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N.D. welfare program meets work participation rate

November 14, 2002

Bismarck, N.D. - Federal officials announced that North Dakota met federal welfare work participation standards for the fifth year in a row. The state achieved an overall work participation rate of 32 percent for federal fiscal year 2001, indicating that about one third of the 2,361 adults receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in North Dakota are working or participating in approved work activities at least 20 hours per week.

Department of Human Services' officials said that the state's performance was due to the efforts of Job Service North Dakota staff, county social service office personnel, human service centers staff, tribal program staff, and TANF clients. The human services agency contracts with Job Service North Dakota to provide job readiness, training, and placement services to adult TANF clients.

In evaluating the state's performance, the federal government gave North Dakota credit for decreases in TANF caseloads. From federal fiscal year 1995 to 2001, the number of families receiving TANF assistance in the state fell by 44.2 percent.

"Welfare reform is intended to provide resources and motivation so that families can move from dependence to self-sufficiency. The TANF program is putting people to work, and we have many partners to thank for contributing to these results. However, the real work is ahead of us. We are facing more stringent federal work standards in the future, as well as challenging economic times. Collaboration and creativity will be necessary in order to address areas of high unemployment and high caseloads," said Carol K. Olson, Executive Director of the Department of Human Services.

In September 2002, a total of 3,205 North Dakota families including 6,004 children received TANF grants. The TANF program provides temporary assistance to families with children deprived of the support of at least one parent. The program combines training and work readiness services with child care assistance and work requirements to move families toward self-sufficiency.


John Hougen, Economic Assistance Policy Division, North Dakota Department of Human Services, (701) 328-1715, or
Heather Steffl, Public Information Specialist, North Dakota Department of Human Services, (701) 328-4933


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