The Governor’s Welfare Employment Committee announced the winners of its 2018 TANF Employment Awards of Excellence the week of April 26 as it recognized 33 employers in Delaware who hire, train and maintain positive working relationships with employees who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits; and 33 TANF clients who have succeeded in the workplace despite the challenges they have faced.

Nominations for the awards were submitted by individuals and organizations from communities across the state, and winners were selected by members of the Governor’s Welfare Employment Committee. One award is presented to an employer and an employee from each county, as well as one statewide winner from the employer and employee categories.

“People want jobs,” first lady Tracey Quillen Carney told the 150 people gathered April 25 for the event at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. “And the second thing is people want to be good parents.” She thanked employers for giving their new employees a chance to succeed.

The number of TANF cases, in which eligible parents receive a time-limited monthly grant, continues to decline in Delaware and across the country. In fiscal 2017, there were 4,884 cases in the state, representing almost 2,000 adults and a little more than 8,000 children. The average grant was $269 a month. To get a monthly TANF benefit, most clients must work or participate in work-related activities for 20 to 40 hours per week, depending on the number of parents in the household and the age of their children.

The employee winners of the 2018 TANF Employment Awards of Excellence are Letitia Bessicks, Sussex County; Marita Garcia, Kent County; Tanya Bayard, New Castle County; and Leona Delli, statewide.

The employer winners of the 2018 TANF Employment Awards of Excellence are AutoZone, Sussex County; Fairfield Inn, Kent County; Goodwill Industries, New Castle County; and United Parcel Service statewide.

In addition to the first lady and Secretaries Walker and Cade, attendees heard personal success stories from Nancy Tellado, a former TANF client who now works as a management analyst for DHSS’ Division of Social Services near New Castle; and Lindsey DiCarolis, who works as a senior social worker for the Division of Social Services at the Adams State Service Center in Georgetown. The Twin Poets, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Al Mills who are the poets laureate of Delaware, performed a series of poems, including “America Needs You.”

A total of 33 employees were nominated:

— Sussex County: Leona Delli, Letitia Bessicks, Theresa Chacon, Shane Sellers, Candace James-Waples and Heather Weist.

— Kent County: Victoria I. Boyd, Latisha Smith, Katie Duncan, Marita Garcia, Deja Givens, Shandora Lyles, Katrina West and Phylicia Young.

— New Castle County: Alicia Wilson, Tony Martinez, Chalese Smith, Darnice Howard, Samantha Plymale, Naomi Frye, Tanya Bayard, John Smith Ashura, Al-Tyreek Adams-Beach, Rosa Cortez, Leakita Millner, Amber Ross, Roxanne Spencer, Jennifer Treen, Odessa Goins, Adriana Hughes, Tanya Sharper, Erica Rivera and Jaelynn Craighead.

A total of 33 employers were nominated:

— Sussex County: Addus Health Care, Burger King, Mountaire Farms, IHOP, Premier Staffing Solutions, The Curiosity Shop, AutoZone, Royal Farms, Perdue, QSI and Laurel Senior Center.

— Kent County: Addus Health Care, Boys and Girls Club, Shore Stop, Americare Home Solutions, Fairfield Inn and Wawa, Inc.,

— New Castle County: AAA Mid-Atlantic, UPS, Performance Staffing Solutions, Securitas Security Services, DePaul Industries, Gabriel Brothers, Inc., Always Best Care, Dust Away Cleaning, Courtyard by Marriott, Goodwill Industries, Little Hearts Childcare, Staffmark Temp to Permanent Staffing, Joe’s Crab Shack, Wawa, Inc., Integrity Staffing Solutions and Little Friends Learning Academy.

For more, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dss/tanf.html.