Performance Improvement 2005. Experience of Tribal TANF Programs: Problems, Solutions and Lessons Learned


This project developed national-level research information on tribal TANF programs that would be responsive to the needs of Native American tribal governments in deciding to initiate or improve their own TANF programs, as well as the needs of policymakers at federal, State and local levels. The study included a telephone survey of all TANF tribes funded as of May 2001, and a sample of 10 non-TANF tribes, supplemented by in-depth on-site case studies of a sample of 9 tribes. It was primarily an implementation study that used these data in conjunction with qualitative tribal-specific information in conducting descriptive analyses to identify and document lessons learned from the experiences of TANF tribes. The project produced two main products: (1) A “Tribal TANF Handbook” that describes the pros and cons of operating a TANF program, and provides research-based information designed to assist interested tribes/tribal consortia in the process of making the decision, developing a TANF plan, implementing and operating an effective tribal TANF program; and (2) a final report which documents the study and identifies the lessons learned and their implications for policymakers at federal, State, and tribal levels respectively. A general conclusion is that the tribes are proud of managing their own TANF programs; have initiated multiple strategies to prepare TANF recipients for employment; and despite some problems and disagreements, their relationships with the States have been largely positive. The lack of unsubsidized employment on the reservations is regarded as the greatest threat to the success of the tribal TANF programs.

PIC ID: 7542; Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation; Federal Contact: Faris, Hossein, 202-205-4922; Performer: Support Services International, Inc., Silver Spring MD

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