Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. Information Sharing

12/01/2001

The coordination and sharing of information among the variety of staff and partners involved in identifying and addressing unobserved barriers to employment is a complicated challenge and requires a significant investment in communication and collaboration at multiple levels. In this section, we discuss the efforts to facilitate communication between individual workers involved in the barrier identification process undertaken by the study sites.

Communication among the various individuals involved in barrier identification in the study sites takes several forms. In all sites, staff engage in informal discussions with peers and supervisors on a regular basis. In Montgomery County, KS, TANF case managers served as a clearinghouse of information. They used information from partners to update clients’ service plans and make additional referrals. However, specialized staff of partner agencies did not appear to communicate with each other directly. TANF case managers in the other sites served a similar function.

In addition to centralized communication through case managers, in three of the sites (Kent, WA, Owensboro, KY, and Las Vegas, NV), case managers and other staff convened meetings, sometimes called staffings, to discuss clients’ progress, or lack thereof. In two sites (Minneapolis, MN and Arlington, VA), TANF agency staff or staff of a partner organization communicated more frequently, operating as a team that regularly shared information in an effort to jointly assist TANF clients. The use of staffings and communication among teams of staff are both discussed below.

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