Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (05/10/2002)

Working Toward Independence Act of 2002 - Title I: TANF Program - Amends title IV part A (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) (TANF) of the Social Security Act to amend State work participation requirements.

(Sec. 101) Sets forth State work participation requirements and rates. Revises caseload reduction credit and countable hours.

(Sec. 102) Requires State plans to require that recipients of TANF, in addition to work (as under current law), to engage in alternative self-sufficiency activities as defined by States and activities pursuant to Family Self-Sufficiency Plans. Redefines Individual Responsibility Plans as Family Self-Sufficiency Plans, which shall assess each work-eligible individual's job readiness, barriers to employment, and any additional factors hindering the achievement of self-sufficiency, including domestic or sexual violence. Authorizes States to refer any such family member for State services.

Requires State programs to consult with each work-eligible individual and develop a Self-Sufficiency Plan. Requires that States: (1) describe the services, programs and support that are determined by the State to meet employment or other goals; (2) monitor the participation of family members in the planned activities and the family's progress toward self-sufficiency; and (3) regularly review, and revise as appropriate, the effectiveness of the plan. Establishes penalties for States that fail to establish Family Self-Sufficiency Plans.

(Sec. 103) Revises State plan requirements to include: (1) descriptions, methodology, and measurable work performance objectives detailing how the State will pursue ending dependency of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation and work; and (2) strategies and programs to address employment retention and advancement, services for struggling and noncompliant families, clients with special problems, and program integration. Authorizes the Secretary to develop uniform performance measures designed to assess the degree of effectiveness, and the degree of improvement, of State TANF programs.

(Sec. 104) Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) to develop a formula for measuring State performance and to make bonus grants to each State that has achieved formulated employment goals.

(Sec. 105) Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Labor to report jointly to Congress on changes needed to any existing program to allow greater integration between the welfare and workforce development systems.

(Sec. 106) Requires the Comptroller General of the United States (Comptroller) to study and report to Congress on the combined effect of the phase-out rates for Federal programs and policies which provide support to low-income families and individuals as they move from welfare to work.

(Sec. 107) Declares that the purpose of work participation requirements is to end dependence of needy families on government benefits, reduce poverty, and help achieve long-term income security by promoting job preparation and work.

(Sec. 108) Makes State TANF programs mandatory one-stop partners with employment training centers under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

(Sec. 109) Requires the Secretary to conduct a longitudinal study of factors that contribute to the ability of TANF recipients to comply with work requirements and achieve long-term self sufficiency.

Title II: Amendments to the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 - Caring for Children Act of 2002 - Amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to revise its goals to include: (1) assisting States in providing consumer education information to help parents make informed choices about child care; (2) providing child care to low-income parents; (3) encouraging States to improve the quality of child care available to families; and (4) promoting school readiness by encouraging the exposure of young children in child care to nurturing environments and developmentally-appropriate activities.

(Sec. 203) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2003 through 2007.

(Sec. 204) Specifies consumer education information a State child care plan must certify that the States will collect and disseminate. Requires a State plan also to demonstrate how the State is: (1) coordinating child care services with other early child care services and early childhood education programs; (2) encouraging partnerships with private and other public entities to increase the supply of quality child care services; and (3) addressing the needs of parents who have children with special needs, work nontraditional hours, or require child care services for infants or toddlers.

Requires a State plan to outline the strategy to address the quality of childcare services in child care settings that provide services for which grant assistance is made available.

(Sec. 205) Requires a State to use at least six percent of its TANF funds for activities provided through resource and referral services or other means designed to improve the quality of child care services. Permits use of such funds for: (1) programs that provide training and professional development of the child care workforce; (2) child care setting activities to enhance early learning for young children; (3) initiatives to increase the retention and compensation of child care providers; or (4) other activities deemed by the State to improve the quality of child cares services.

(Sec. 206) Provides States discretion in establishing family income level eligibility requirements for children served under such Act.

Title III : Broadened Waiver Authority - Prescribes procedures for Federal administration of a program of demonstration projects in a State or portion of a State to integrate multiple public assistance, workforce development, and other programs, for the purpose of supporting working individuals and families, helping families escape welfare dependency, promoting child well-being, or helping build stronger families, using innovative approaches to strengthen service systems and provide more coordinated and effective service delivery.

Title IV: Effective Date - Sets forth the effective date of this Act.