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September 2013Vol. 14, No. 7TANF and Child Welfare Collaboration Synthesis

In 2006, the Children's Bureau published a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for Collaboration Between Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Child Welfare to Improve Child Welfare Program Outcomes. A new synthesis posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website discusses the knowledge gained through the grant cluster's projects.

Between 2006 and 2011, six grantees conducted innovative projects to either broadly address dual-system families or to focus on specific subgroups. The interconnections between the two programs reflect the role of poverty, often accompanied by parental stress, as a risk factor for child abuse and neglect. In addition, other co-occurring issues, such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or mental health issues also affect many families receiving services from either or both systems.

The five projects developed infrastructure and implemented interagency practices to promote collaboration among the child welfare and TANF systems. Several common lessons learned were identified, including the following:

  • Leadership commitment is essential to successful implementation.
  • Relationship building sets the foundation for collaboration.
  • Taking time to plan and prepare is indispensable.
  • Data collection and technological capacity are important considerations in developing and evaluation collaborative efforts.
  • Meaningful collaboration stems from shared accountability.

The five projects funded in this grant cluster were:

Synthesis: Collaboration Between TANF and Child Welfare to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes, including individual site visit reports for each project, is available on the Information Gateway website: