Providing Mental Health Services to TANF Recipients: Program Design Choices and Implementation Challenges in Four States. Creating an Infrastructure to Provide Mental Health Services


A key challenge faced by program administrators is to create an administrative infrastructure through which appropriate mental health services are cost-effectively delivered to those in need. Such an infrastructure must draw on the strengths of the mental health resources in the local community and successfully integrate mental health services with employment services for welfare recipients. However, because TANF program administrators are not experts in the design and delivery of mental health services, it is usually necessary for them to rely on other agencies, organizations, or specialized staff for these functions. Cross-agency coordination is therefore critical to program success. In this section, we examine the key decisions made by the study states in their efforts to create a service delivery structure to address the mental health needs of TANF recipients. These decisions fall into four areas: (1) developing an administrative structure for the program, (2) defining staffing needs, (3) determining where services will be provided, and (4) allocating program funds.

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