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Laura Zeilinger's Letter to Working Group Members

Monday, October 24, 2016

Office of the Director
October 21, 2016

Dear TANF Working Group Members,

As the nation reflects on the 20th Anniversary of federal Welfare Reform, and we take account of the lessons learned nationally and in the District, we have a unique and important opportunity to shape a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policy that meets the needs of District families. We are grateful to be working in collaboration with you to lay the foundation for a policy that is informed by these lessons, as well as your expertise, and the reality that families in the District face.

As a result of your efforts, I am pleased to share the attached report, Recommendationsfar Development of a TANF Hardship Extension Policyfor Washington, DC, created by the TANF Working Group and submitted to me earlier this week. Thank you for your participation, input and comments to the report. The recommendations of the Working Group will strongly influence our  work going forward.

As the Executive Summary states, this report documents the recommendations, deliberations, and stakeholder feedback for developing a hardship extension policy and related improvements to the District of Columbia's TANF program. What is clear from the report you created together, is the careful and deliberate approach to ensuring the values we share as a community are reflected in the policy recommendationsyou brought forward: that theenrichment, security and wellbeing of children is paramount to the foundation of any TANF policy; that services to parents should increase economic stability and independence for families through access to meaningful education and employment participation, and that there are clear protections in place to support our most vulnerable families.

Thank you again, for your time, expertise, and partnership. I look forward to exploring these recommendations with you further, and together, usingthese recommendations as the foundation for crafting and implementing a new, comprehensive TANF policy for the District of Columbia.

Laura Green Zeilinger
Director, DHS