510 29 ½ Road P.O. Box 20000 Grand Junction, Colorado 81502-5001 Telephone (970) 241-8480

Director: Tracey Garchar

Mesa County – Issues and Concerns regarding increasing Basic Cash Assistance  History of Counter Cyclical Nature of Building and Using County TANF Reserves  During a recession, Counties rely heavily on TANF funds to cover BCA as well as community supports, Child Care and Child Welfare. If Counties are not allowed to grow their reserves during good economic times, they will not be able to support regular increased BCA case loads, Child Care and Child Welfare that happen during downturns. The only thing that will rectify this counter cyclical build/spend cycle of TANF Reserves is adequate funding for all three allocations – Child Care, TANF, Child Welfare. Until then, regardless of thoughts, perceptions, or assumptions, TANF Reserves are heavily relied upon to plan and cover these three allocations at the county level - this is happening by design, not by careless county management. In a Post-Recession period, when we have little or no reserves, we have experienced a 2+ year period of reducing the TANF case load of BCA/Public Assistance that built during the recession, and our Child Care expenditures climb because people are going to work. The need for child care increases as more jobs are available and with the focus on quality we have seen an increase in expenditures related to providers quality ratings and decreased parental fees. Mesa County has been forced to implement waitlists for child care assistance for the past two years. We have implemented this in order to control expenditures and stay within our budget and we have budgeted to use TANF for over allocation expenditures in Child Care. Several changes statewide have and will affect TANF reserves: The state is proposing to use TANF reserves to cover the increased expenditures in child care, an increase to the TANF basic cash assistance payments, covering the loss of IVE revenue in Child Welfare, and significant under funding of the Child Welfare Appropriation. CDHS seems to be making these decisions in silos when our rough estimates project that between the SFY 17/18 and SFY 19/20, Reserves could be depleted by as little as $20M and as much as $42M. If this happens, Counties will be forced to make major changes to either their Community contracts or their staff, which will infringe upon local control and the ability to meet local needs. The following list recaps Mesa County’s TANF Allocation, Use of Funds, and TANF Reserves from 2007 to 2017. We would argue that we have responsibly maintained and used our TANF over the last 10 years as well as our reserve balances to ensure the best possible response to our TANF eligible clients, covering unfunded Child Care and Child Welfare, and supporting community level programs and resources. It is offensive and inaccurate to make State level assumptions regarding the adequacy or amount of an individual County’s TANF Reserve balance. 2007

2010

2017

Allocation BCA Community Contacts

5,874,888 1,294,452 938,747

$5,832,295 2,522,594 2,275,059

$5,155,135 $3,251,476 $808,866

TANF Rsvs Covered w TANF Rsvs (2007 – 2017) Child Care Child Welfare

3,850,787

2,704,164

$1,401,706

  1 

$1,243,188 $1,906,160

Increase (Decrease) ($719,753) $1,957,024

(12%) 151%

510 29 ½ Road P.O. Box 20000 Grand Junction, Colorado 81502-5001 Telephone (970) 241-8480

Director: Tracey Garchar

    Lack of Recognition of Local Plans/Realities regarding County TANF Reserves:  Throughout the recent discussions, and assumptions made regarding the aggregate amount of County TANF  Reserves, CDHS and Legislators have never recognized the unique approaches or thoughtful planning the  occurs at the local level.  Rather, the amount is looked upon in aggregate and inaccurate assumptions are  made that Counties are stockpiling resources and not investing in local plan implementation or broader  community strategies.  In Mesa County, in conjunction with our BOHS and Community Partners, we  prioritize the needs of our community and balance that with our fiscal reality and impending demands from  TANF, Child Care, and Child Welfare.  We have intentionally built TANF Reserves so they could be used in  future years to sustain foundational community programs, direct client payments, and lacking CDHS  program appropriations.  Our local needs and the amount and use of our TANF Reserves is a very planed  and purposeful process.  Despite a 151% increase in BCA expenditures, Mesa County has continued to  prioritize and fund community contracts which meet the purposes of TANF, focus on Employment, and help  stabilize our community.  Mesa County:  Planned SFY 17/18 Use of Reserves to cover Child Care after receiving an additional $252,000 CCCAP  Supplemental for SFY 17/18, we will still require $119,972 of our TANF Reserves to cover our CCCAP over  allocation expenditures.  State‐wide realistic uses of County TANF Reserves:  

(a) $20.9M, SFY 17/18 Child Welfare Over Allocation Expenditures for 37 Counties.  Of those 37  Counties, 15 could totally deplete their TANF Reserves of $9M on their Child Welfare Over  Expenditures and still not cover $2.6M of Child Welfare expenditures.  This amount of transfer  would also have to be reviewed for appropriateness given the statutory limitations of transfers as  provided by CRS 26‐2‐714(9)(a) and (b), which relates to the limitations on transfers to Title XX and  child welfare services   (b)$8M, proposed BCA annual increases beginning in SFY 18/19   (c) $6 to $7M, Loss of IV‐E Revenue in SFY 19/20    Potential Cumulative Depletion of County TANF Reserves:   $20.9M Depletion at SFY 17/18 close (a)   $28.9M Cumulative Depletion at SFY 18/19 close (a) + (b)   $42.9M Cumulative Depletion at SFY 19/20 close (a) + (b 18/19) + (b 19/20) + (c)  *This information is being included to add the County perspective of how quickly TANF Reserves can vanish  within current circumstances.  This reality is often lost or not understood at the policy level.  TANF Reserves  must be analyzed and understood from the County perspective, not from aggregated state wide reserve  balances.    2 

510 29 ½ Road P.O. Box 20000 Grand Junction, Colorado 81502-5001 Telephone (970) 241-8480

Director: Tracey Garchar

    Lack of Sustainable Funding Plan for Increased BCA  The current recommendation to increase BCA by 10% across Colorado equates to increased BCA  expenditures in excess of $8,000,000.  The TANF Federal Appropriation and related State Long Bill  Appropriation for TANF has not increased, nor are their plans to increase the allotment and allocation of  funds to Counties.     CRS 26-2-709(c) states that “An increase in the amount of the basic cash assistance grant approved by the state department shall not take effect unless the funding for the increase is included in the annual general appropriation act of a supplemental appropriation act.”  

  In Summary:  Mesa County understands the intent behind addressing static BCA payments.  We work  intimately with our TANF families on a daily basis.  Given the lack of adequate funding in Child Welfare, the  lack of understanding of how HB18‐1335 will be implemented, and current demands on our TANF  allocations, our TANF population will be better served with our current planful approach vs a forced and  unfunded increase in Basic Cash Assistance payments.    We urge the Colorado State Board of Human Services to not support this request at this time. 

Sincerely,

Tracey Garchar, MCDHS Executive Director



1 Mesa County – Issues and Concerns regarding ... -

During a recession, Counties rely heavily on TANF funds to cover BCA as well as community supports, Child. Care and Child Welfare. If Counties are not ...

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