378 Million Dollars Idle. The hosts for this show are Jay Fidell and Tom Yamachika.
About a year ago, we tried to shine the spotlight on a federal program for families and children called TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. That program provides assistance for struggling families and children – but not directly. The federal government does not write checks to recipients directly. Rather, it provides block grants to the states, who then set up their own programs following federal guidelines and tend to their own. .
Hawai’i, Tennessee, and Maine were called out by the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica in 2022 for letting TANF money gather dust in some dark corner instead of putting it to use helping families and children. According to 2021 TANF financial data, which wasn’t available at the time of our previous article, not a lot changed. The amount of ‘unobligated balance’ of the federal block grants for Hawai’i, which was $364 million at the end of the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, crept upward to $378 million at the end of fiscal 2021.