Operating TANF: Opportunities and Challenges for Tribes and Tribal Consortia. Cost


Relative to tribal resources, the costs of planning, implementing, and operating a TANF program are substantial. Unlike states, tribes lack the experience of having operated the AFDC program and have not developed the infrastructure and systems to support TANF. (3)The process of deciding whether to operate the TANF program may involve stakeholder meetings, data collection, and tribal council actions and requires investment of scarce tribal resources. After the decision is made, tribal resources must be used to develop the TANF plan required by DHHS as a condition of grant award. Actual implementation and operation of a TANF program may further strain the tribe's resources and capacities; the invested resources represent opportunity costs that cannot be used to plan, implement, or operate other tribal programs and initiatives. The Act does not provide funding for making the decision to operate TANF or for developing a TANF plan.

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