The Evaluation of the Tribal Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Initial Implementation Findings. Self- Determination and Welfare Reform

01/29/2005

Welfare reform promotes Indian self-determination and self-governance by providing for tribal operation of TANF, NEW, CCDF, CSE, and WtW programs. Many of the WtW grantees in the study also operate NEW programs, JTPA/Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and other programs related to employment and training. All of the WtW grantees in the study have considered submitting a TANF plan to DHHS; of the four grantees that have submitted TANF plans, all have been approved (see Table 2.1).

Because of the scope of the TANF program, the resources it requires, and the critical role of TANF for tribal members, the decision to take over operation of a TANF program is an important one for tribes. The Division of Tribal Services (DTS) in ACF is charged with reviewing and approving tribal TANF plans. DTS has supported tribal self-governance by helping tribes plan their own TANF program, and ACF has funded a project to develop materials to help tribes determine the benefits and costs associated with operating the TANF program.

In some instances, the interests of tribes and states may diverge on the issue of tribal TANF. For example, adequate funding of tribal TANF programs depends on state legislatures' willingness to maintain the state matching of federal dollars that was required in the AFDC program, the precursor to TANF. When a portion of the state's TANF block grant passes to a tribe administering its own TANF program, the state's required Maintenance of Effort level is reduced proportionately based on the fraction of the state's former AFDC caseload that has been transferred to the tribal program. States are not required to pass on any portion of the Maintenance of Effort funds to tribes. Thus, tribal TANF programs could receive substantially lower TANF funding than was directed to tribal members in FY 1994.

Table 2.1
Selected Welfare-related Programs Operated by Study Grantees

Program

CIMC Cherokee Kickapoo Klamath Navajo Nation Nez Perce Red Lake TCC TAT White Earth

WtW

X X X X X X X X X X

NEW

X X X   X X X X X X

TANF

      X X X   X    

CSBG

X X     X X   X X X

JTPA/WIA

X X X X X X X X X X

TERO

  X   X X X X X X X

VOC. ED.

  X X X X X X X X X

VOC. REHAB.

  X X X X X X X X X

BIA GA

  X X X X X X X X X

DEAP

      X   X X X X X

CCDF

  X X X X X X X X X

BIA GA = Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
CCDF = Child Care Development Fund
CIMC = California Indian Manpower CoConsortiumrporation
CSBG = Community Services Block Grant
DEAP = Direct Employment Assistance Program
JTPA/WIA = Job Training Partnership Act/Workforce Investment Act
TAT = Three Affiliated Tribes
TCC = Tanana Chiefs Conference, Inc.
TERO-Tribal Employment Rights Office
VOC. ED. = Vocational Education
VOC. REHAB. = Vocational Rehabilitation

The ability to operate a TANF program is especially important to tribal self-governance because TANF is a relatively large program in number of clients served, number of program staff, and total expenditures. For the four tribes in the study that operate TANF programs, the aggregate TANF budget is more than 10 times the total of their WtW budgets.