HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Work/Economic Self-Sufficiency

11/22/2015

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a block grant administered by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance, provides temporary assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting States the Federal funds and wide flexibility to develop and implement their own welfare programs. TANF provides funding annually to States, territories, and eligible tribes for the design of creative programs to help families transition from welfare to self-sufficiency. States have tremendous flexibility in determining how to use their TANF dollars to achieve program goals. Reauthorization of TANF in 2006 requires that States implement more meaningful work participation rate requirements in the coming years.

Child Care. To support working families, ACF provides States, territories, and tribes with direct child care assistance payments to low-income families when the parents work or participate in education or training. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, ACF’s Office of Head Start, and HRSA, ACF’s Child Care Bureau promotes State flexibility in developing child care programs and policies that meet the needs of children and parents within each State; supports research and evaluation of innovative child care subsidy policies and Web-based access to reports, data, and other research-related information; and helps families to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency by improving access to affordable, high-quality child care.

Assets for Independence. The Assets for Independence (AFI) program uses asset-building strategies to assist low-income families in achieving economic independence. The program helps participants save earned income in special-purpose, matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Every dollar in savings deposited by participants into an IDA is matched by the AFI program. The IDA mechanism promotes savings and enables participants to acquire a lasting asset after saving for a few years. AFI program families use their IDA savings, including the matching funds, to acquire a first home, capitalize a small business, or enroll in postsecondary education or training. In addition to helping participants with their IDA savings, all AFI programs provide basic training and supportive services related to family financial management. AFI continues to develop new partnerships to assist families. SCORE, a U.S. Small Business resource partner, helps AFI grantees saving for small business startups. Moreover, the 360 IDAs Initiative now helps increase the availability of IDAs to people with disabilities and their families.

Programs of the Administration for Native Americans. The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) in ACF promotes the goal of self-sufficiency by providing social and economic development opportunities. ANA programs offer training, as well as financial and technical assistance, and support a range of projects for eligible tribes and Native American organizations. ANA supports the creation of new jobs, development or expansion of business enterprises and social service initiatives, and formulation of environmental ordinances and training in the use and control of natural resources. Future grants will continue to support social and economic development strategies and healthy marriages to improve the well-being of children.

Child Support Enforcement. The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program is a joint Federal, State, and local partnership that seeks to ensure financial and emotional support for children from both parents by locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, and establishing and enforcing child support orders. Child support services, as mandated in Title IV-D of the Social Security Act of 1935 (Public Law 74-271), as amended, are available for all families with a noncustodial parent, regardless of welfare status. Child support collections play an important role for families transitioning from welfare to self-sufficiency, particularly in light of time limits on receipt of cash assistance. By securing support from noncustodial parents on a consistent and continuing basis, families may avoid the need for public assistance, thus reducing government spending.

The CSE program continues to make strong gains in child support order and paternity establishment, as well as in collections of current and back support. The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 (Public Law 109-171) includes a series of provisions to strengthen and improve the program. Overall, DRA provisions will both strengthen existing collection and enforcement tools and allow States the option to provide additional support to families who need it most. These provisions include State options to direct more child support collections to children and families that ever received TANF; new efforts to increase collections such as expanding passport denial, mandatory review and adjustment of support orders, and improving medical support by requiring States to consider both parents’ access to health insurance coverage when establishing child support orders; and an annual user fee for child support cases when enforcement efforts are successful for families who have never received TANF assistance.

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