Engaging Parents in WorkFirst
1.3 Up-front Screening and Referrals
The Up-front Referrals section includes:
- 1.3.1 What up-front referrals are required?
- 1.3.2 What does Equal Access mean?
- 1.3.3 Equal Access step-by-step guide
- 1.3.4 What is family planning?
- 1.3.5 How to screen for family planning?
- 1.3.6 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?
- 1.3.7 Examples of various types of family planning screenings
- 1.3.8 Family Planning step-by step guide
1.3.1 What up-front referrals are required?
Some issues may need to be considered when developing an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). Up-front referrals or additional evaluations include the:
- Comprehensive Evaluation (CE),
- Social Service Specialist assessment,
- Teen Parent assessment,
- Pregnant/parenting assessment,
- Learning Needs screening,
- Chemical Dependency assessments, and
- Other resources.
The remainder of this section describes Equal Access (formerly known as NSA) and family planning. Other assessments and evaluations are described in the Resolving Issues and Pregnancy to Employment sections. You can find links to these other sections, and more information listed in the resource section below.
1.3.2 What do Equal Access (EA) services mean?
CSO staff screen all heads of household to determine if the individual requires a reasonable accommodation resulting from a disability or learning or literacy issue to access and maintain DSHS services.
EA screening is needed to complete the:
- Application process,
- CE, and
- Actively participate in the WorkFirst program.
When identified or requested, reasonable and necessary accommodations are given to ensure these individuals can access and maintain WorkFirst services and benefits. See Equal Access WAC .
EA plans support the IRP and allow the individual to access and maintain services for which the individual is eligible.
Staff may refer the individual to the WFSSS when the WFSSSs expertise in completing the EA Screen or Plan is required.
Limited English-Proficiency Program (LEP):
Equal Access services DO NOT include referrals for Limited English Program (LEP). The focus of EA services is on accommodation of disabilities and learning and literacy issues (not to be confused with services for persons having limited-English proficiency.
Screening of Heads-of- Household:
EA screening is completed on each head of household at the time of:
- Eligibility review; and,
- At any time the person's circumstances change which may require an accommodation.
Screening of Others (Non-Heads-of- Household):
All other household members age 16 and older, who are required to participate in WorkFirst activities, are screened upon initial contact. Reasonable and necessary accommodations are provided under EA WAC prior to the required participation,
Equal Access Screens and Documents:
Client Handout (link to be added)
- Staff Desktop Guide (link to be added)
- Screening Tool (link to be added)
- Accommodation Plan (link to be added).
The EA Screening tool is used to determine:
- If accommodations are necessary,
- Why the accommodation is needed (if relevant to situation), and
- The types of accommodations needed.
The EA Plan is electronically developed depending upon the responses given during the EA Screening.
Staff may refer to the WFSSS when the l a referral is necessary to best serve the individual.
In some cases it may be necessary to refer the individual to the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) for completion of the EA Screening and Plan (if needed).
1.3.3 Equal Access - Step-by-Step Guide
Using the aces.online EA Screen, if not already completed, the WFPS screens individuals applying for WorkFirst cash assistance or State-Funded Assistance require necessary supplemental accommodations. The WFPS refers the individual to a WFSSS if the WFSSS's expertise is needed.
- The EA Plan is automatically developed based upon the response received during the EA Screening.
- Other Non-Heads-of-Household members age 16 an older whom are required to participate in WorkFirst activities are required to be screened at first contact.
- EA Services may differ from services to address barriers to participation.
See E A-Z Manual Equal Access for more details.)
1.3.4 What is Family Planning?
Family planning services are educational, medical and social services that help male and female individuals make decisions regarding additional pregnancies while on WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA. Advantages for offering these services include, but are not limited to:
- Learning what their Medical Services Card can purchase, such as over-the-counter items including condoms, foam, film, etc., and emergency contraception.
- Learning about the variety of birth control methods to help plan, if or when, to have another child, and
- Learning how to talk about birth control with family members.
1.3.5 How to screen for Family Planning?
Family Planning screening is only required for adults and emancipated minors. In situations involving screening of 16 or 17 year old dependent teens, DSHS staff does not want to pull them out of school to screen them. Staff may want to help their parents talk about family planning with them or offer to meet with this group of minors for the parent.
Screen and offer all individuals family planning information at least once a year. The family planning information should be given at the following times:
- Comprehensive evaluation;
- Eligibility review; and/or
- Each time the WFPS or WFSSS determines the individual (or their children, if appropriate) may benefit from these services.
Use the following script when individuals call the Customer Service Center about family planning services:
"If you have a Medical Services Card, you can get family planning services. If you do not currently have a Medical Services card, you may apply for one or you may be able to get family planning services from a medical program called TAKE CHARGE. To find a provider near you, call the Family Planning Hotline at 1-800-770-4334."
1.3.6 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?
