Screening and Assessment in TANF\Welfare-to-Work: Ten Important Questions TANF Agencies and Their Partners Should Consider. Question One: Barriers, Screening, and Assessment: How are we using these terms?


Examining issues associated with identifying barriers to employment among TANF recipients is complex in part because there is little common use of terms. Fundamental confusion over the use of terms makes discussing barriers, identifying and designing identification approaches, and delivering services difficult. Clarifying how TANF and other systems define barriers and what is meant by screening and assessment are important first steps in developing effective strategies and partnerships. Given this lack of uniform definitions and terms, this section describes and clarifies our use of the terms "unobserved barriers," "screening," and "assessment" for the purposes of this report. This report does not try to impose standard definitions of these terms or reconcile varying definitions used by others. In discussing barriers it is important to recognize that not every health condition, disability, or personal circumstance presents a barrier to employment and that further, TANF agencies' primary concern lies only with those conditions, disabilities or circumstances that inhibit or prohibit the effect transition from welfare to work and self-sufficiency.

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