Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. Montgomery County, Kansas


Kansas has a history of using screening tools to assess the needs, experiences, and
interests of its welfare recipients.

Kansas has a history of using screening tools to assess the needs, experiences, and interests of its welfare recipients. Several years into its welfare reform effort, Kansas changed its work exemption policy. As of April 1999, having a disability no longer warrants an exemption from participation in the Kansas Works program. To effectively implement this policy and serve these formerly exempt clients, Kansas developed an Assessment Guide for case mangers to assess the goals, strengths, and barriers of TANF recipients. Case managers have also been provided with a protocol to use to determine if additional assessment or testing is needed based on the information collected through the completion of the Assessment Guide. Additionally, Kansas has long been recognized for its involvement in efforts to develop an instrument to screen for learning disabilities among TANF clients, the Adult Learning Disability Screen.

The Kansas Works Program is operated by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) through the Economic and Employment Service Division. Montgomery County is unique in that it has two SRS offices, one in Coffeyville and one in Independence, whereas other counties in Kansas typically have one SRS office. In Montgomery County, eligibility and case management functions are both carried out by a case manager. Clients with unobserved barriers to employment in Montgomery County may be referred to a number of community partners. The primary partners in this site include, Safe House (the local domestic violence shelter), the Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment Center (RADAC) which provides on-site substance abuse assessments, and Four County Mental Health Center. Four County Mental Health provides mental health counseling, job readiness services, and operates the pilot program, Extra Effort. Extra Effort is designed to identify TANF clients who are at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare system. These clients often face unobserved barriers to employment, and once identified, are provided intensive services. Two partners are involved in addressing learning disabilities in Montgomery County, SRS’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Pittsburg State University.

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