3.2 Comprehensive Evaluation
- RCW 74.08A.260
- RCW 74.08A.275
- RCW 74.08A.285
- RCW 74.12.410
- WAC 388-61-001
- WAC 388-310-0400
- WAC 388-310-0700
- WAC 388-310-0200
- 3.2.1 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation?
- 3.2.2 How do I complete the Comprehensive Evaluation interview?
- 3.2.3 What topics does the Comprehensive Evaluation cover?
- 3.2.4 What does "special records" category mean?
- 3.2.5 What does "financial literacy evaluation" mean?
- 3.2.6 Who must receive a Comprehensive Evaluation and when should it be conducted?
- 3.2.7 How does the Comprehensive Evaluation enhancement work?
- 3.2.8 What does "Continuous Activity Planning" mean?
- 3.2.9 When is a new Comprehensive Evaluation or Continuous Activity Planning required?
- 3.2.10 What does "likely to be approved" mean?
- 3.2.11 What are the pathways of the Comprehensive Evaluation?
- 3.2.12 Where is the Comprehensive Evaluation documented?
- 3.2.13 What does "parent involvement in decision making" mean?
- 3.2.14 How will the results of the Comprehensive Evaluation be used to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan?
- 3.2.15 Can a parent be placed in sanction for failing to participate in the Comprehensive Evaluation?
- 3.2.16 Comprehensive Evaluation - Step-by Step Guide
3.2.1 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation?
Everyone has skills and abilities needed in today's workforce. Weaving those skills and abilities with labor market realities and education levels is the cornerstone of the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE).
The CE is an automated tool for WorkFirst Program Specialists or WorkFirst Social Service Specialists to learn more about an individual's strengths, readiness and ability to succeed in the work place. There are a series of evaluations designed to help parents achieve better and quicker engagement in employment-related activities that lead to self-sufficiency.
The primary objectives of the CE are to:
- Gather better information about parents' skills and abilities and more quickly place them in an appropriate activity;
- Clarify program criteria so staff can help parents make objective decisions about what activities are appropriate;
- Increase parent's involvement in developing their plan for participating in WorkFirst, resulting in more parent buy-in and better results; and
- Increase consistency in how the WorkFirst program operates across the state.
The CE is the key tool in leading parents directly to employment since job search continues to be the most appropriate pathway for the majority of parents. For other parents, the CE leads to employment through training or employment programs and also identifies areas in which the parent may need additional support. In some instances, parents receive services to help resolve issues while participating in work related activities.
Active participation by the parent is essential. The CE is designated both as an engagement tool and the vehicle to move parents quickly to the most appropriate WorkFirst activity. The parent's involvement in the decision making process helps ensure the parent's success.
As we learn more about WorkFirst families and document that information in the comprehensive evaluation and the on-going observation notes, we can make better informed choices about their participation and achieve the goal of self-sufficiency.
eJAS notes provide a standalone screening for each category. This is an important feature for family violence, because this allows family violence screening to be completed when it is safe for the family member to do so.
3.2.2 What is a Comprehensive Evaluation?
First, set a positive tone about getting to Career Scope and work. Ask: "How can I help you get to work?" Explain to the person that we ask screening questions to:
- Help the parent succeed in the workplace;
- Provide necessary support services;
- Resolve issues without delay;
- Stack services, so the parent can make faster progress and preserve/bank months of WorkFirst Cash Assistance; and
- Ensure the parent not only finds, but also keeps, a job.
Second, start acquainting the person with workplace expectations, such as the need to show up on time, every day, and how to have reliable back up plans for child care and transportation.
Third, some of the questions in the CE touch on sensitive topics (like family planning). Set some expectations with the person to make the conversation go easier. Tell the person that your interview will:
- Identify areas in which he or she may need additional help, supplemental accommodations or services that will help him or her be successful in WorkFirst.
- Not require a lot of details.
- Result in a referral to experts immediately if there is a serious crisis.
3.2.3 What topics does the Comprehensive Evaluation cover?
As shown in the chart below, the CE covers all the topics needed to determine where the person is placed on the employment pathway. It also includes legally required screening for specific issues.
