Thursday, August 16, 2018
 
The History of NNDSR

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, was signed on August 22, 1996, by President Bill Clinton.

The PRWORA Act replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), an entitlement program.  The focus of welfare reform was to encourage employment and impose time-limited assistance.  In addition, PRWORA allowed tribes for the first time, to administer their own TANF programs.

December 1996, the Navajo Nation embarked on the development and implementation of its own TANF program.  The diversity of the population and geographical distances of the Navajo Nation proved challenging in developing the TANF program.

July 1999, the Navajo Nation submitted its first Tribal Family Assistance Plan (TFAP).  The TFAP outlined a three (3) year plan and is a measure of accountability for the Navajo Nation TANF program. The TFAP is updated every three years.

The TFAP emphasizes and promotes the Navajo traditional teaching of prosperity, particularly the concept of T’áá hwó ájít’ éego – to be responsible for your own self.

March 2002, the Navajo Nation TANF program officially opened its doors and began offering services independent from the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

January 2007, the Navajo Nation TANF Program changed its name to the Navajo Nation Program for Self Reliance to advance the values of the program. January 2014, the program established itself as a department and was renamed, the Department for Self Reliance (DSR).

Tribal Family Assistance Plan
           

The Tribal Family Assistance Plan (TFAP) is a three (3) year plan that is submitted to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The TFAP is a contractual agreement between the Navajo Nation and DHHS. The plan outlines the types of assistance and services to be provided and describes how the assistance and services will be provided.

Changes to the Welfare System

Citizens of the United States communicate to members of Congress what laws they want; many felt that welfare encouraged the wrong values for society.  As a result, Congress passed the Welfare Reform Act.

These are the changes to welfare:

  • Financial assistance programs, like TANF should help people prepare for a career.
  • Financial Assistance should be given to families for only a short time, while adults gain skills, knowledge, and experience to take care of their families.
  • Parents should have child care and health care services for their children while they prepare for employment.
  • Child support programs should be tougher and more successful in getting support from absent parents.
  • States, Tribes, and local communities should have many solutions for helping families become self-reliant.
  • Emphasis on education and work experience to add to job skills so that adults can become self-reliant.
Pathway to Self Reliance Service Delivery Model

Throughout the years, the Navajo people have faced many adversities; our elders were able to overcome and survive because they were taught and believed in the basic values and principles of Iiná (life).  The teachings of Iiná, prescribe that if you want to become self-reliant, you must be willing to do the work necessary and not expect others to do it for you.

The Pathway to Self Reliance Service Delivery Model has four important life activities.  These four (4) cultural components provide guidance and serve as a model for the development of well-being and promote values in sustaining the Navajo livelihood of self-reliance and self-sufficiency in today’s world.

To apply the model, start at the top, beginning with Thinking and go clock-wise to Planning, Doing and end with Growing.

To promote personal responsibility by educating Customers on welfare reform while reducing dependency on public assistance by creating educational and career opportunities.  By providing assistance for the Customer's basic needs while addressing social problems that are hindering the Customer's growth and by identifying and providing referrals to key resources.

To create an atmosphere encouraging personal change by assisting the Customer to identify specific opportunities and to foster a positive outcome. The Customer will begin to recognize their own personal strengths which promotes the Customer’s well-being by encouraging a Customer-centered process that instills hope and optimism in the Customer’s capacity for change.

To implement a plan of action based on identified strengths and barriers while establishing and providing opportunities for customers to develop skills, enhance knowledge and gain experience will help them to become self-sufficient and self-reliant.

To develop a plan of action that results in cultivation of long-range goals and achievements which will supports the Navajo concept of Iiná, self-reliance for the customer and her/his family.

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