All programs supported by ACF, including TANF, have an important role in helping families who have become victims of sexual harassment or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. These terms are often included under the definitions of domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). ACF’s Office of Family Violence Prevention Services (OFVPS) administers the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), which is the primary federal funding stream dedicated to supporting emergency shelters and related assistance for survivors of domestic violence and their children. As referenced in TANF-ACF-IM-2014-03, there is an abundance of information about domestic violence training, resources, and potential opportunities for collaboration.
Investment in meaningful training partnerships is critical to helping human services staff provide support to victims of sexual harassment or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and to their children when accessing TANF programs. Existing community resources provide options for training by professional domestic violence advocates on both the dynamics of domestic violence and appropriate interviewing techniques to encourage disclosure and safe access to services, such as safety planning and establishing good cause. We encourage TANF agencies to contact domestic violence coalitions or domestic violence shelter programs to provide required training to staff, as briefly outlined in TANF-ACF-PI-2022-02 published on April 14, 2022.
Incorporating trauma-informed care and support in state agency policies and practices will help to address and lessen the many barriers experienced by families impacted by sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Additionally, mutually beneficial training partnerships can help local domestic violence advocates and service providers better understand and make appropriate referrals to programs such as TANF, Head Start, Child Support, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
TANF programs should make every effort to assist families and children who are experiencing sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking by sharing national, state, and local hotline information or numbers for local domestic violence intervention programs, either directly or by posting in public spaces that are frequented by staff and families.
States are encouraged to share the below OFVPS resources with TANF agency staff.
Contact information for the ACF Office of Family Violence and Prevention Services (OFVPS):
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Please direct TANF policy inquiries to the TANF Regional Program Manager in your region.
Collective action is needed to ensure appropriate responses and support for all families struggling with sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It is important for all ACF programs, including TANF, to partner with individuals, families, and communities to successfully support affected children and families.