Understanding the AFDC/TANF Child-Only Caseload: Policies, Composition, and Characteristics in Three States. Organizational and Staffing Structure

02/01/2000

In Alameda County, the Welfare to Work Department operates the county's TANF program, which is called California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs). Unlike Florida and Missouri, CalWORKs is county administered, with each county given some autonomy in administering the program, under the state's supervision, and sharing in the costs of program operations. In Duval County, the First Coast Workforce Development Board and the Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency (WAGES) Coalition administers the TANF program and contracts out to Lockheed Martin IMS as the service provider for the work activities and participant support services required under the WAGES program. The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the responsible entity for all eligibility functions of the program. In Jackson County, the Missouri Department of Social Services Division of Family Services operates the state's income maintenance and self-sufficiency programs, referred to as Temporary Assistance. The Division of Family Services also has a separate program, FUTURES, which provides education, skill training and employment assistance to individuals receiving AFDC.

In each of the counties, staff responsible for eligibility functions are separate from staff responsible for assigning work activities and monitoring participation. Differences exist in how the caseloads are assigned to the eligibility workers:

  • Alameda has a unique organizational structure designed to provide more timely and accurate case management services. Eligibility workers are not assigned caseloads; rather they see clients as they arrive with an appointment to one of the four self-sufficiency centers. The county utilizes an on-line case management system, which allows an eligibility worker to retrieve electronically all necessary information to conduct the transaction, while all case files are housed in the Alameda Benefit Center and can be retrieved if necessary. While the county now has separate Employment Counselors who handle the employment and training activities and make all child care and travel arrangements, the county is making plans to have integrated case managers who handle both eligibility and employment services functions.
  • In Duval, eligibility workers have a mixed caseload of child-only and regular cases. Some eligibility workers are specialized and handle cases that are not receiving cash assistance, but receive food stamps or Medicaid only. As mentioned above, Lockheed Martin staff operate the WAGES component, which includes work activities required of applicants at initial screening and work activities required of TANF recipients.
  • In Jackson, eligibility staff are divided into caseworkers and self-sufficiency case managers. Caseworkers manage the child-only and Medicaid-only cases while self-sufficiency case managers review the regular TANF cases. FUTURES Advocates are staff who work with the welfare-to-work cases that need assistance attaining job skills or finding employment.