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DCFS Reduces Supplemental TANF Budget After Congress Fails to Renew Grant

BATON ROUGE -- As a result of the U.S. Congress not renewing the Supplemental Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant for Federal Fiscal Year 2012, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today announced $17 million in reductions to programs for this fiscal year.

"With Congress not reauthorizing the Supplemental TANF Block Grant, DCFS has reprioritized spending around our critical services to help ensure we continue to meet the needs of Louisianians," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson.

While Congress reauthorized the TANF program in September, they did not renew the Supplemental TANF grant, which was provided to 17 states as part of 1996 federal welfare reform legislation. Those states either had high population growth in the early 1990s or historic (1994) welfare grants per poor person lower than 35 percent of the national average, or a combination of above.

Johnson said that the agency reviewed the entire TANF budget and identified efficiencies and other ways to reduce spending while minimizing the impact to DCFS' core services.

"Just as families across the state must live within their means, DCFS had to look at our available funding and bring expenditures in line with those projections. We were able to identify savings by looking at efficiencies and focusing on programs that were not performing up to the levels expected," said Johnson.

The following are the proposed reductions to TANF programs:

Kinship Care Subsidy Program - $5.2 million
In the Kinship Care Subsidy Program, which provides cash assistance for children being cared for by a relative other than a parent, monthly grant amounts will be reduced by $58, back to pre-Hurricane Katrina levels, resulting in these savings. DCFS also adjusted the budget to actual spending, resulting in $1.4 million of these savings.

Modernization & Administration - $ 3.6 million
Approximately $1.1 million in TANF funding for modernization efforts will be reduced as a result of efficiencies the agency has identified through systems upgrades. An additional $2.5 million will be reduced in administration expenses which will be achieved through freezing hiring and other operating expenses.

Strategies to Empower People Program (STEP) - $3.6 million
DCFS will discontinue the Louisiana Employment Assistance Program, a recent 10 parish pilot with the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). LWC will continue to provide job readiness and job training in the pilot area as they do in other parishes for FITAP recipients.

Policy and procedures for reimbursement of transportation services for STEP and Job Access Remote Commute programs have been tightened and adjusted based on usage to reduce fraud and generate savings. Added benefits and support services for clients who have found employment following their participation in FITAP will be discontinued. In addition, budget projections were higher than needed and will result in savings by lowering the budget to levels consistent with actual usage.

Child Protection Investigations & Family Services - $2 million
By reallocating other funding, DCFS will cover a $2 million reduction in TANF funds used in Child Protection Investigations to ensure that the reductions do not impact child safety.

Families in Need of Services - $1.5 million
Funds being provided for the first time this year to the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) for Families in Need of Services program will be eliminated to save approximately $1.5 million.

Microenterprise Development & Individual Development Accounts - $1.1 million
Funding for Microenterprise Development and Individual Development Accounts, programs which did not have the level of performance or participation expected, will be eliminated to save approximately $1.1 million.

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