Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky exceeds its welfare-to-work goals; State surpasses target for getting clients off financial aid
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2007) – Kentucky has surpassed its goals for moving Kentuckians off of welfare and into jobs over the past two federal fiscal years.
“We’re pleased that we are exceeding the goals set by the federal government to move people from government benefits to self-sufficiency,” said Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) Commissioner Mark A. Washington.
The United States Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Family Assistance announced the state’s work participation rates for citizens receiving financial aid from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program – known here as the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP):
• For the 2005 federal fiscal year (October 2004-September 2005), Kentucky’s participation rate was nearly 40 percent, exceeding its target rate of 10 percent.
• For fiscal year 2006 (October 2005-September 2006), the participation rate was about 45 percent, well above the target rate of 11 percent.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services administers K-TAP to Kentuckians through its local DCBS offices.
“This demonstrates that our staff is working with clients to find appropriate job training and career options that suit their abilities and ambitions,” Washington said. “More important is what this means for the families involved. When heads of households find and keep gainful employment and can provide for their families, their children are less likely to become part of the welfare cycle.”
Last year, DCBS began evaluating ways to strengthen the opportunities and resources available to staff to offer clients seeking job skills training and employment. The goal, Washington said, was to improve the work participation rate in the regions that did not meet federal standards required under the Deficit Reduction Act.
One change, to be implemented next January, is the elimination of co-pays for about 6,500 Kentuckians who receive child care tuition assistance.
DCBS has also recently contracted with six vendors to provide employment services to K-TAP clients.
“This partnership is exciting news because it provides new opportunities for recipients to obtain training and employment skills so they can find and keep the jobs they want,” Washington said.
The agency has also begun a pilot project to provide job retention services for clients when K-TAP benefits have ended because of employment. These are intense job retention services to assist former recipients to maintain employment, pursue career advancement and achieve self-sufficiency.
The agency has a successful, nationally recognized contract with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to assist clients who want to pursue vocational training while meeting the participation requirements.
Washington said these steps are all part of DCBS’ comprehensive Partners in Prevention initiative, which focuses on the cabinet’s early intervention and prevention efforts aimed at keeping children and families healthy and safe.
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