Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. Las Vegas, Nevada

12/01/2001

Managers in Nevada realized that some welfare clients have multiple and complicated barriers to employment that require different strategies than those that had been the focus of early welfare reform efforts.

Nevada got an early start on welfare reform by implementing its welfare employment program, New Employees of Nevada, in July of 1995, 18 months before federal welfare reform began. This early start led managers in the Department of Human Resources, Nevada State Welfare Division to realize that some welfare clients have multiple and complicated barriers to employment that require different strategies than those that had been the focus of early welfare reform efforts. In the mid-1990s, TANF managers requested that the state legislature fund social worker positions to assist in serving clients with barriers to employment. Social workers provide an additional resource to clients who also work with an eligibility worker and a case manager.

In addition to this new staffing strategy, the Nevada State Welfare Division has developed partnerships with several state agencies and local service providers in an effort to enhance and provide services to recipients with unobserved barriers to employment. Many of these partnerships are based on formal agreements between state agencies that clarify the expectations and responsibilities of each organization. For example, the TANF agency has formal partnerships with the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services and contracts with Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse contractors for substance abuse treatment. Furthermore, the TANF agency partners with the Vocational Assessment Center and the Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Division for vocational assessment and rehabilitation services, as well as domestic violence service providers.

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