North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, called Work First, is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and other services to help them become employed and self-sufficient, but the responsibility is theirs, and most families have two years to move off Work First Family Assistance.
Work First focuses on three strategies. These include:
Diversion – helping families cope with unexpected emergencies
Work – reducing the time families are on Work First by making work mandatory and limiting how long families receive cash benefits
Retention – helping families stay off public assistance by encouraging them to save and helping them realize that working is better than welfare
To receive Work First Family Assistance benefits, parents must:
- register with the First Stop Employment Assistance Program
- sign a Mutual Responsibility Agreement (MRA)
Once they move into the work components of the program, they can continue to receive benefits for up to 24 months. In most cases, families who have reached the 24-month limit cannot receive Work First Family Assistance for three years.
The Work First Program provides services to aid families in achieving self-sufficiency. These include, but are not limited to:
- job readiness / employment
- furthering education
- child wellness checks / immunizations
- being more self-sufficient
- physical and mental health improvements for families
Granville County Department of Social Services