108A-27.12. Maintenance of effort.

(a) The Department shall define in the State Plan the services that can be provided with TANF federal funds and with State and county maintenance of effort funds. The Department shall work with counties to allow flexibility in the spending of county, State, and federal funds so as to maximize the use of resources while assuring that federal maintenance of effort requirements are met.

(b) Counties that fail to meet maintenance of effort requirements and that fail to meet the performance indicators for reducing maintenance of effort shall submit a corrective action plan to the Department and shall be subject to G.S. 108A-27.14. The Department may reduce block grant allocations to counties that fail to meet maintenance of effort requirements and performance indicators or may use some of the county's block grant allocation to secure needed services for clients in that county. If a county fails to comply with maintenance of effort requirements, the Director of the Budget may also withhold State funds appropriated to the county pursuant to G.S. 108A-93.

(c) The Department shall maintain the State's maintenance of effort at one hundred percent (100%) of the State certified budget enacted by the General Assembly for programs under this Part during fiscal year 1996-97. At no time shall the Department reduce or reallocate State funds previously obligated or appropriated for Work First or child welfare services.

(d) Each standard county shall maintain funding in Work First, child welfare, and related activities as defined by the Department at one hundred percent (100%) of the county funds budgeted in State Fiscal Year 1996-97 for AFDC Administration, JOBS employment and training, and AFDC Emergency Assistance (cash and services). A county may request to reduce its block grant and maintenance of effort if that county can demonstrate that it is meeting all the needs of its clients, as defined by the Department's performance indicators, without spending all of the block grant funds. The needs of clients include child protection, employment services, and related supportive services such as child care. The Department may reallocate any State or federal funds released from a county that reduced its maintenance of effort or from counties not spending their block grants. Funds reallocated to counties will require county match.

(e) During the first year a county operates as an Electing County, the county's maintenance of effort shall be no less than ninety percent (90%) of the amount the county budgeted for programs under this Part during fiscal year 1996-97. If during the first year of operation as Electing the Electing County achieves one hundred percent (100%) of its goals as set forth in its Electing County Plan, then the Electing County may reduce its maintenance of effort to eighty percent (80%) of the amount the county budgeted for programs under this Part during fiscal year 1996-97 for the second year of the Electing County's operation and for all years thereafter that the county maintains Electing Status.

(f) The Department may realign funds if the realignment will assure that maintenance of effort requirements are met while maximizing federal revenues.

(g) The Department of Health and Human Services shall report quarterly on the extent to which the State and counties are meeting federal maintenance of effort requirements under Temporary Assistance of Needy Families and on any realignment of funds. The Department and the counties shall work together to maximize full achievement of the State and county maintenance of effort. The Department shall make its report to members of the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Human Resources, and the Joint Legislative Public Assistance Committee, and to the Fiscal Research Division. (1997-443, s. 12.6; 1998-212, s. 12.27A(j); 1999-359, s. 4(a), (c).)