On April 12, 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final set of regulations to provide federal, state and tribal governments with direction in the administration of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Before issuing the Final Rule, HHS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that included key provisions of TANF. The notice provided the public with an opportunity to submit comments regarding the proposed regulations.
The only policy area that provoked a considerable number of 'single issue' comments was domestic violence. HHS received about twenty sets of comments from domestic violence, women's, legal and other groups focusing specifically on the proposed domestic violence provisions in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. In the domestic violence sections of the attached Preamble (see pp. 2-14) and regulations (see pp. 15-18), HHS addressed comments and concerns raised by these groups.
In order to advocate effectively for battered women in the welfare arena, it is important for domestic violence advocates to be familiar with the TANF Final Rule. A command of the basic language pertaining to domestic violence within the Preamble and the regulations will help advocates engage in thoughtful and educated discussions with policy-makers and welfare personnel regarding how battered women can best be served by the TANF office in their area.
Included are excerpts from the final TANF guidelines relating to domestic violence.