June 5, 2015 (Denver, CO) – The Systems to Family Stability National Policy Academy has selected Colorado for its demonstrated commitment to implementing innovative and successful strategies to help welfare recipients secure employment. States across the nation are struggling with improving federal work participation requirements while at the same time focusing on securing employment and eliminating the need for welfare benefits.
The Director of the Office of Family Assistance in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, Nisha Patel, participated in meetings with Colorado on June 3 and 4 to learn from the Department of Human Services’ experts on the state’s efforts to create successful employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Since 2013, when CDHS began tracking employment outcomes, more than 10,542 welfare recipients have found gainful employment through the Colorado Works (Colorado’s TANF program). That breaks down to 3,973 in 2013; 4,896 in 2014; and 2,963 since October 1, 2014 (the 2015 Federal Fiscal Year).
Director Patel visited the state to participate in a two-day action planning session with Colorado state and family human services leaders. Patel, whose office administers the TANF program, also oversees the Systems to Family Stability National Policy Academy.\
The two-day event was the starting point for a larger national event in Washington, D.C., later this month, where Colorado will be showcased as one of eight states that have demonstrated their commitment to improving employment outcomes for TANF participants.
Colorado is one of 23 states and two territories that didn’t meet the 2012 participation rate standard, which is a process measure that tracks hours spent in specified activities that include job preparation activities and education. It does not measure recipients’ progress, success in the labor market, or ultimate independence from government supports. Colorado is working with its federal partners to implement its plan for improved participation rates and employment outcomes by 2017. Improved participation rates could mitigate the possibility of a penalty.
“At CDHS we are focused on getting real jobs for real people. We are thrilled that Colorado has been selected for the Policy Academy due to the state’s demonstrated commitment to improving employment outcomes for TANF participants,” said Levetta Love, director, CDHS Office of Economic Security. “By focusing on finding good paying jobs for those in need, we are helping lift Colorado families out of poverty, and teaching them how to sustain economic security and self-sufficiency.”