A Study of Work Participation and Full Engagement Strategies. Montgomery County, Ohio A Focus on Service Integration

09/01/2004

The TANF program in Montgomery County, Ohio, places a strong emphasis on employment. It has adopted a 40-hour per week participation requirement to resemble the hours of a full-time employed person and exempts from participation only those recipients with a child under age one. However, nonexempt recipients may participate in a broad range of activities to meet their requirement, as long as nonfederal activities are combined with federally countable activities. For example, recipients may take part in substance abuse treatment, mental health services, or specialized employment and training as long as they devote some portion of the 40 hours to job search, a work experience placement, or job skills training. In making this choice, they are guided by program staff, who design employment plans not only with respect to the recipient's abilities and interests but also with her family's interests in mind.

To expand the availability and accessibility of services to help TANF recipients meet the work requirement, the county has forged partnerships with community social service agencies. For instance, the TANF program is located within the county's Job Center, which is recognized nationwide as one of the largest and most comprehensive one-stop centers for TANF recipients and other job seekers. The approximately 50 agencies co-located in this expansive facility share resources, refer clients to one another, and collaborate on case planning. In addition, the county hosts the Targeted Community-Based Collaborative, which brings together over 60 agencies every month to share information about community resources and develop ways to improve access to services.

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