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N.D. welfare work participation rate increases

February 26, 2002

Bismarck, N.D. - Federal officials notified the North Dakota Department of Human Services that the state met its fiscal year 2000 work participation rate for clients participating in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The state achieved a 35.7 percent work participation rate.

This means that in fiscal year 2000, almost 36 percent of the adults receiving TANF were involved in at least 30 hours of work activities per week. The state's work participation rate exceeds the national rate of 29.7 percent and represents about a 13 percent increase from the state's fiscal year 1999 work participation rate of 31.7 percent.

Department Executive Director Carol K. Olson said, "The increase in the work participation rate validates our work-first program in North Dakota. We assist families by providing education, training and job placements. These services, combined with child care assistance and transportation subsidies, help people transition into the work force and increase their incomes. Credit should go to the individuals who sought and obtained work, their county case workers, Job Service North Dakota and our other partners who run programs that prepare people for employment."

State TANF program administrator John Hougen said, "The department partners with county social service offices, Job Service North Dakota, and tribal government programs such as Tribal NEW to work with TANF clients to identify individual employment barriers and to provide services to overcome those barriers."

The TANF program provides temporary assistance to families with children deprived of the support of at least one parent. The welfare caseload peaked in North Dakota in 1994 at 6,500 cases. In July 1997 when the state implemented welfare reform, 3,859 families were receiving TANF assistance. Last month, the state's TANF caseload included 3,110 families.


Heather Steffl, Public Information Specialist, N.D. Department of Human Services, (701) 328-4933


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