To the editor:
In recent weeks, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) has been criticized for maintaining a reserve in its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the use of TANF funding.
TANF is a federal program and, since the 1996 welfare reforms, Kansas has received a yearly federal block grant of $101.9 million for TANF.
The federal program is designed to be a welfare-to-work program. The objective is to help families in need temporarily. DCF has and continues to use TANF funds to prevent future poverty. Prevention programs are not a quick fix, but they are effective.
In order to sustain the current programs and invest in future efforts that will help prevent poverty, DCF has maintained a TANF reserve fund.
DCF invests TANF dollars into worthwhile programs that help prevent poverty. Current and future investment in poverty-prevention programs in no way impacts the amount of cash assistance individuals receive.
The state of Kansas wants families to succeed and find they can be self-sufficient. We will continue to do all we can to help individuals in the short term with temporary assistance but we also want to ensure long-term success through employment and prevention.