Performance Improvement 2009. How Can We Better Assist Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program Recipients Who Have Disabilities Get and Keep Jobs?

01/01/2009

This process and implementation analysis in nine sites provided information on innovative strategies used by local Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Vocational Rehabilitation agencies to assist TANF recipients with disabilities obtain and maintain employment.

Some key ingredients to a successful partnership were small caseload sizes, highly-trained staff, and formal interagency agreements and performance standards. On creating work opportunities, the research team found that work opportunities came in several forms - unpaid work experience, subsidized employment, and unsubsidized transitional employment. They shared several common features, including specialized and comprehensive assessments, support for specialized treatment, intensive personal and employment support, and flexible and progressive paths to employment, with small caseloads and highly trained staff critical to the success of these programs. The research team found that regardless of structure, work programs targeted to TANF recipients living with a disability shared several common features, including specialized and comprehensive assessments, support for specialized treatment, intensive personal and employment support, and flexible and progressive paths to employment. Program administrators believed that small caseloads and highly trained staff were critical to the success of these programs. While there was no evidence to suggest that one approach to assessment is better than another, an important lesson learned from these initiatives is that assessments serve different purposes and an assessment approach should be chosen to fit the purpose for which it is intended. The research team examined the background and policy context of TANF recipients with disabilities and reviewed of initiatives and promising practices.

Report Title: Identifying Promising Practices for Helping TANF Recipients with Disabilities Enter and Sustain Employment, 2006-2008 http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/welfare_employ/identify_promise_prac/index.html
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Tim Baker, 202-260-6165
Performer: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
PIC ID: 8925

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