DSHS is responsible to provide adults and emancipated minors with family planning information. The purpose of providing information is to make individuals aware of the family planning services available to them so they are able to make an informed decision about future pregnancies.
It is mandatory to provide adults and emancipated minors with the following family planning information:
- "Let's Talk" wallet card DSHS 22-400(x),
- "Let's Talk" brochure DSHS 22-985 (x), and
- WithinReach website (www.parenthelp123.org)
Providing information about available family planning services to each individual can help us meet the goal of zero unintended pregnancies while on WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA. Every individual should:
- Know of available family planning services.
- Know that their Medical Services Card may be used at many pharmacies to purchase over the counter (OTC) contraceptives such as condoms, foam, film, etc., thus giving them more disposable income.
- Be aware of how and where to obtain birth control, including OTC contraceptives.
- Know where and how to obtain Emergency Contraceptives (ECP).
1.3.7 Examples of various types of family planning screenings
Melanie has just been approved for WorkFirst. June, her WFPS/WFSSS asks if she has received the information on Family Planning. Melanie is 24 years old with a 14 month-old son. June asks her what her ideal family size would be. She has always wanted three children but has not been able to get above a minimum wage job. June encourages Melanie to consider the expense of having another child, and reminds her that an unplanned pregnancy can make it difficult to get to a higher paying job where she could afford more children and provide for all their needs. WorkFirst will work on increasing her ability to earn more money and family planning providers have information and supplies that can help her plan when she wants more children. June encourages her to call the family planning hotline to discuss family planning options and she reiterates that her Medical Services Card may be used at many pharmacies to purchase over the counter (OTC) contraceptives such as condoms, foam, film, etc., or used to fill a prescription for birth control, IUD, depo shot, etc. thus giving her more disposable income.
Todd is a 27 year-old single father of two young children. At the eligibility interview the WFPS gives Todd the "Let's Talk" wallet card and the "Let's Talk" brochure asking him if he has thought about how an additional child would affect his dreams for the future. The WFPS explains how some pregnancies are unplanned and that there are family planning services that can assist him so this would not happen to him. The WFPS also explains how he can get various birth control methods using his Medical Service card in case he should want to obtain any other method some time in the future.
Middle-Age, non-childbearing female:
Barbara is a 41 year-old mother of two children, 17 year old Kristi and 15 year old Josh. She has come in for cash assistance. Through the course of your intake interview, Barbara revealed that she just ended a short relationship and made the comment that over the last year, she has "gone through three losers" and that she can hopefully snag someone worth keeping soon. Upon her up-front family planning screening, Barbara states she had a hysterectomy about four years ago.
There are several issues to consider in this example. Even though birth control is not the first issue for Barbara, she is in multiple relationships that put her at an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In this situation, the DSHS staff can provide information regarding local family planning services or she can see her primary care physician for STD counseling, education and care. A second issue is that her daughter, Kristi, and, her son, Josh, are at an age where they may become sexually active. Discuss the benefits of giving information to them and acknowledge that talking with your children may be difficult, but family planning resources are available. By assuming that just because Barbara cannot have children she doesn't need family planning information and resources, we are also making decisions for her that she and her family can't benefit from family planning services.
1.3.9 Family Planning - Step-by-Step Guide
When a WorkFirst individual is screened for family planning, the WFPS may:
- Enter the eJAS Screening/Evaluation or Comprehensive Evaluation, click on "Family Planning,"
- Give the individual, at a minimum:
- DSHS 22-400 "Let's Talk" wallet card, and
- DSHS 22-985(x) "Let's Talk" brochure.
- WithinReach website (www.parenthelp123.org)
Note:Staff must screen and offer family planning information at least once per year and document this in eJAS under the Family Planning note type. (For this purpose, a year has been defined as 350 days.)
Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections
- 3.2.1 Comprehensive Evaluation
- 5.2 Pregnancy to Employment pathway
- 6.5 Family Violence
- 6.6 Disabilities
- 6.7 Substance Abuse
Forms & Other Resources
- DSHS 14-414(X), NSA Screening
- DSHS 14-415(X), NSA Assessment and Accommodation Plan
- EA-Z Manual: Necessary Supplementary Accommodation
- EA Client Hand-out Publication
- DSHS 22-922(X) Family Planning Services
- DSHS 22-474(X) Free! Take Charge!
- DSHS 22-807(X) Primary Health Care Information for Take Charge Client’s
- DSHS 22-314(X) Pregnant? Plan for a Healthy Future
- DOH Publication 930-101 Birth Control Methods Work
- DOH Publication 930-102 Before You Get Pregnant: Planning is the Key
- WithinReach website
- Family Planning Hotline: 1-800-770-4334
- Emergency Contraception Hotline: 1-888-NOT-2-LATE (1-888-668-2-5283)
- Health and Recovery Services Administration Family Planning Program website