Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. Rainier Case Management – Intensive In-home Services


Rainier Case Management has a long history of working with injured workers and has worked with TANF clients in Kent, WA providing job retention services. In August 2000, Rainier began providing Intensive In-Home Services for clients who are sanctioned or about to be sanctioned for not fulfilling their TANF obligations. The purpose of Intensive In-Home Services is to identify barriers that are preventing participation and to facilitate the reconnection to services. Staff work with relatively small caseloads of 30-35 clients for a short period of time, usually not longer than three months.

Clients referred to Rainier’s Intensive In-Home Services are first contacted either by telephone, letter, or home visit. Once contact is made, an initial interview is conducted wherever the client desires (including at her home, at the welfare office, or another location) and covers a variety of topics including substance abuse and mental health problems and domestic violence. During this interview staff observe behaviors that might indicate a problem (e.g., noting if clients seem fidgety, clients who don’t read forms that are handed to them) and, if the interview is conducted in the home, review the environment for evidence of a barriers (i.e., to see if there is drug paraphernalia around the house). During this interview, staff are not trying to diagnose problems but to obtain enough of an indication of the existence of a barrier to help connect the client to services. For example, if staff of Rainier Case Management suspect a mental health problem, they would make a referral to a mental health professional for a diagnosis.

Staff noted that building a trusting relationship is an essential part of the Intensive In-Home Services. Clients who come to understand that Rainier staff are dedicated to helping them are reportedly more likely to open up, disclose barriers, and consider steps required to come back into compliance. Once a relationship is established, staff begin to work with the client to develop a service plan. The plan is intended to include what the TANF case manager indicates needs to be done to fulfill TANF requirements, as well as incorporate additional services to address previously unidentified barriers. The goal is to bring the client back into compliance without them feeling like they are forced to something they do not want to do.

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