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North Dakota earns bonuses for welfare program performance

October 1, 2003

Bismarck, N.D. - The federal Department of Health and Human Services has awarded North Dakota $1.28 million in high performance bonuses for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Bonuses were distributed to states based on 2001 and 2002 data on work readiness and related activities. North Dakota earned bonuses for placing adults from low-income families into jobs and for linking families with supportive services.

"When families need assistance, we need to be there for them, and the best way we can do that is to help them in finding training, education and a job," said Gov. John Hoeven. "We're pleased to be recognized for our success in helping families get back on their feet."

Last week federal officials notified the state that it had earned an $853,586 bonus for meeting job placement objectives in 2001. Federal officials announced 2002 performance bonuses yesterday, and North Dakota earned $428,962 for increasing job entry rates above 2001 levels and for increasing enrollment in the Medicaid and state children's health insurance programs above 2001 levels.

"In North Dakota, we are collaborating to help families achieve self-sufficiency," said Carol K. Olson, Executive Director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services. "The people who deserve credit for these bonuses include the families who are working hard to succeed, as well as the state, county, and tribal government employees who are providing services and supports to TANF clients."

The TANF program is intended to move low-income families from public assistance to self-sufficiency by providing cash assistance along with work readiness and training services and job placement. Welfare reform legislation authorized bonuses for achieving desired outcomes in job entry, job retention, and increased earnings. States and territories can also earn bonuses for linking TANF families with other resources, and for increasing the proportion of children in TANF cases who are living in married couple families. Bonuses recognize federal fiscal year outcomes, or performance improvements from previous fiscal years.

North Dakota's welfare caseload peaked in 1994 at 6,500 cases. In July 1997, when the state implemented welfare reform, 3,859 families were receiving TANF assistance. In June 2003, the number of families receiving TANF cash assistance in the state totaled 3,277 including 5,982 children. At that time, the average monthly TANF benefit for a qualifying North Dakota household was $374.

Contacts:

John Hougen, Director of Public Assistance, (701) 328-1715
Heather Steffl, Public Information Specialist, (701) 328-4933

 

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