Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

For Researchers: Current TANF Programs

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Wisconsin provides several types of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, including the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program, in addition to programs which are partially or wholly funded through State funds. The Department of Children and Families, Bureau of Working Families, is responsible for the programs listed below. If you are interested in applying for W-2, please visit the Find an Agency page.

For current program Policies and Legislative References, please visit the "Agency Partners - Policies" page.

Wisconsin Works

Wisconsin Works (W-2) is one of Wisconsin’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. W-2 replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in September 1997. W-2 is based on work participation and personal responsibility. The program provides employment preparation services, case management, and cash assistance to eligible families. Eligibility criteria are found in W-2 Manual Chapter 2 and W-2 Manual Chapter 3.

W-2 has the following paid placements: Community Service Job (CSJ), W-2 Transition (W-2 T), Trial Employment Match Program (TEMP), Custodial Parent of an Infant (CMC), and At Risk Pregnancy (ARP). In addition, several unpaid placements provide case management and employment retention services. For a brief overview of benefits and services available through the W-2 program, please refer to our W-2 Benefits and Services brochure. Under W-2, there is no entitlement to assistance. The program is available to low-income parents with minor children who meet eligibility requirements and who are willing to work to their ability. Each W-2 eligible participant meets with a Financial and Employment Planner (FEP), who helps the individual develop an employability plan. W-2 participants are limited to a maximum lifetime limit of 60 months. Extensions may be available on a limited basis when barriers exist that prevent employment.

There are 8 W-2 Agencies in Wisconsin consisting of a mix of private for-profit and private non-profit organizations. All W-2 agencies are either co-located or electronically linked to Wisconsin Job Centers for access to career planning, job placement and advancement, and training at the local level. To find local W-2 agency locations, please refer to the W-2 Agency Locator.

Statutory provisions for W-2 are included in Wisconsin Statutes under Chapter 49, Public Assistance and Children and Family Services.  W-2 Administrative Rules are found in DCF 101, DCF 102, DCF 103, and DCF 105 of the Wisconsin Administrative Rules. Policies for the W-2 Program are found in the W-2 Manual.

Noncustodial Parent Services

Wisconsin offers many services to help noncustodial parents achieve economic stability and ensure regular child support payments to custodial parents. These services include:

  • Case management services, including job obtainment and retention services, education and training activities, and parenting skills (provided through the W-2 CMN placement and Children First);
  • Subsidized employment (provided through the W-2 TEMP placement, Transitional Jobs, and Transform Milwaukee Jobs); and
  • Stipends for Noncustodial Parents (provided through the W-2 TSP Placement).

In addition, noncustodial parents may also apply for a Job Access Loan (see below).

Job Access Loans (JALs)

Job Access Loans (JALs) are short-term interest-free loans that are intended to meet immediate and discrete expenses that are related to obtaining or maintaining employment. W-2 agencies must not use JALs in place of W-2 services or other appropriate financial resources. In order to obtain eligibility for a JAL, the applicant must meet W-2 financial and non-financial eligibility and the additional JAL eligibility criterion listed in W-2 Manual 17.2.1. JALs are available to both custodial and noncustodial parents, although minor parents must meet additional criteria. There is no entitlement to a JAL. More information about JALs can be found in Chapter 17 of the W-2 Manual.

Emergency Assistance (EA)

Emergency Assistance (EA) provides funding to families with a child(ren) who meet all eligibility criteria. Among other requirements, to be eligible for EA, the applicant must be experiencing a current emergency due to fire, flood or natural disaster, impending homelessness, homelessness, or energy crisis. EA is one of many housing and emergency resource programs.

Statutory provisions for W-2 are included in Wisconsin Statutes under Chapter 49, Public Assistance and Children and Family Services. EA Administrative Rules are found in Chapter DCF 120 of the Wisconsin Administrative Rules. Policies for the EA Program are found in the EA Manual.

Transform Milwaukee Jobs (TMJ)

The Transform Milwaukee Jobs (TMJ) program was created in the Department of Children and Families by 2013 Wisconsin Act 20 as a permanent transitional jobs program to assist low-income adults in Milwaukee County transition into stable unsubsidized employment. The TMJ program offers jobs to low-income adults in Milwaukee and provides businesses with needed workers at little risk or expense to the business.

Statutory provisions for TMJ are included under Wis. Stat. § 49.163. Policies for the TMJ Program are found in the TMJ/TJ Manual.

Transitional Jobs (TJ)

The Transitional Jobs (TJ) program was created in the Department of Children and Families by 2013 Wisconsin Act 113 and funded by the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget. TJ is an expansion of the Transform Milwaukee Jobs program that provides limited-term subsidized work to low income adults. TJ is currently available in the City of Beloit and the following counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Menominee, Racine, Rusk, Sawyer, and Taylor.

Statutory provisions for TJ are included under Wis. Stat. § 49.163. Policies for the TJ Program are found in the TMJ/TJ Manual.