Each of the study sites has undertaken a proactive approach to identifying unobserved barriers to employment. Strategies include a mix of different identification methods, including informal and formal screenings or assessments, a mix of staff involved in barrier identification, and a variety of partners to assist with identification and service provision. Although many of these features are discussed in the remaining chapters of the report, this section provides a brief overview of the identification approaches undertaken by each site that led to their inclusion in the study.
TANF clients encounter many different staff persons as they progress through the TANF system. Staff may include TANF eligibility workers and case managers, specialists such as social workers, and staff of partner agencies. 11 The site profiles below provide an overview of the key staff involved in the process of identifying barriers to employment. The roles and responsibilities of these staff will be discussed in greater detail in later chapters (see Table 2).
TANF agencies can benefit from the expertise and services offered by a wide range of partners in their efforts to identify and address unobserved barriers to employment. Each of the study sites utilizes a wide range of government and community-based partners to assist in their barrier identification approaches. These partner organizations, such as local community mental health centers and domestic violence shelters, will be referenced and discussed repeatedly throughout the report. The profiles below provide a brief overview of the key partner organizations in each site (see Table 3).
11 TANF case managers are also called employment case managers and employment and training specialists. For ease of discussion, TANF staff responsible for employability and service planning will be generally referred to as case managers.
Table 2: Key TANF Agency Staff Involved in Identifying Unobserved Barriers by Site
a The staffing structure of employment service providers varies from provider to provider. There are more than 30 employment service providers in Minneapolis.
b Targeted Assessment Project (TAP) assessors are co-located in the TANF office but are employed by the University of Kentucky, Institute on Women and Substance Abuse.
c TANF clients may also be referred to a social worker in the Crisis Assistance Bureau. These social workers assist clients with emergency situations such as rent, utilities, and homeless services/shelters.
Table 3: Selected Key Partners by Site
a Within the Department of Community Based Services the Division of Family Support provides TANF cash assistance and employment services, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. The Division of Protection and Permanency provides child welfare services.
b At the state level, MFIP is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Employment services are provided through a joint effort of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Economic Security.
c The Harriet Tubman Center is one of a number of domestic violence service providers in Hennepin County.
d Outside of Las Vegas, mental health services are provided according to an agreement with DHR/NSWD/Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services.
e Safe House is one of a number of domestic violence service providers in Las Vegas.
f Arlington is unique in Virginia in that the TANF program is operated by the Department of Human Services which also provides mental health, substance abuse, and vocational rehabilitation services. At the state level, TANF is administered by the Department of Social Services. Mental health, substance abuse, and other services are provided by different state level agencies.
g Operates the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Managed by Department of Rehabilitation Services at the state level.