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Auditor's Report Details Challenges Faced By Oregon Welfare Program

A newly released audit of Oregon’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program concludes little to no progress is being made on the goal of moving beneficiaries toward self-sufficiency. 

The program is run by the State Department of Human Services and provides cash payments of about $500 a month to roughly 35,000 low-income families.  Participants are supposed to demonstrate that they’re looking for work or taking part in training. 

But, according to auditors, Oregon ranked lowest in the nation for participation in work or work related activities.

At the same, auditors say case managers have little time to help their clients meet those expectations.

Most managers saw their caseloads double with the recession.  And paying for all those new cases meant making drastic cuts to services designed to help parents get off the program.

In an official response, DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel said while the agency can act on some of the auditor’s recommendations, others will require action from the Legislature. Kelley-Siel adds that the best answer to the program’s challenges is a continued economic recovery.

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