Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. Kent, Washington


Washington has invested in a structured, computerized, multi-barrier assessment instrument to uncover barriers to employment. The Virtual Interactive Employability Worksheet (VIEW) is used with all TANF clients and addresses a range of barriers to employment such as, mental health and substance abuse problems, domestic violence situations, and learning disabilities. If case managers (who are responsible for financial eligibility and service planning) determine that a client has a barrier to employment based on a response to the VIEW questions or other information obtained by the case manager, she may be referred to a social worker.

Social workers are employed by the Department of Social and Health Services (the TANF agency) and are located in local welfare offices. Social workers may subsequently refer clients to a wide range of partners. In the Kent office, many of these partners are co-located. For example, the Economic Security Department provides fast track job search and other job readiness services. Also co-located are a public health nurse, an independent psychologist, and an assessor from the state substance abuse agency. Washington also provides a number of services through contractual or other partnership arrangements. One such service is called Intensive In-Home Services. These services are provided under contract (one local provider in Kent is Rainier Case Management) and are intended to serve clients who are sanctioned or about to be sanctioned due to non-compliance with TANF work requirements. Other partners include Northwest Counseling, the Domestic Violence Women’s Network (DAWN), the YWCA (a domestic violence service provider), and the Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council’s Learning Disability Project.

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