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A primary goal of state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs is to move recipients into employment. Many state TANF programs have specific strategies to increase employment among parents with serious barriers to work, sometimes called the “hard to employ.” This paper summarizes how states serve this population and recent changes in states’ approaches. Understanding how states’ TANF programs work with this population is particularly important as states consider possible changes to their welfare programs to meet the increased work requirements mandated by TANF’s reauthorization in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA).

This study summarizes states’ approaches to serving this population in fall 2006 and the changes states anticipate in the near future to help recipients move into work and off the caseload. The study is based on interviews with TANF program officials in 15 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City supplemented with relevant written materials, state policy information, and several local interviews. The states included are California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. (Authors)
The Urban Institute
Washington, D.C.
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services