Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Local Answers to Difficult Questions. A Roadmap to the Report


The issues identified in Ten Important Questions guided the case studies and frame the presentation of case study findings. To remain focused on the questions of interest, the discussion of study sites’ strategies are presented in a topical format, rather than by individual site. However, the strategies discussed throughout must be considered within each site’s local context including each locality’s TANF policies, staffing structures, and partners, that influence how identification strategies were formulated and carried out in practice. Therefore, before moving to a more in-depth discussion of identification strategies, we first present (in Chapter Two) profiles of the localities. Further, it should be noted that the discussion of strategies presented within is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of all services provided by the localities’ TANF programs. For example, the report may not discuss key features of the TANF programs operated by the study sites if they do not directly relate to a barrier identification issue or challenge.

Chapter Three provides a discussion of the types of identification strategies used by study sites. This chapter includes a review of formal strategies, that involve the use of structured tools or instruments, as well as informal strategies, that rely heavily on discussion and disclosure.

Chapter Four emphasizes the on-going nature of barrier identification by highlighting the variety of opportunities to identify unobserved barriers that occur throughout a client’s TANF experience. It also offers a discussion of barrier identification in the context of a Work First philosophy.

Staff roles and responsibilities, including the roles of TANF case managers and more specialized staff in the study sites, are discussed in Chapter Five. This chapter also addresses the challenges related to sharing information among the variety of staff involved in barrier identification efforts.

In Chapter Six, we offer an overview of key partnerships formed in the study sites and the roles partners play in barrier identification, service provision, and education of TANF staff regarding unobserved barriers to employment. Chapter Six also highlights efforts employed to create successful partnerships (Appendix B offers a more detailed description of the services provided by selected partners). Finally, we conclude in Chapter Seven with a summary discussion of key observations from the case studies and a look to the future.

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