DHS Director’s Message for December 8, 2014: TANF

DHS Director’s Message for December 8, 2014: TANF


Hello DHS. You’ve heard me say that people
want to invest in things that are working. So today, I want to celebrate investments
that were made that have paid off. And your hard work that leveraged those investments
in an incredible way. Many of you know that during the recession we had a tough time with
our Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. Getting people engaged in what’s
called participation in the program, and we had federal requirements that we are supposed
to meet that quite honestly, we weren’t able to. And that was to be expected.The funding
was cut for the program significantly and our main focus was just on getting
people’s emergent needs met. Food on the table, roof over their heads, and just trying to
keep people stable. Well we’ve turned a corner and we’ve really drilled down and you guys
have been working so hard on the issue of participation these last many months, and
I just want to celebrate the fact that the state numbers are showing that your hard work
is paying off. I want to say thank you, because we’ve gone from well under a fifty percent
participation rate to now around sixty seven percent. Now that’s a state measurement, but
if we’re right, if we are even close to right, we may have avoided some of those federal
penalties that we were facing. Saving the taxpayers millions of dollars as a result
of all of your hard work. So my thanks to the Self-Sufficiency team and teams of people
including the JPI team that has been working really hard to make sure that all of the strategies
that we have deployed are working. I also want to celebrate one other statistic in Self-Sufficiency
which are the employment placements that are are being achieved for people on TANF. There
was a time where we were under 500 a month. We are now, in this last month, we’ve exceeded
1500 job placements for TANF parents. In the last several months we’ve been over a thousand
a month. The program, the investment in case managers, the
efforts that you all are making to engage families, and help them to get on their feet,
to get work and get work that pays enough so that they can be self-sufficient is paying
off. So, let’s celebrate together. I want to congratulate you all for all your hard
work and thank you so much. Please keep it up, we’re not out of the woods just yet on
all of these things and the investments the Governor’s budget made this last week, which
I’m going to talk more about in a future message, are
just further proof that people want to invest in things that are working. Have a great week.

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