Skip Navigation
Department of Health and Human Services 		  
		  Administration for Children and Families
ACF Home   |   Services   |   Working with ACF   |   Policy/Planning   |   About ACF   |   ACF News   |   HHS Home

  Questions?  |  Privacy  |  Site Index  |  Contact Us  |  Download Reader™Download Reader  |  Print Print      

Administration for Children and Families US Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)
    small printer

Office of Family Assistance (OFA)


The Office of Family Assistance administers the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF provides assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting States the federal funds and wide flexibility to develop and implement their own welfare programs.

What is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF)?

TANF is a block grant program to help move recipients into work and turn welfare into a program of temporary assistance. Under the welfare reform legislation of 1996, TANF replaced the old welfare programs known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. The law ended federal entitlement to assistance and instead created TANF as a block grant that provides States and tribes federal funds each year. These funds cover benefits, administrative expenses, and services targeted to needy families.

Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, legislation that reauthorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program of 1996. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 reauthorized the TANF program through fiscal year (FY) 2010 with a renewed focus on work, program integrity, and strengthening families through healthy marriage promotion and responsible fatherhood.



The four purposes of TANF are:

Highlights of TANF

Work Requirements:

Work Activities – Activities that count toward a state’s participation rates (some restrictions may apply):

Five-Year Time Limit:

State Maintenance of Effort Requirement (MOE):

Personal Employability Plans:

Teen Parent Live-at-Home and Stay-in-School Requirement:

State Plans:

Job Subsidies:

Tribal Programs:


Native Employment Works Program:

— In FY 2008, $16.5 billion is available for TANF.


Office of Family Assistance
Administration for Children and Families
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: 202.401.9275
FAX: 202.205.5887
Visit Our Website
E-mail Us

Updated November 2008
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)