Providing Mental Health Services to TANF Recipients: Program Design Choices and Implementation Challenges in Four States. Designing a Mental Health Service System for TANF Recipients


Each of the study states has a distinctive approach to addressing the mental health needs of welfare recipients. In Oregon and Utah, mental health services were implemented in the early 1990s, before welfare reform, as a part of a range of services to address barriers to employment faced by welfare recipients. Since the passage of welfare reform, Florida and Tennessee have developed statewide systems for addressing the mental health needs of TANF recipients. More specifically, all four states vary with respect to the decisions they have made regarding four key program elements: (1) the types of services provided, (2) the population targeted for services, (3) the range of personal and family challenges addressed, and (4) strategies for identifying clients in need of assistance. In this chapter, we explore these decisions states have made in each of these areas.

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