Providing Mental Health Services to TANF Recipients: Program Design Choices and Implementation Challenges in Four States. Initial Identification of Programs Designed to Address the Mental Health Needs of Welfare Recipients


To begin this study, we gathered information on a broad range of programs and agencies that provide mental health services to welfare recipients or other low-income populations. To identify these programs, we reviewed several recently published reports on programs for the hard-to-employ, searched the Internet for such programs, and consulted with other researchers and program administrators who we knew were knowledgeable about and/or were providing mental health services to welfare recipients. In addition, the National Governor's Association sent an announcement to key state contacts notifying them that we were looking for programs designed to address the mental health needs of welfare recipients. From these sources combined, we identified 23 programs that were providing mental health services to welfare recipients and other low-income families; 16 of these programs were operating state- or countywide.(4)

After we developed a list of programs, we held brief telephone conversations with each of the program administrators providing mental health services at the state or local level. Calls typically lasted 30 minutes and covered a range of topics, including client characteristics, program staffing, number of clients served, types of services provided, ways clients are informed about services, length of time the state or community had been offering services, and general experience in delivering these types of services.

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