Federally recognized Indian tribes are eligible to apply for funding under section 412 of the Social Security Act, as amended by Pub.L.104-193 to administer and operate their own TANF programs. 

The purposes of the TANF program are:  (1) to provide grants to tribes to assist needy families with children so that the children can be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; (2) to reduce dependency by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) to prevent and reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and (4) to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

As of January 1, 2016, there are 73 approved Tribal TANF programs. These programs serve 287 federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. In addition to the populations on the reservations and in the Alaska Native villages, these Tribal TANF programs provide benefits and services to the non-reservation American Indian/Alaska Native populations residing in approximately 130 counties. The current total annual amount of all Tribal Family Assistance Grants is $192,753,143. Of the 73 Tribes and Tribal organizations administering Tribal TANF programs, 15 include their TANF programs in Public Law 102-477 projects. P.L. 102-477 is the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 (25 USC § 3401 et. seq.). The Act allows Tribes to integrate DOI, HHS, DOL, and DOE employment, training, and related services programs into a single program with a single budget.

Native Employment Works
Tribes can also operate Native Employment Works (NEW) programs to help their members prepare for and find jobs. There currently are 78 NEW program grantees and total annual funding is over $7.6 million. NEW grantees select their service area, service population, and eligibility criteria, and decide the services they will provide. Each year, NEW programs serve approximately 9,000-10,000 clients.

Tribal TANF Child Welfare Coordination Grants
The Office of Family Assistance has also funded two sets of discretionary demonstration grants to improve coordination of Tribal TANF and child welfare services provided to tribal families at risk of child abuse or neglect.

See Federal Tribal TANF & NEW Grantees and Annual Awards. (PDF Download, 2 pages)

Last Reviewed: January 8, 2018