Below you will find a list of categories reflecting the required screenings for WorkFirst families. Dependent teens do not have a CE requirement; however, it is recommended to document the dependant teen's educational activities, or other pertinent information in the dependant teen's eJAS case in the appropriate category. Equal Access status and limited English proficiency screening occurs in ACES.
|*This is a special record screen and highly protected.|
For more information on CE topics and documentation please refer to the "Comprehensive Evaluation Documentation Guidelines"
3.2.4 What does special records category mean?
All individual information is confidential under state and federal law. In eJAS, there are also four categories of client information, called "Special Records", with increased protection. These categories contain information about:
- Mental Health
- Family Violence
- Chemical Dependency, and
- HIV/AIDS and STD* (Optional category)
* Please note that DSHS staff is not required to screen for HIV/AIDS/STD. This is an optional category to be used when a parent voluntarily provides information about HIV/AIDS/STD issues that could interfere with WorkFirst work activities.
It is important to document these four topics only in the matching note type in eJAS. Invite the person to discuss the matter(s) directly with her or his service provider (such as her or his job service specialist).
3.2.5 What does financial literacy evaluation mean?
For a variety of reasons many parents may lack the basic financial knowledge necessary to spend their money wisely, save for the future and manage money challenges. Financial literacy can provide families with tools to smoother transition from benefit-based to a wage-based income, and keep them from unknowingly entering into financially devastating credit arrangements. It is an essential element in parents' achieving financial stability, self-sufficiency and long-term financial well-being.
During the CE determine if the financial literacy activity is beneficial to the parent, and, regardless of the results, ask if the parent wants a referral to money management training available in the local community. (This is not a mandatory activity and does not have an eJAS code). Document the assessment outcome in the documentation field.
3.2.6 Who must receive a Comprehensive Evaluation and when should it be conducted?
The CE is conducted by the WFPS in the Community Services Office (CSO) for:
- Newly approved applicants,
- Likely to be approved applicants, and
- Parents currently in sanction.
The CE is good for six months from the finish date, but may be updated sooner at the parent's or WorkFirst partner's request.
Parents are referred to the CE each time they are approved for WorkFirst Cash Assistance, including those referred to as "returners" (persons who are coming back to WorkFirst Cash Assistance within six months of exiting.). The eJAS documentation must be completed each time a parent receives the CE, which may include information from a previous CE, when appropriate.
The following people must complete the CE:
- Newly approved WorkFirst Cash Assistance applicants (including those who have returned to WorkFirst Cash Assistance after being off assistance for less than 6 months who have already completed the full comprehensive evaluation),
NOTE: CSOs refer "likely to be approved" applicants to the CE to save time and engage the parent quicker (see likely to be approved definition)
- Sanctioned parents
- Limited English Proficiency (LEP) pathways parents, who will participate in an evaluation conducted by the service provider
- Permanent Residence Under the Color Of Law (PRUCOL)
- Minor parents
- Parents determined to be exempt from WorkFirst participation for reasons defined in RCW. (However, the opportunity to complete the comprehensive evaluation will be offered and exempt parents will be referred if they choose to participate in the evaluation.)
Child only cases do not require the Comprehensive Evaluation.
3.2.7 How does the Comprehensive Evaluation enhancement work?
When opening a CE, the system allows the worker to select and update the most recent CE if it was created less than six months ago. When there are multiple CEs for a parent, staff will only be able to select the most recent CE to auto-fill the new CE. The system will not auto-fill any check box information for any sections of the CE.
Staff is still required to document the parent's current circumstances even though we copied over the most recent eJAS information.
3.2.8 What does "Continuous Activity Planning" mean?
"Continuous Activity Planning" (CAP) is an informal meeting or joint evaluation with the parent, available WorkFirst partner(s), DSHS co-workers and the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS). This meeting is to discuss the parent's progress and participation as well as a recommendation for the parent's next activity after a complete CE. This meeting can be conducted via phone or in person and must be documented in eJAS under the "Continuous Activity Planning" note type.
The WFPS or WFSSS must document:
- The names of all the participants in the meeting
- How the meeting was conducted (phone or in person)
- When the CAP took place
- Results (the outcome of the meeting)
3.2.9 When is a new CE or CAP required?
The WFPS/WFSSS decides whether the parent needs a new CE or a CAP based on the last complete CE. This decision cannot be made based on a partial or incomplete CE.
|Timeframe (from CE finish date)||Situation||Required Action|
|Complete||Within 6 months||
A parent is:
|Conduct a "Continuous Activity Planning" meeting.|
|Over 6 months||A parent is progressing in the plan identified in the previous CE and moving onto the next step.||Conduct a "Continuous Activity Planning" meeting.|
|Not progressing or participating||
Complete a new CE unless the parent is going back to their last required activity.
