On July 10, NACo released a new resource on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The report, Counties and the TANF Program, details TANF’s role in our nation’s social safety-net and how counties help to fund and administer TANF services to support low-income residents.
TANF primarily operates as a federal-state partnership, although ten states delegate TANF administration to county agencies: California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. In these states, counties are responsible for program administration and contribute significant local funds to the costs of operating the program.
TANF aims to ensure low-income families have the resources to care for children at home. Another objective of TANF is to reduce vulnerable families’ dependence on federal assistance by promoting job preparation, work and marriage. TANF program funds can be used for cash assistance and non-cash assistance programs such as child care, job training and work supports.
The release of NACo’s TANF report comes as Congress and the administration are weighing reforms to TANF’s structure and requirements, as detailed in draft legislation to reauthorize the program. NACo has closely monitored developments around TANF reauthorization and in May submitted comments to the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means urging a continued partnership across federal, state and local governments to provide for residents in need. As Congress moves to reauthorize the program, NACo will continue to engage with legislators to ensure counties can successfully deliver critical programs such as TANF.