The Evaluation of the Tribal Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Initial Implementation Findings. Next Steps in the Tribal WtW Evaluation


The tribal component of the National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program will include a second round of data collection that will focus on two critical issues identified but not fully explored in this report: (1) how tribes can overcome management and political challenges to the successful operation of TANF programs, and (2) strategies tribes can use to overcome challenges to business and economic development. The second round of data collection will begin in fall 2001, and the results will be reported in 2002. The two issues to be studied are described below:

  • Overcoming Management and Political Challenges to Successful Operation of Tribal TANF Programs. The first round of site visits revealed that there is great interest among tribes in operating a TANF program and that this program is seen as critical to welfare reform in Indian country. The second round of data collection will identify problems encountered by tribes in planning, implementing, and operating a TANF program, and will examine ways to prevent or address such problems. Promising approaches developed by tribal TANF programs will be described, and policy or management strategies that facilitate successful tribal TANF programs will be presented.
  • Strategies for Overcoming Challenges to Business and Economic Development in Indian Country. The first round of site visits revealed that the level of private sector investment and the number of private sector employers operating on or near reservations is very low in comparison to the level of job creation needed to move large numbers of tribal members from welfare to work. This present report describes many barriers (e.g., legal, political, structural, and cultural) to business development; the second round of data collection will examine the extent to which tribes pursue economic development opportunities and the factors that contribute to successful initiatives.


1.  Pandey et al. (1999)

2.  For an overview of the structure of WtW-funded programs serving noncustodial parents, see U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 2000.