Colorado Works / TANF

Colorado Works

Welfare-to-work case management services for families applying for or receiving TANF Basic Cash Assistance. 

Community Support and Strengthening Services

Through contracting with local non-profit and other professional services, FSI uses Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to make available to local families an array of services:
  • Family stability case management
  • Parenting education classes
  • Advocacy to strengthen existing families, and reunite children and parents
  • Promote self-sufficiency and increase access to community services
  • Employment retention

What is "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)"?

Many of these programs are supported by TANF funding. TANF funds and services are used to assist low-income receiving public assistance on a temporary basis, or families at risk of becoming increasingly involved in or dependent on government systems. The goal of FSI and Health & Human Services is that by assisting families in this way, the entire community will benefit as those families become more self-sufficient and healthy members of the community.

The Four Federally Legislated Purposes of TANF Are:

  • To provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives
  • To end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage
  • To prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies
  • To encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families


1996 Federal Welfare Reform legislation titled the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to replace the entitlement program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The State receives TANF funds from the Federal Government. States are then expected to attempt to have recipients of the TANF program to achieve monthly minimum Work Participation Rates. This mandate for the states includes funding level consequences for non-compliance.

Colorado Works is Colorado's TANF program and provides public assistance to families in need. Colorado Works Program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. Counties are authorized by the State of Colorado to create local policies for local administration of TANF/Colorado Works (TCW).

Participants must sign Individual Responsibility Contracts (IRC's) to receive/retain Basic Cash Assistance (BCA) benefits, and must remain in compliance with their IRC to retain BCA or receive additional financial work activity supportive services.

Case Managers provide welfare diversion and prevention services to current and former participants and inquiring non-recipients on issues of family stability, job retention, and career advancement and income growth. This includes work on resumes, cover letters, completing applications, calling with job lead discoveries, and school or financial aid applications, helping locate community resources, as well as post-crisis self-sufficiency planning.

Because TANF assistance to participants is time-limited to 60 monthly payments in a person's lifetime, county staff try to engage participants in employment readiness and/or career exploration/building activities quickly. Montrose County policy mandates "discharge" planning with participants that reach 48 months of TANF receipt.

Applications are available at both the Montrose office, 1845 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401, and the Nucla office, 851 M. St., Nucla, CO 81424, or Colorado Peak.