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Engaging Refugees in TANF Work Activities. Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance. Department of Social and Health Services. Mission: to improve the safety and health safety and health of individuals, families and communities

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Engaging Refugees in TANF Work Activities

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance


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Department of Social and Health Services

  • Mission: to improve the safety and health safety and health of individuals, families and communities

  • Nearly one out of every three Washington residents receive financial, medical, social, health, and rehabilitative services provided through DSHS


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The Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance

  • The Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) is located in the Economic Services Administration

  • ESA major programs include:

    • TANF (WorkFirst)

    • Medical Assistance

    • Washington Basic Food (Food Stamps)

    • General Assistance

    • Child Support Enforcement

    • Refugee Assistance


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TANF Program

  • TANF Grants:

    • The four-person grant standard is $661 per month

    • Earnings are prospectively budgeted

    • 50% earned income disregard

  • TANF Caseloads

    • In SFY 2009, the TANF caseload averaged 40,191 adults per month

    • Of these, an average of 3,496 (8.7%) were limited English proficient


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The Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance

  • ORIA Services:

    • Employment Services

    • English as a Second Language

    • Refugee Foster Care

    • Naturalization Services

    • Refugee Social Adjustment Services

    • Refugee Health Screening

    • Mental Health Services for Refugees


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The LEP Pathway

  • LEP Pathway Services:

    • Job search assistance

    • English as a second language

    • Job skills training

    • Work Experience

    • Community Service

    • Job retention services

  • A total of 5,685 LEP adults received employment services through the LEP Pathway in SFY 2009


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The LEP Pathway

  • A Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) completed after TANF case opening

  • The CE is a screening tool designed to gather information about the parent’s skills and abilities.

  • The CE covers such topics as:

    • Education

    • Work History

    • Barriers to Employment

    • Transportation

    • Child Care Needs

    • Labor Market Interests


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The LEP Pathway

  • CSO worker refers the parent(s) to a LEP Pathway service provider:

    • CASAS test conducted to assess English proficiency level

    • Parent(s) meet with service provider to develop an Employment Plan

    • The service provider provides employment services in accordance with the Employment Plan


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Stacking Strategies

  • Stacking TANF core and non-core work activities

    • Core Activities:

      • Job Readiness/Job Search Assistance

      • Work Experience

      • Community Service

      • Unsubsidized Employment

      • Subsidized Employment

      • Vocational Education

    • Non-Core Activities:

      • Job skills training directly related to employment, blended with ESL

      • Education directly related to employment, blended with ESL


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TANF Work Activities

  • Job Readiness/Job Search

    • Two-week Job Readiness workshop

    • Assist with job leads and application completion

    • Activities limited to 12-weeks/year

  • Work Experience and Community Service

    • Limitations in developing opportunities due to language capacity

    • Addition of Bilingual Site Supervisors


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TANF Work Activities

  • Vocational Education: The IBEST Program

    • Managed by local community and technical colleges

    • Available to those with higher English language proficiency

  • Subsidized Employment: The Community Jobs Program

    • Managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce

    • TANF funds used to subsidize employment

    • Limitations due to language capacity at worksite


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Engaging Refugees in TANF Work Activities

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance


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