Gov. Lynch Issues Executive Order to Monitor, Improve On Changes to TANF Law

For Immediate Release
June 23, 2006
Contact
Communications Director
Office of the Governor
603-271-2121

Says More Work is Needed to Ensure Success, Self-Sufficiency for People

CONCORD - Saying more changes are needed to ensure the success and self-sufficiency of TANF recipients, Gov. John Lynch today issued an Executive Order requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to increase child care, transportation, education and other support services, as well as creating a system for monitoring the implementation of changes to the TANF program, and the impact of those changes on clients, the state and efforts to meet federal requirements.

"We need to move forward with some of the changes in this bill in order to meet new federal requirements, which is why I allowed this bill to become law," Gov. Lynch said. "I strongly believe in work and moving people toward self-sufficiency, and this legislation falls short in meeting those goals."

"New Hampshire must measure its success by our progress in moving TANF clients into lasting employment and self-sufficiency, not just by our success in meeting federal requirements," Gov. Lynch said. "We must meet the federal requirements by removing barriers to work, such as access to child care and transportation, and by increasing job training, not simply by closing cases with sanctions and shifting clients onto local welfare programs."

"That is why I am today issuing an Executive Order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to child care, transportation and education to ensure that TANF clients can truly move from welfare to work permanently," Gov. Lynch said. "This Executive Order also establishes a strong oversight and reporting system to ensure that policymakers are getting the information needed to make further improvements.

"The federal legislation and House Bill1331 grant broad discretion to the executive branch to implement TANF reforms. This Executive Order is intended to make sure implementation is done right," Gov. Lynch said.

The provisions of Gov. Lynch's Executive Order include:

* Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services, maximizing the use of federal TANF dollars, to ensure access to child care for all eligible recipients by methods including, but not limited to, the payment of TANF child care co-pays and registration fees.
* Requiring the Department, maximizing the use of federal TANF dollars, to ensure TANF clients can access transportation for work and child care purposes by methods including, but not limited to, paying for mileage, car repair and other transportation support services.
* Requiring the Department to increase, up to the federally allowable maximum, the number of individuals taking part in vocational training and education.
* Requiring the Department to develop a post-employment program as a way to reduce the TANF program recidivism rate, help families establish self-sufficiency, and meet the 50% participation rate.
* Requiring the Department to continue to support job readiness, workforce training and barrier resolution programs, such as LEAP, with proven records of success in ensuring that the TANF population is truly prepared for the workforce and able to maintain self-sufficiency, even if those programs do not count toward the federal participation rate.

The Executive Order also requires the Department to report monthly - beginning on July 14th - on progress in meeting the above goals, as well as information on TANF cases closed, local welfare caseloads, job retention and wage increases of former TANF recipients, the number and reasons for good cause waivers, progress toward meeting the federal work participation rate, and the work activities in which TANF clients are engaged.

Under the Executive Order, the Department shall review with the Governor all proposed administrative rule changes related to the TANF program at least 30 days prior to submission to the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. Any other contractual changes or agreements related to the TANF program shall be reviewed with the Governor at least 30 days prior to implementation.

In addition, the Executive Order establishes a seven-member Governor's TANF Advisory Council to monitor implementation of changes to the TANF program, to evaluate information provided by the Department, and to recommend to the Governor any additional changes.