Cultural Infusiosn in Tribal TANF Programs of California

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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the inclusion of cultural components in Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dissemination from the perception of program leadership. Observing the Tribal TANF (TTANF) program models inclusion of culture may be beneficial to the study of public administration in providing a new lens for understanding how to help vulnerable populations. Theoretical Framework. The theoretical framework of this study was based on the research foundations of cultural infusion and representative bureaucracy as seen through the lens of John Kingdon’s policy stream model. Methodology. The ethnography participant observation qualitative methodology was used for this dissertation. The subjects encompass Tribal TANF program directors from Tribal TANF programs located in California who have agreed to engage in telephone and in-person interviews. Findings. Of the 16 possible Tribal TANF programs in California, six Tribal TANF program (TTP) directors chose to participate. The analysis of findings provides a description of how the cultural awareness of TTP directors impacts program practices and services provided to families on their journey of reaching self-sufficiency. Conclusion and Recommendations. This study provides understanding of how TTP directors have been able to infuse culture into program services. Recommendations for further study include (a) to explore specific Native American (NA) TTP participant outcomes of self-sufficiency through a phenomenological or case study source of methodology, (b) to investigate the success of TTP participants in comparison to state TANF participants, and (c) to examine TTP policy in comparison to state TANF program policy.
Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Social Services, TTANF, Public Policy