Federal Program Spotlight: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)


tanfThis post is part of Transform Consulting Group’s blog series highlighting federal programs that provide education opportunities and/or youth development services in communities.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal assistance program designed to help needy families become self-sufficient. TANF provides cash assistance and support services to indigent families with children under 18. Through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the TANF program provides a block grant to local governments. In Indiana, the Division of Family Resources is responsible for determining eligibility of families and distributing the grant.

TANF was created in 1996 by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act instituted under President Bill Clinton. TANF evaluates a family’s available income and compares it to a need standard based on family size. Wages, unemployment benefits, Social Security Benefits, and child support are considered when evaluating available income. The TANF program is more commonly referred to as welfare. Click here to see Indiana’s brochure on TANF.

The TANF program has a 2014 fiscal year budget of $17,351,175,000. TANF recipients will be provided with cash assistance as well as supportive assistance that includes: child care services, after-school child care for children age six and older, medical assistance for dependent children, transportation services, aid for heating costs and food stamps. The program strives to ensure that families have sufficient food, medical coverage, high quality affordable child care, and reliable transportation that enables them to work. TANF works to accomplish these goals by:

  • Ensuring that custodial parents receive child support from noncustodial parents in order to pay bills and adequately provide for their children.
  • Focusing on educational and training opportunities that improve wages and working conditions for low-income families.
  • Crafting services for families with special needs or multiple employment barriers that appropriately and effectively address their needs.
  • Developing collaborative efforts to combine resources and talents to create jobs, support work, and make low-income neighborhoods more viable.

The TANF program of Indiana is available to families with children under 18 who are living with their parent(s) or a relative(s) and meet specific criteria. The general requirements to be eligible for TANF are as follows:

  • Must be a resident of Indiana
  • Pregnant or responsible for a child under 18 years of age
  • Have low or very low income
  • Be under-employed (working for very low wages), unemployed, or about to become unemployed

Have you ever considered funding your program(s) with federal dollars? Ready to move forward with a federal grant application? Transform Consulting Group can help your organization with grant opportunities and applications. Contact us today to learn more!