3.2.10 What does "likely to be approved" mean?
- Definition : "Likely to be approved" means those who appear to meet financial and resource eligibility based on available information. The only reason the application is pending is for verification of items such as:
- Personal identification
- Household composition
- Shelter costs
- Pending verification : If eligibility is pending for other verification, such as applying for Unemployment Insurance, job start verification, or income, these parents may not be good candidates for a referral for a CE under the new "likely to be approved" definition. Applicants who do not appear to meet financial and resource eligibility should not be referred for a CE until eligibility is verified.
- Participation : The parent begins to participate in activities that resulted from the CE when financial eligibility is determined. Parents are not required to participate in WorkFirst activities until financial eligibility has been approved. Parents cannot be sanctioned for not participating while their application is in pending status.
3.2.11 What are the pathways of the Comprehensive Evaluation?
The following criterion is designed to help the WFPS make an informed decision about which employment pathway(s) is most appropriate for a parent after completing the CE.
CE recommendations should be designed to meet parents' needs while maximizing federal participation requirements. Refer to the Stacking Activities Chart when determining the appropriate stackable activities for the parent.
Prior to approving a referral to any of the employment pathways listed, parents must be advised of WorkFirst program requirements and their responsibility to participate in the activities identified in their Individual Responsibility Plan.
Parents should have approved child care and transportation plans in place prior to referral. Parents reporting to an activity without arranged childcare and transportation may be referred back as they are unable to begin participating as required.
If the CE results do not identify an appropriate pathway(s) based on the following criteria, a Continuous Activity Plan (CAP) may be conducted immediately.
Referrals to Career Scope may be appropriate for parents who:
- Are currently employed or have had employment within the last 90 days
- Are receiving UI benefits or have a 'pending' UI claim ( note: JS should be the requirement for parents in this category )
- Indicate an interest in pursuing employment
- Are ready and able to accept employment within 4 weeks
- Have recently completed an education or supported work program
- Are participating in another core activity for no more than 20 hours per week and need another activity to meet federal requirements and can accept employment within 4 weeks.
- Would benefit from an On-the-Job Training (OJT)
Exception: Parents who are working full-time and want assistance finding a better job are appropriate for Career Scope services as long as they can come into the office at least once a week to receive assistance. Otherwise, they can be referred to WorkSource Center as a self-directed job seeker.
Education & Training Activity
Referrals to Education & Training may be appropriate for parents who:
- Have little or no work history
- Are currently engaged in an educational activity
- Indicate interest in pursuing educational opportunities or want to enter an occupation that requires training
- Have not obtained a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate
- Completed high school equivalency (HSE) but need or want to brush up their skills
- Have had difficulty in school with reading, writing, math, following verbal directions, etc. and want to improve their basic skills in order to get a job or a better job
Referrals to Community Jobs may be appropriate for parents who:
- Have little or no current work history
- Are working on barrier management activities and are ready to combine issue resolution with subsidized work activities
- Are able to participate full-time but are not ready for unsubsidized employment
- Are ready and able to be employed within 6 months
Job Connection Program
Referrals to Job Connection may be appropriate for parents who:
- Need recent work history to increase employability
- Are able to participate full time
- Are ready and able to be employed within 3 months
- Have an identified occupation or industry and need to acquire experience in that field to be competitive in the labor market
- Do not currently hold an unsubsidized job
Career Development Program
Referrals to Career Development may be appropriate for parents who:
- Are currently enrolled in an education pathway
- Indicate an interest in gaining on the job experience in their field of study while they are enrolled in school
Parents may be in this pathway full- or part-time
- Have a paid, unsubsidized job
- Are self-employed
- Are participating in a college work study
- Are participating in a paid work experience, practicum or internship
Referrals to the LEP Pathway may be appropriate for parents who:
- Receive Cash Assistance
- Have difficulty understanding or communicating in English
- An LEP parent with ESL Level 1 through 4 who is identified by college staff or an employment counselor as needing specialized assistance to participate
- Individuals receiving Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) or Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA)
Parents may be in this pathway full- or part-time, depending on their ability to participate in work or work-like activities. Whenever possible, these issue resolution activities should be stacked with one of the above activities as appropriate.
