North Carolina's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, called Work First, is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and other services to help them become employed and self-sufficient, but the responsibility is theirs.
When applicants request Work First, they are connected to the Employment Services Social Worker to assess the needs and strengths of the person before they become participants in the program. Once it is determined that services are needed to achieve success, the Employment Services Social Worker will implement services to make obtaining and maintaining employment more efficient.
The Employment Services Social Worker coaches the participant to "win the race" toward self-sufficiency, Participant may be involved in the following:
- Engage in training and activities to obtain employment
- Weekly job search with ESC consultant
- Weekly contact with Employment Services Social Worker
- Alternative Work Experience and/or subsidized employment to help gain valuable work experience
Effective October 1, 2009, the Work First program implemented a new process for issuing Work First cash assistance. This process is called Work First Benefits (WFB). All adults who are included in the assistance payment must have a Mutual Responsibility Plan of Action agreement that requires the individuals to work or participate in work-related activities. These adults must complete all of the requirements on their agreement each month before receiving Work First cash assistance, unless there is a good cause. Work First Benefits mirrors the working world, where individuals "work first" and receive payment for employment afterwards.
Individuals may contact the Work First Employment line at 704-920-1400 for questions regarding Work First Employment Services.