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TANF-ACF-PI-2008-10 (Pro-family Maintenance-of-Effort (MOE) Spending Provision)

Published: October 23, 2008
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
Program Instructions (PI)
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA)


State agencies administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program under title IV-A of the Social Security Act (Act), and other interested parties


Pro-family Maintenance-of-Effort (MOE) Spending Provision


Section 409(a)(7)(B)(i)(V) of the Act and the final TANF regulations at 45 CFR 263.2(a)(4)(ii)


This Program Instruction reminds States of the change in the pro-family MOE claiming provision in the final TANF regulations effective October 1, 2008 and published in 73 FR, 6772, February 5, 2008


The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 added a new MOE spending provision, “Counting of Spending on Certain Pro-Family Activities” at section 409(a)(7)(B)(i)(V) of the Act. Under this provision, qualified non-assistance pro-family expenditures for benefits and services provided to families who are not considered “eligible families” as defined in 45 CFR 263.2(b), count towards meeting a State’s basic MOE requirement. The final regulation defines “certain” for purposes of this new MOE claiming provision. 


Effective October 1, 2008 (FY 2009), the TANF regulation at 45 CFR 263.2(a)(4)(ii) provides that “Counting of Spending on Certain Pro-Family Activities” within TANF purposes three or four means counting of non-assistance expenditures on only the allowable healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood non-assistance activities enumerated in sections 403(a)(2)(A)(iii) and 403(a)(2)(C)(ii) of the Act. States may claim these pro-family expenditures for non-assistance benefits provided to or on behalf of an individual or family, regardless of financial need or family composition, unless a limitation, restriction or prohibition under 45 CFR 263 Subpart A applies. We list the allowable healthy marriage and responsible non-assistance activities below.

Healthy Marriage Promotion Activities

  • Public advertising campaigns on the value of marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability and health;
  • Marriage education, marriage skills, and relationship skills programs, that may include parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement, for non-married pregnant women and non-married expectant fathers;
  • Pre-marital education and marriage skills training for engaged couples and for couples or individuals interested in marriage;
  • Marriage enhancement and marriage skills training programs for married couples;
  • Divorce reduction programs that teach relationship skills;
  • Marriage mentoring programs which use married couples as role models and mentors in at-risk communities; and,
  • Non-assistance programs to reduce the disincentives to marriage in means-tested aid programs if offered in conjunction with any activity described above.

Activities Promoting Responsible Fatherhood

  • Activities to promote marriage or sustain marriage through activities such as counseling, mentoring, disseminating information about the benefits of marriage and 2-parent involvement for children, enhancing relationship skills, education regarding how to control aggressive behavior, disseminating information on the causes of domestic violence and child abuse, marriage preparation programs, premarital counseling, marital inventories, skills-based marriage education, financial planning seminars, including improving a family's ability to effectively manage family business affairs by means such as education, counseling, or mentoring on matters related to family finances, including household management, budgeting, banking, and handling of financial transactions and home maintenance, and divorce education and reduction programs, including mediation and counseling.
  • Activities to promote responsible parenting through activities such as counseling, mentoring, and mediation, disseminating information about good parenting practices, skills-based parenting education, encouraging child support payments, and other methods.
  • Activities to foster economic stability by helping fathers improve their economic status by providing activities such as work first services, job search, job training, subsidized employment, job retention, job enhancement, and encouraging education, including career-advancing education, dissemination of employment materials, coordination with existing employment services such as welfare-to-work programs, referrals to local employment training initiatives, and other methods.
  • Activities to promote responsible fatherhood that are conducted through a contract with a nationally recognized, nonprofit fatherhood promotion organization, such as the development, promotion, and distribution of a media campaign to encourage the appropriate involvement of parents in the life of any child and specifically the issue of responsible fatherhood

With the exception of the above-described pro-family non-assistance expenditures, States may only claim toward their MOE requirement allowable expenditures for or on behalf of eligible families. An eligible family is a financially needy family that consists of, at a minimum, a child living with a caretaker relative or consists of a pregnant woman. States must include the quantified income and resource (if applicable) criteria that eligible families must meet to receive the particular benefit(s) in their TANF plan. See 45 CFR 263.2(b) for information on eligible families.


States that have been claiming all pro-family non-assistance expenditures that are consistent with TANF purpose three or TANF purpose four pursuant to the interim final TANF regulations, must examine their TANF plans to identify MOE-funded activities that do not meet the more narrow pro-family claiming criteria set forth in the final regulation. States must submit amendments to their TANF plans indicating the quantified income and resource (if applicable) criteria that eligible families must meet to receive the particular benefit(s).


October 1, 2008


Please direct any inquiries to the TANF Program Manager in your Region.



Sidonie Squier
Office of Family Assistance