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TANF 12th Report to Congress

Published: January 25, 2018
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Annual Report to Congress

The Office of Family Assistance posted the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 12th Report to Congress. This report provides data for fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015 and presents information regarding TANF expenditures and caseloads, work participation and earnings, the characteristics and financial circumstances of TANF recipients, TANF performance measures, interactions between TANF and child support, as well as specific provisions of state TANF programs. In addition, this report documents current family self-sufficiency and stability-related research, describes federal efforts to promote healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, provides national data on out-of-wedlock births, and presents child poverty statistics.

Key highlights from the TANF 12th Report to Congress include:

  • In FY 2015, states received federal TANF block grants totaling about $16.5 billion. In addition, 20 qualifying states received a combined total of over $685 million in FY 2015 Contingency Funds.
  • Combined federal TANF and state maintenance-of-effort (MOE) expenditures and transfers totaled $31.7 billion in FY 2015. On the national level in FY 2015, 25 percent of combined TANF and MOE funds were used for basic assistance, 17 percent for child care (spent or transferred), and 8 percent for work, education, and training activities. FY 2015 was the first year that states used a revised financial reporting form (the ACF-196R), which clarified and expanded the list of expenditure categories and also improved the accounting methodology.
  • In FY 2015, a monthly average of 1.63 million families, with 4.17 million recipients, received TANF assistance funded either by federal TANF block grant funds or state MOE funds, including assistance funded through separate state programs (SSPs).
  • The national average overall work participation rate achieved in FY 2015 was 48.4 percent, and the national average two-parent rate achieved was 60.6 percent. Many states have adopted strategies that make it easier to meet the rate such as, providing token payments to low-income working families not otherwise receiving assistance, or serving families in a solely state-funded program to remove them from the calculation entirely. Fifteen states failed one or both work participation rates in FY 2015.
  • There were approximately 649,000 child-only cases (those in which no adult is receiving TANF assistance), which accounted for 48.6 percent of the total TANF caseload. In FY 2015, 75.4 percent of children receiving TANF assistance in FY 2015 were under the age of 12.
  • The average monthly amount of assistance for TANF recipient families was $398.
  • At the end of FY 2015, 70 Tribal TANF plans were approved to operate on behalf of 298 tribes and Alaska Native villages, and serve the non-reservation area of 122 counties. Grants allocated to approved programs totaled $192,103,592 in federal funds.
Last Reviewed: January 25, 2018