The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is willing to waive certain federal work participation standards under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to permit states to experiment with alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families. HHS announced this initiative on July 12, 2012. The major provision that HHS would waive is the numerical performance standards that states must meet or risk being penalized through a reduction in their TANF block grant. TANF statute provides that 50% of all families and 90% of two-parent families included in a participation rate are required to be engaged in work, though few states have ever faced the full standard because this percentage is reduced for certain credits.”
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