The devolution of responsibility from the federal government to the states for developing and implementing assistance policies for needy families has spawned a broad range of approaches to transforming the welfare system into a work-based assistance system. To capture the way intermediaries function in these diverse policy environments, we purposefully selected sites that would provide us with broad regional representation; a mix of large, medium, and small TANF caseloads; different approaches to moving welfare recipients into employment; and a diversity of administrative and service delivery structures. Using these criteria as our guide, we initially selected ten states to include in the study. Once we selected the ten states, we then selected two communities, one urban and one rural, in which to conduct our analysis.(1)
Except for a few of the rural communities, sites were not chosen based on their use of intermediaries. Once we selected the sites, we collected information on intermediaries in the geographic region covered by the administrative entity responsible for TANF employment programs. Especially in the urban areas, this often included the entire county or metropolitan area in which the city of interest was located.
To the extent possible, we include inter mediaries funde d with TANF and Welfare-to-Work (WtW) dollars from each of the sites in this study. TANF employment programs generally are targeted to the entire TANF caseload while WtW programs are targeted more narrowly to hard-to-employ TANF recipients. TANF employment programs usually are administered by the welfare department, although a state or local community can choose to transfer this responsibility to another organization, such as the Department of Labor or a local Workfoce Development Board. The WtW program is administered through the Department of Labor at the federal level and through the workforce development system at the state and local level. In the study sites, both programs were administered by the workforce development system in four sites; in the remaining sites, TANF employment programs were administered by the welfare department and WtW by the workforce development system.