TANF at 15: Where Do We Go From Here? 2011 Tri-Regional TANF Directors' Meeting

August 22, 2011 marked the 15th anniversary of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program which was passed in an effort to “end welfare as we know it.” Although TANF cash assistance caseloads have fallen dramatically over the past 15 years, the need for assistance has remained high as the economic recovery continues to batter low-income and working families. Analyses of Federal and State caseload data, food stamp data, poverty data, and unemployment data show that TANF has not kept pace with the rates of food stamp usage or kept pace with unemployment and poverty increases, but remains an important component of the work-based safety-net for many Americans. State and Territory TANF programs are continuously challenged with developing and implementing effective work readiness, job skills, barrier reduction, and job placement activities for their TANF participants and as a result the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. Regions I, II, and III convened the TANF at 15: Where Do We Go from Here 2011 Tri-Regional TANF Directors’ Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island on November 1-3, 2011 to discuss the status of the TANF program and to determine appropriate next steps for programs and families. The TANF at 15 meeting focused on pertinent issues impacting TANF families and the TANF programs including improving responsiveness, engagement, fiscal management, domestic violence, asset-development, the TANF/SSI connection, and the work-based safety net during periods of sustained and increased unemployment. The meeting brought together national experts, Federal officials, researchers and program officials from the Urban Institute, MDRC, ICF International, and State and TANF directors representing nearly a third of the country to strategize around peer-developed practical solutions to common challenges facing TANF programs and participants. TANF at 15 represented a beginning of a tri-regional discussion on the status of TANF programming and laid the foundation for continued dialogue, focused planning, and increased responsiveness.

Record Type: 
Publication Date: 
November, 2011
November 2011
  • TANF Program Administration