Providing Mental Health Services to TANF Recipients: Program Design Choices and Implementation Challenges in Four States. Program Staff


The types of staff who provide mental health services are directly related to the types of mental health services provided to welfare recipients. The study states differ not only in the types of staff who provide mental health services but also in the roles and responsibilities of staff with similar job titles. For example, mental health counselors in Oregon primarily assess clients and link them to mental health treatment, whereas mental health counselors in Tennessee assess clients and provide short-term mental health treatment. Staff roles and responsibilities may also vary by local office within the same program. In addition, state regulations sometimes dictate the type of staff who can be hired. For example, only licensed clinical social workers can deliver certain mental health services, such as clinical assessments and mental health treatment. Based on the programs in this study, we have identified four types of staff who provide mental health services: outreach workers, mental health counselors/specialists, interns in a master's of social work (M.S.W.) program, and intensive case managers. Some of their responsibilities and the services they provide are described below.

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