These in-depth FAQs explain the connection between funding opportunities and legal aid, provide examples of how states and programs have used these funds, and helpful resources and next steps for policymakers and legal aid providers seeking to leverage their limited resources. These documents are often updated with the latest information, and our collection of FAQs will continue to grow.
Access our FAQs about legal aid and TANF (last updated May 2020)
TANF is the federal government’s primary cash assistance program for needy families. The federal government gives states block grants to design and operate programs that accomplish one of the purposes of the TANF program. Legal aid can further the TANF program’s goals of helping needy families achieve self-sufficiency and provide support for job preparation and employment alongside other social services. States partnering with legal aid can increase the odds of improving outcomes for their neediest residents.
Access our FAQs about legal aid and VOCA (last updated May 2020)
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 established the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), the nation’s primary funding source to help victims of all types of crimes. CVF is a repository of federal criminal fines, forfeitures and special assessments. It does not include tax dollars.
Among the VOCA-authorized grant programs is the state administered victim assistance formula grants. It provides funding to groups and direct services for victims including civil legal assistance.
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act establishes a state-federal partnership to provide child support services and paternity establishment. States are required to establish a child support program as a condition for receiving federal funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Funds to the states are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
In December 2016, OCSE published the Final Rule: Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization in Child Support Enforcement Programs. This final rule makes changes to strengthen the child support enforcement program and updates current practices to increase regular, on-time payments to families, to increase the number of noncustodial parents supporting their children, and to improve program operations. One of those changes clarifies that states can use Title IV-D funding for self-help services.
FJI has prepared a Questions and Answers document addressing common questions about the Children's Bureau December 2018 revision of its Child Welfare Policy Manual to allow Title IV-E state agencies to seek partial reimbursement of the costs for legal representation for eligible children and their parents.