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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 May 13, 2019, there are 74 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 $199,879,061.

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)

Public Law 102-477

Several of the Tribes and Tribal organizations administering Tribal TANF  and  NEW programs include these programs in Public Law 102-477 projects. Public Law 102-477 is the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 (25 USC § 3401 et. seq.), as amended and expanded by Public Law 115-93, Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017. The 2017 expansion added programs from the following Departments:

  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veteran Affairs

In addition to the original programs the Act allowed Tribes to integrate: Department of Interior, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and Department of Education.

Eligible Programs address the following:

  • Providing job training
  • Creating or enhancing employment opportunities
  • Assisting with skill development
  • Encouraging self-sufficiency
  • Spurring economic development

For more information about the Public Law 102-477 program, please contact the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Division of Workforce Development at phone number (202) 219-3938.

Last Reviewed: February 18, 2020