A Descriptive Study of County-Versus State-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs

Publication Date: May 29, 2015


One-half of all families receiving cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program live in states with “county-administered” TANF programs. But what does “county-administered” mean? To address this knowledge gap, this report closely examines the TANF programs in four states with state-supervised, county-administered systems (California, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota) and provides detailed information on TANF administration in selected counties within these states.

The report also identifies differences between county- and state-administered TANF programs and describes technical assistance needs of county-administered programs. The report draws on in-person interviews with state and county TANF administrators in each of the four states, as well as telephone interviews or survey responses from state TANF administrators in 29 states with state-administered TANF programs, and other data sources.

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