Role of Intermediaries in Linking TANF Recipients with Jobs: Final Report. State and Local TANF Administrative Structures

02/10/2000

Intermediaries are operating not only within a changing policy environment but also within a changing administrative environment. The shift to a work-oriented assistance system has caused some states and localities to reconsider how to best align TANF employment programs with other employment services for the disadvantaged. As a result, the administrative structures for operating TANF employment programs are more varied and complex than the administrative structures that were in place prior to the implementation of welfare reform. While some systems continue to be administered by the welfare system, others are now administered by the workforce development system or by a newly created administrative entity. Since the implementation of welfare reform, over half of the study states substantially altered the administrative structure in their local areas (see Table I.3.).

Table I.3
Administrative Structures and Characteristics of Study States
State State or County Administered State Administrative Oversight of Employment Services for TANF Recipients Changes in Administrative Oversight as a Result of Welfare Reform
Arizona State Combined welfare and employment services system (with separate administrative divisions) None
Arkansas State Transitional Employment Board (TEB) New structure  state TEB and local Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) coalitions
California County Welfare system San Diego divided the county into 6 service delivery regions
Connecticut State Workforce development system Responsibility for service delivery shifted from the welfare to workforce system
Florida State Work and Gain Economic Self­sufficiency (WAGES) board New structure  state WAGES board and local WAGES coalitions
Minnesota County Welfare system Olmsted County shifted responsibility for service delivery from workforce to welfare system
Nebraska State Welfare system None
Ohio County Welfare system None
Texas State Workforce development system Responsibility for service delivery shifted from the welfare to workforce system
Virginia State Welfare system None

If we take these changes into account, the intermediaries in the 10 study states operate under one of four administrative structures.

  1. Welfare Office as Sole TANF Administrative Entity.  Under this administrative arrangement, the welfare office has responsibility for determining eligibility for cash assistance and managing all work or work-related activities. The advantage of this arrangement from the perspective of intermediaries is that the welfare office can control the flow of its clients to the intermediary. The disadvantage is that TANF employment services are not fully integrated with other employment and training programs, possibly making it more difficult for TANF intermediaries to access these services for their clients. In the current labor market, this structure may also foster competition for clients between the TANF and workforce development systems. Intermediaries in five of the 10 study states operate under this structure.
  2. Administrative Responsibility Shared by the Welfare Office and Workforce Development System.  Under this administrative structure, the welfare office determines eligibility for cash assistance, and the workforce development system develops and manages all employment and training activities. The advantage of this administrative structure is that it integrates employment and training activities for TANF recipients with all other employment and training activities, making it easier to create a streamlined system. The disadvantage is that coordinating client referrals, welfare policies, funding, and data systems can be a daunting task. Intermediaries in two of the study states operate under this structure.
  3. Administrative Responsibility Shared by the Welfare Office and a Newly Created Community-based Administrative Entity.  The advantage to this administrative structure is that it engages the broader local community in welfare reform planning and decision-making. The disadvantage is that it often takes time to put a new organizational structure into place and to gain consensus among a broad range of community partners about what services should be provided and how they should be provided. An additional disadvantage is that the new administrative entity often must forge working relationships with both the welfare and the workforce development systems. Intermediaries in two of the study states operate under this administrative structure.
  4. Combined Welfare and Workforce Development System.  Under this administrative structure, responsibility for determining eligibility for cash assistance and the management of all employment and training activities (including those outside of the TANF system) are housed within one agency. The advantage of this administrative structure is that is eliminates the historical separation between services for welfare recipients and all other low income populations and the complete separation of eligibility for cash assistance from the provision of employment-related services. Only one of the study states, Arizona, operates using this administrative structure.

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