The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is also known as Work First. The premise is, parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. Parents get training and services to help them gain employment and self-sufficiency. It is the parents responsibility to participate in Work First.
Work First families must have children under age 18. These families receive employment and supportive services. Recipients also get time-limited cash assistance. A referral to Child Support helps get them additional financial support for children. A family must meet income and resource requirements.
Recipients are connected to the employment services social worker first. This social worker assesses their needs and strengths. All of this occurs before the person becomes a participant in the program. If applicable, services will get deemed necessary to achieve success. The employment services social worker implements services. These services aim to make obtaining and maintaining employment more efficient. Basically, the worker coaches the participant to "win the race" toward self-sufficiency.
Participants may be involved in the following:
- Engage in short-term training and activities to obtain employment
- Weekly job search with an ESC consultant
- Weekly contact with the employment services social worker
- Alternative work experience and/or subsidized employment to gain work experience
Work First Benefits (WFB) is the process for implementing Work First cash assistance. All adults in the payment need a mutual responsibility plan of action agreement. This agreement requires the individuals to work or participate in work-related activities. These adults must complete all the requirements on their agreement each month. Completion is required before receiving Work First cash assistance. The only exception is for good cause. Work First Benefits mirrors the working world. Individuals "work first", and receive payment for employment afterwards.
Work First covers transportation to job searches and to work for a certain amount of time. Minor children in the home and being an active Work First participant are required.