Issue resolution activities assist in helping parents resolve issues, including:
- Hard to engage or sanctioned individuals
- Mental, physical, and/or learning disabilities
- Alcohol or substance abuse/chemical dependency
- Family violence
- Family planning
- Children with special needs
- Teen parenting
- First Steps
- Pregnancy to Employment Assessment(s)
Referrals to the Exempt Pathway may be appropriate for parents who:
- Are a needy caregiver relative and aged 55 or older
- Have a severe and chronic disability (including those likely to be approved for SSI or other federal benefits)
- Are required to be in the home to care for a child with special needs
- Are required to be in the home to care for an adult relative with a disability
3rd trimester of pregnancy Deferral
- Parents in the third trimester of pregnancy can choose to not participate in WorkFirst activities if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.
- The Infant Exempt may be appropriate for parents who are parenting an infant age 12 months or less (12 months in a lifetime infant exemption)
3.2.12 Where is the Comprehensive Evaluation documented?
The CE is recorded in the CE screens in eJAS. The information, except special records, is accessible and readable by all the WorkFirst partners and will be used to make decisions regarding program participation and expectations.
3.2.13 What does "parent involvement in decision making" mean?
Parent input is essential to an effective CE. We want and value the parent's input and take their desires and wishes into account when developing a plan.
However, a parent's wishes alone do not substitute for the CE and program pathway criteria. Parent input should not be the sole basis for deciding what activity a parent will participate in. A parent's wishes need to be factored into the larger picture, which includes family and health issues, education, skills and abilities, job availability, and training or rehabilitation resources.
Decisions on what pathway a parent participates in must first be made on the basis of program criteria and policy. At that point the parent's wishes should be a major factor in deciding on the pathway choice.
3.2.14 How will the Comprehensive Evaluation be used to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan?
The results of the CE will be used to develop the IRP. It will indicate the best pathway for the parent and what support services WorkFirst will provide the parent to participate. Decisions will be made objectively and consistently, based on program policy criteria - See "Criteria for Decision Making" . The IRP will be developed by the WFPS and the parent to:
- Describe the parent's responsibilities, activity requirements and authorized support services.
- Maintain progression towards independence.
- Document the action steps the parent agreed to do. (This is essential to holding the parent responsible for her or his participation.)
- Describe DSHS responsibilities and which support services will be provided.
- Describe for the parent the consequences of not meeting the requirements.
IRPs will be developed for longer-term activities if parents are participating in consecutive program elements. The expectation is that all activities are preparing parents to go to work. IRPs will be developed to find the best mix of activities, including those who are participating in issue resolution activities. Parents will be expected to participate full-time.
WFPSs will use the criteria for developing an IRP and making referrals to a pathway as outlined in "Criteria for Decision Making" .
Community Jobs referrals will be made only for the parents least likely to succeed in attaining unsubsidized employment. Based on the CE results, CJ will be an option for those parents who have participated in other activities and have not been successful or where other activities may not be deemed appropriate.
3.2.15 Can a parent be placed in sanction for failing to participate in the Comprehensive Evaluation?
Yes. If a parent fails to show to any CE appointment, the worker must go through the good cause process to determine if the parent had a good reason for not completing the CE. For more on excused and unexcused absences, see section 188.8.131.52 - How do we treat excused and unexcused absences?
Sanction is a tool of last resort which will be used as a consequence for parents who refuse to participate in the WorkFirst program. It is very important to determine and document whether a person is refusing, or simply unable to comply.
3.2.16 Comprehensive Evaluation: Step-by-Step Guide
Refer to the Application and Screening section for a step by step guide of the process leading to the determination of eligibility and the CE. Application information will be used as appropriate in terms of the CE and developing the parent's IRP.
- Conducts Positive Prevention strategies as part of the WorkFirst Cash Assistance application process. Child care, transportation and/or other needed support services are provided by DSHS staff at the time of positive prevention so the parent can complete the CE and prepare for employment pathway participation.
- Documents whether the person will need Equal Access accommodations to complete the application process and actively participate. (See Up-front referrals.)
- Uses the questions in the CE section in eJAS to complete the CE. (To view a list of all areas covered in the CE, refer to What topics does the CE cover? Section 3.2.3.) Determine who are returners and conduct the returner portion of the CE.
- Determines the appropriate employment pathway(s) using the information documented and the parent's input . ( To view the employment pathways refer to What are the pathways of the Comprehensive Evaluation? Section 3.2.11 )
- If the CE results do not identify an appropriate pathway(s) based on the following criteria, a CAP may be conducted immediately.
- Using the criteria for develop ing an IRP and making referrals to employment pathway(s) activities as outlined in "Criteria for Decision Making".
- Documenting results from the CE in eJAS.
- Updating the IRP outlining the required activities and level of participation the parent must achieve.
- Opening the appropriate referral code(s) in eJAS.