Here you find recent actions taken by NASTA to influence development of policy that strengthens that national TANF state block grant program and fosters the capacity of TANF administrators to ensure the program is responsive and accountable.



  • APHSA Comment Letter on Career Pathways Request for Information (RFI) - June 5, 2014 

APHSA ties the goal of career pathways programs to the Pathways' goal of gainful employment and independence and calls for greater alignment among program requirements, funding, and performance measures. It calls for new programs to encourage and promote success for a greater range of participants, and prior to total system realignment, to provide authority to test new strategies by blending and braiding existing funding streams. 

Read more ... APHSA Comment Letter on Career Pathways RFI

  • APHSA-NASTA Joint Comment Letter on Proposed TANF EBT Transactions Restrictions Regulations - April 21, 2014.
APHSA and NASTA suggest that the final regulations mirror the statute as closely as possible, that the restrictions not be extended to include private bank accounts or Internet transactions, and that the Administration for Children and Families continue to provide states with the flexibility necessary to implement the restrictions based on their own unique circumstances.
  • APHSA Comment Letter on Proposed TANF Reporting Requirements - November 8, 2013.
The majority of APHSA/NASTA respondents acknowledge that the new reporting requirements will provide greater clarity and additional information to the public and policymakers about the TANF program, but many are not convinced that the additional information will be useful in making system improvements or improving outcomes. 

Read more ... Administrative Comment Letter on Proposed TANF Reporting Requirements

  • APHSA Comment Letter on Proposed LIHEAP Reporting Requirements – August 1, 2013

APHSA supports the intent of the proposed data elements, but believes collection could be overly burdensome for some states and vendors. 

Read more ... APHSA Comment Letter on Proposed LIHEAP Reporting Requirements


  • APHSA Center for Employment and Economic Well-Being Comments for the Record, Hearing On Getting Incentives Right: Connecting Low-Income Individuals with Jobs - March 1, 2016

The APHSA Center for Employment and Economic Well-Being (CEEWB) comment letter addresses the incentives for employers to offer employment opportunities to recipients of public assistance, as well as the incentives for recipients of public assistance to participate in the the workforce. 

Read more... Comments for the Record, Hearing On Getting Incentives Right

  • APHSA-NASTA Joint Comment Letter for the Record, Hearing on Welfare Reform Proposals - July 29, 2015
APHSA and NASTA’s comment letter addresses the TANF reform proposals contained within the Discussion Draft on TANF reform that was released by the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. The comments state our position on a number of specific aspects of the Draft Discussion, from performance measures, to funding structures, and work participation activities, and it offers suggestions for improvements. The letter also emphasizes that final legislation should recognize and address states’ need for time to transition, and it encourages greater alignment with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and other policies and program that impact TANF participants.
  • APHSA-NASTA Letter on TANF Research Funding - November 7, 2014
The letter supports restoration of funding for TANF Research and Demonstrations, which was not included in the FY 2015 continuing resolution. The funding has supported the majority of TANF-related research since 1996.
Identical letters were sent to leadership of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee, Senate Finance Committee, House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees. 
  • APHSA-NASTA Letter on Subsidized Jobs - August 20, 2014

The letter was submitted for the record of the hearing on subsidized jobs by the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee on July 30, 2014. The letter addresses three major issues: flexibility, timing, and funding. 

Read more ... APHSA-NASTA Letter on Subsidized Jobs

  • APHSA Letter on WIA Reauthorization—July 3, 2013.

APHSA supports common performance measures and data systems, unified state plans, and the focus on career pathways, but recommends additional provisions that would increase state flexibility, authority and innovation. 

Read more ... Letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on bipartisan discussion draft reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

  • APHSA-NASTA Letters on TANF Reauthorization – March 18, 2013.

APHSA urges Congress to reauthorize the TANF program to address the shortcomings in current law and support a larger transformation of the human services delivery system. Congress should replace the current Work Participation Rate (WPR) that measures inputs with one that measures how successful states are in moving TANF recipients toward employment and into jobs. 

Read more ... Letter to Leadership of House Ways and Means Committee and Human Resources Subcommittee and Letter to Leadership of Senate Finance Committee


  • House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee: Three Hearings on Federal Safety Net Programs – June and July 2013 

    • June 18, 2013: More Spending, Less Real Help: Reviewing How Today's Fragmented Welfare System Fails to Lift Up Poor Families 

      The first hearing examined program cost, duplication, and effectiveness. Chairman Reichert stated that despite the fact that the U.S. has upward of 80 welfare programs and is spending more than ever to assist low-income families, these programs do not seem to be particularly effective at alleviating poverty or getting families back to work. Witnesses included Dr. Jeffrey Kling of the Congressional Budget Office, Dr. Lawrence Mead of New York University, Dr. Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago, Jennifer Tiller of America Works, former America Works client Sada Randolph, and Eric Rodriguez of the National Council of La Raza.

    • July 17, 2013: What Really Works: Evaluating Current Efforts to Help Families Support their Children and Escape Poverty 

      The second hearing examined what is known about the effectiveness of current programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals, how Congress can ensure more social programs are rigorously evaluated to determine their impact, and how high-quality evidence can best be used to inform the design of social programs at the federal level. Chairman Reichert noted that while nearly one third of U.S. households currently receive assistance from government programs, few have been shown to have a proven positive impact. Witnesses included Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Utah Governor's Office of Management and Budget and former Executive Director of Utah's Department of Workforce Services,Jon Baron, President of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, Steve Aos, Director of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, David B. Muhlhausen, Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the Heritage Foundation, and Tara Smith, Research Associate at the Ray Marshall Center, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

    • July 31, 2013: Improving the Safety Net to Ensure Families Receive Real Help 

      The third hearing examined state innovations in providing services to low-income children and families. Chairman Reichert (R-WA) expressed concern that the complex interaction among welfare programs often discourages work and that many programs have not been shown to be effective in alleviating poverty. Reichert cited the barriers of siloed programs, separate financing, complex requirements, and a lack of vision. Witnesses included Clarence Carter, Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Eloise Anderson, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Michelle Saddler, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, and Larry Woods, CEO of the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Archived hearings and testimony:

  • House Budget Committee Hearing: The War on Poverty: A Progress Report – July 31, 2013 

    The hearing examined the history of the War on Poverty, a war that Chairman Ryan (R-WI) said is being lost. Ryan compared the federal government to a "giant sedimentary rock" composed of layers upon layers of programs that have built up over time and that often work against each other. Witnesses included: Eloise Anderson, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Douglas Besharov, Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, Jon Baron, President of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, and Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NEWORK. 

    The testimony

  • House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Hearing: State TANF Spending and Its Impact on Work Requirements – May 2012. 

    Witness Peter J. Palermino, TANF Administrator, Bureau of Assistance Programs, Connecticut Department of Social Services, who represented NASTA at the hearing, voiced support for the continuation of both the caseload reduction credit (CRC) and excess MOE, stating that excess MOE provides additional resources to support the goals of TANF, gives states opportunities to explore new program designs, and serves as a leveraging tool during state budget decisions. Also testifying were:Carol Cartledge, Director, Economic Assistance Policy Division, North Dakota Department of Human Services, Kay E. Brown, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Grant Collins, Senior Vice President for Workforce Services, ResCare, and LaDonna Pavetti, Vice President for Family Income Support Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

    Testimony and archived webcast: