TANF agencies sometimes struggle to engage families receiving cash assistance in qualifying activities and employment. TANF-involved families, for their part, face challenges as they work to move toward self-sufficiency. The Structured Decision Making® (SDM) model for welfare-to-work helps employment counselors consistently and accurately identify participants most likely to have difficulty participating in required activities or finding and maintaining sustainable employment. The SDM® model for welfare-to-work seeks to improve program participation and create pathways to self-sufficiency using three assessments:
- Appraisal screening: This actuarial assessment estimates the likelihood that agency clients will have difficulty participating the required hours or finding and maintaining employment. Clients assessed as having a high likelihood of difficulty in either of these areas are provided additional follow-up and support.
- Family strengths and needs assessment: The FSNA helps employment counselors identify barriers to employment shortly after program enrollment. Clients and counselors are able to create a plan to address the priority barriers to employment through a mix of qualifying activities and services.
- Support level reassessment: This actuarial reassessment helps the counselor determine if the client has addressed barriers to employment sufficiently that support may be reduced, or if a client is having difficulties requiring additional follow-up and supports.