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HHS announced the availability of up to an additional $5 billion in emergency funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This new Emergency Fund, established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will help states serve more families seeking employment opportunities and other forms of assistance during the economic downturn.

HHS awarded $46 million to 84 grantees under a new program, the Strengthening Communities Fund (SCF), created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The purpose of the grants is to improve the ability of nonprofit organizations to promote the economic recovery of people with low incomes.

HHS’ Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Administration for Native Americans (ANA) announced the award of nearly $41 million in grants to Native American communities and organizations located in 28 states, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

In response to the growing demands on states and families for much needed relief, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of $490 million in contingency funding to help eligible low-income homeowners and renters meet home energy costs. These Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) contingency funds will provide states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia with additional assistance to pay heating and electricity costs.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration for Native Americans (ANA) announces the availability of $42 million in competitive grant funding for fiscal year 2010 for community-based projects that promote economic and social self-sufficiency and cultural preservation for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native American Pacific Islanders from American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  The fiscal year 2010 funding includes $27 million for continuing multi-year projects.

‘Assets for Independence’ Grants to Support Matched Savings Accounts, Financial Literacy Education and Family Budgeting Training for Low-Income Individuals and Families

I am very disturbed by the findings in an upcoming GAO report on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that found instances in which benefits were given to ineligible individuals and areas where the program could be vulnerable to fraud. Public resources are limited, and a dollar spent on ineligible families is one less dollar available for those who genuinely need help.

HHS’ Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Administration for Native Americans (ANA) announced the award of $41.6 million in grants to Native American communities and organizations located in 28 states, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

ACF announced the award of $2 million, as cooperative agreements over a five year period, to states, tribes and territories to develop comprehensive multi-faceted recruitment programs and services for resource families, including kinship, foster, concurrent and adoptive families for children and youth served by public child welfare agencies as a means to promote the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released its annual report on child abuse and neglect. “Child Maltreatment 2009” marks the 20th issuance of the report and shows a steady decrease in the number of victims who suffered maltreatment for the third consecutive year.