For a state not currently screening and assessing TANF clients for barriers to work, developing its own tool is a considerable undertaking. States will have to estimate the additional resources that will be required to design, develop, and validate a tool that might not be required if a state uses a professionally developed tool or relies substantially on input from partners or other states. Using a professionally developed tool likely requires fewer resources than developing a new tool from scratch. That said, although the staff and coordination resources will certainly be fewer, some standard tools are copyrighted and must be purchased or require investments in training and scoring materials as well as the tools themselves.72
TANF and partner agency staff training requirements (discussed in Question Eight) will vary depending on the tool selected and may not differ significantly from the training costs associated with a state-developed tool. Nonetheless, resources associated with training efforts can be considerable and should be a part of the decision process. Additionally, some standard tools are designed to be administered or scored by a professional with clinical training. In this case, the TANF agency may need to invest significantly in the upgrading of staff skill levels or purchase this expertise through contracts or other means, if adopting this approach.
72 Where this information is available, we have incorporated it into the tool profiles in Appendix A.