The Evaluation of the Tribal Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Initial Implementation Findings. Introduction


American Indian tribes use a number of programs, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the Native Employment Works (NEW) program, to place members in jobs and to improve their economic well-being.(1) The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grants program offers tribes additional resources to supplement those of TANF, NEW, and other programs by targeting the most disadvantaged welfare recipients and helping those with significant barriers to employment make the transition from welfare to work. This report, based on site visits to a diverse sample of 10 tribal WtW grantees, describes how the tribal WtW program has been implemented in Indian country, the problems encountered, and the promising approaches developed.(2) The report has a broad focus, which includes a description of the special circumstances of tribes and the effects of welfare reform in Indian country.

The evaluation of the tribal WtW program is mandated by the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 and is being conducted under contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and its two subcontractors, the Urban Institute and Support Services International, Inc. Because of the special circumstances in Indian country, the findings pertaining to the tribal WtW program are presented separately in this report. Findings from the national WtW evaluation are reported elsewhere.(3)