1996 Federal Welfare Reform legislation titled the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to replace the entitlement program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The State receives TANF funds from the Federal Government. States are then expected to attempt to have recipients of the TANF program to achieve monthly minimum Work Participation Rates. This mandate for the states includes funding level consequences for non-compliance.
Colorado Works is Colorado's TANF program and provides public assistance to families in need. Colorado Works Program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. Counties are authorized by the State of Colorado to create local policies for local administration of TANF/Colorado Works (TCW).
Participants must sign Individual Responsibility Contracts (IRC's) to receive/retain Basic Cash Assistance (BCA) benefits, and must remain in compliance with their IRC to retain BCA or receive additional financial work activity supportive services.
Case Managers provide welfare diversion and prevention services to current and former participants and inquiring non-recipients on issues of family stability, job retention, and career advancement and income growth. This includes work on resumes, cover letters, completing applications, calling with job lead discoveries, and school or financial aid applications, helping locate community resources, as well as post-crisis self-sufficiency planning.
Because TANF assistance to participants is time-limited to 60 monthly payments in a person's lifetime, county staff try to engage participants in employment readiness and/or career exploration/building activities quickly. Montrose County policy mandates "discharge" planning with participants that reach 48 months of TANF receipt.
Applications are available at both the Montrose office, 1845 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401, and the Nucla office, 851 M. St., Nucla, CO 81424, or www.colorado.gov/peak.