Virginia's Landmark Welfare Reform Initiative became a reality in 1995. The principles in which it is based upon are personal responsibility, time-limited assistance, and work for the receipt of benefits. For many Virginians, the transition from welfare to work has been successful because of Virginia Independence Program (VIP) and its work component, Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW).
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the cash assistance component which helps families work toward their goal of total independence. The work component of VIP requires recipients of TANF to work in exchange for their public temporary assistance check.
The Virginia Department of Social Services is responsible for the management and implementation of these programs and initiatives, as well as eight other public assistance programs including food stamps and Medicaid. These programs are administered by 121 local social services agencies that serve the citizens throughout Virginia.