for success in helping families succeed
October 02, 2003
Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the award of $400 million in TANF bonuses to 41 states and the District of Columbia for success in employment and other program achievements during fiscal years 2001 and 2002.
"Our aggressive welfare-to-work emphasis secured these bonuses," Anthony Lombardo, Div. of Public Assistance Director said. "The statistics we reported to HHS show marked success in job entry for Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP) families and good job retention. I congratulate DPA staff and our grantees and contractors for their hard work that earned Alaska these awards." Lombardo said that the funding will be used for additional services for families moving from welfare to work including child care assistance for ATAP parents seeking employment.
"This is national recognition of the outstanding work of our Division of Public Assistance, and I applaud everyone in the Division," H&SS Commissioner Joel Gilbertson said. This is the first time Alaska has qualified for performance bonuses, he said.
"We continue to see national improvement in employment for families seeking to leave welfare, and these bonuses to states reflect the effective efforts of states to help families achieve self-sufficiency," Secretary Thompson said. "TANF is an important part of how we are helping America's families take advantage of the improving economy."
The welfare reform legislation of 1996 authorized funding for annual performance achievement bonuses within the TANF program, called the High Performance Bonus. States can choose to compete in any or all of the performance bonus categories, but must supply data to HHS in order to be considered for the award.
The awards HHS just announced for performance in fiscal year 2002 represent the fifth year for which bonuses have been made and today's release is the earliest these awards have been made after the end of a performance year. These awards closely follow the fiscal year 2001 awards due to improvements in data collection and processing methods during the past year.
About 70 percent of the bonuses were awarded for employment achievement among TANF recipient adults -- including job entry, job retention and increased earnings. Bonuses also were awarded for program achievements in helping low-income working families take advantage of available Food Stamps and Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program coverage; in providing child care; and in increasing the proportion of children living in married couple families. Most of these awards are made for relative performance in the given year and for greatest improvement from the previous year.
"These awards emphasize TANF's important focus on helping recipients find work and improve their lives through work," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families. "The success many states have experienced in 2002 is very heartening, and now we need to enact the President's TANF reauthorization plan so that states will be able to do even better in the future."
Award amounts for each state
depend upon the size of each state's TANF block grant. Under
the law, states are limited to receiving bonuses in a given year
of no more than five percent of their annual TANF block grant.
Alaska received their maximum possible bonus for performance
in FY 01 and FY 02.
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