ERIC Number: ED465486
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-May-10
Reference Count: N/A
Welfare Reform: Tribes Are Using TANF Flexibility To Establish Their Own Programs. Testimony before the Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senate.
Fagnoni, Cynthia M.
A study requested by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs examined tribal implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Questionnaires were returned by TANF program directors in 34 states and by 148 American Indian tribes. Meetings were conducted with tribal leaders, program officials, and TANF officials in five states, and representatives of American Indian organizations and federal officials were interviewed. Despite tribal efforts to stimulate economic development, unemployment and poverty rates on reservations remain high, and prospects for economic growth may be limited. Barriers to economic growth on reservations include geographic isolation and lack of education and job skills. The number of American Indian families receiving TANF assistance has declined significantly in recent years. However, on some reservations caseloads have remained the same or increased, and in some states American Indians represent a large and increasing proportion of the total TANF caseload. To date, 172 tribes have designed and administered their own tribal TANF programs, which are allowed flexibility in program design. Rather than emphasizing job search and work, most programs encourage recipients to pursue education or training activities. Challenges in implementing tribal TANF programs include a lack of reliable data on the number of American Indian TANF recipients, lack of infrastructure support, and lack of experience and expertise in administering welfare programs. It is not yet clear whether the flexibility in program design provided to tribes will allow them to meet TANF goals given the economic circumstances on reservations. An appendix lists tribal TANF programs. (TD)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Economic Development, Federal Legislation, Poverty, Program Design, Reservation American Indians, Tribal Government, Unemployment, Welfare Reform, Welfare Services
For full text: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02695t.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families