Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. Additional Worker Appointments


TANF clients meet with their various workers periodically following initial eligibility determination—whether it be for eligibility redetermination or service planning. In Montgomery County, KS, Arlington, VA, and Las Vegas, NV, clients have a meeting with their case workers following orientation that serves as a primary opportunity to identify barriers. In Montgomery County, KS, clients meet with their worker for an initial assessment appointment following orientation. It is at this appointment that the worker reviews the results of structured assessments which were the primary purpose of the orientation. This is the second meeting with the case manager in this site and staff use assessment information from the orientation to build on what was learned at the intake/eligibility appointment and work with clients to develop a service plan.

It is also at this point that workers in Montgomery County, KS screen clients to determine whether they are at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare system and could be better served by the Extra Effort pilot program. If, at this appointment, the worker determines that assessment results indicate the likelihood of a substance abuse problem, the client would be referred for additional assessment. Similarly, if the client discloses a domestic violence situation, she would be referred to the local domestic violence shelter.

In Arlington, VA, clients meet with their employment case manager following orientation. At this first meeting with the case manager (like in Las Vegas, earlier meetings were with the eligibility worker), the case manager reviews the forms completed at orientation and completes additional screening tools including substance abuse, domestic violence, and learning disability screening instruments. At this meeting, the case manager also works with the client to develop an employability plan. If the client indicates the existence of a substance abuse or mental health problem during this meeting, she would be referred to the on-site substance abuse/mental health therapist. If a learning disability was suspected, the client would be referred to the joint Department of Rehabilitation Services/SOC Enterprises program to obtain additional assessment, rehabilitative services, and/or accommodations.

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