca/uses.html.

[8]  Approximate travel times are based on a model developed using the RUCA codes.  For more information on this methodology visit http://depts.washington.edu/uwruca/travel_dist.html

[9]  Thirty of the NEW grantees include their NEW programs in projects under Public Law 102-477, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992. This demonstration gives tribes the option to operate demonstration projects that integrate federally-funded employment, training, and related services programs and consolidate administrative functions for these programs.  Grantees report to the Department of Interior, the lead agency for the 102-477 projects.  Current reports from the Department of Interior pertaining to these grantees are not available.

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How to Obtain a Printed Copy

To obtain a printed copy of this report, send the title and your mailing information to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Fax:  (202) 690-6562
Email:  pic@hhs.gov


About this Research Brief

This ASPE Research Brief was written by Kendall Swenson and Peggy Halpern. The Research Brief examines TANF usage over time among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) being served by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) through state and tribal governments. Basic trends and characteristics of AI/AN caseloads in state and tribal programs are identified and compared to non-AI/AN caseloads in state programs.


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Last updated:  04/10/2009