WorkFirst HandBook

Pathways to Employment

5.1 Pregnancy to Employment

Legal References:

The Pregnancy to Employment section includes:

5.1.1 What is Pregnancy to Employment?

Pregnancy to Employment (P to E) provides a way for parents to:

The goal of P to E is to provide services that allow parents to learn how to work, look for work or prepare for work while still meeting the family's needs. Each participant in P to E must participate in an assessment with the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to decide which activities best meet the parent's needs. The activities required will depend on:

5.1.2 Who is required to participate in Pregnancy to Employment?

Every pregnant woman or parent(s) with a child under the age of one year is a mandatory participant in P to E. In a two parent household, both parents are participants and must receive an assessment by a WFSSS.

5.1.3 What is a Pregnancy to Employment full comprehensive assessment?

The full comprehensive assessment helps to identify family needs and determine which WorkFirst services are appropriate, as available within the community. In order to complete a full comprehensive assessment, the WFSSS must discuss and document all issue areas in the eJAS assessment tool

A person is referred to the WFSSS to complete a full comprehensive P to E assessment when the department first becomes aware that she is pregnant or parenting a child under the age of one. The other parent receiving TANF cash assistance in a 2 parent household is not required to participate in a full comprehensive assessment at this time. The other parent in a 2 parent household will be required to complete a partial assessment, at minimum, after the child is born.

Based on the results of the full assessment and any other available information (i.e. Children's Administration, Equal Access, medical reports, etc.) the WFSSS or WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) works with the parent to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) to participate in activities that:

The WFSSS assessment appointment will be scheduled not to exceed a maximum of 30 days from the date of the referral to the social service specialist.

NOTE: Use the DSHS 14-012 Consent to Exchange Information for Services Coordination when exchanging highly protected (special records) information with another service provider.

5.1.4 What is a partial P to E assessment?

A partial assessment includes a minimum requirement to identify if the family's circumstances have changed and the family's needs require the department to address any potential issues such as mental health, chemical dependency, etc.

To fulfill partial assessment minimum requirements, the WFSSS must cover the following:

5.1.5 When to conduct a full vs. partial P to E assessment?

As mentioned before, a full comprehensive assessment is required when the department first becomes aware that a woman is pregnant or parenting a child under the age of one. The other parent in a 2 parent household is not required to complete a full assessment.

A partial P to E assessment is required for both parents when:

NOTE: The WFSSS may require a partial assessmentanytime if information is received indicating there are mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

5.1.6 What additional assessments are required?

If mental health or chemical dependency is identified in the P to E assessment, the WFSSS/WFPS will refer the parent to a professional for an in-depth assessment to support the initial identification.

Persons with an identified need for mental health and chemical dependency will be referred to the appropriate professional for more in-depth evaluations.

5.1.7 How is the parent identified in eJAS once s/he enters Pregnancy to Employment?

Once it is determined that a person is a P to E participant, refer the parent to the WFSSS for an assessment using RO and PI ("Pregnancy/Infant"). PI is the indicator component code used to identify P to E parents on the Component Screen in eJAS. Prior to entering PI a note must be documented in the Pregnancy/Parenting section of the eJAS notes.

The PI indicator code allows workers to track and monitor all of their P to E parents. The PI component is NOT an activity; it is an identifier. Unless the woman is in the third trimester of pregnancy and is not required to participate, or is choosing not to participate, the PI component should always be accompanied by another component, i.e. PI paired with GE or XP.

The PI component can be opened for a maximum of 21 months and should only be entered with zero hours. You may want to use the length of the component as a tickler for the pathway milestones.

For example, a parent reports a pregnancy with an estimated due date. The WFSSS or WFPS may then set the end date of the PI code to coincide with the date the parent will enter the third trimester, the date the baby is due or every three months until the date the baby is expected to reach one year of age.

If there is a future estimated due date on the eJAS Client Demographic screen and no active PI component on the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen, the WFPS or WFSSS will receive a pop-up message notifying a PI component is needed.

5.1.8 What are the participation requirements during the first and second trimester?

In the first and second trimester of pregnancy, participation is based upon the results of the comprehensive assessment and may include work, looking for work or a combination of pregnancy to employment services. A pregnant woman is required to participate full-time during the first two trimesters of pregnancy unless they have a good reason to participate fewer hours.

5.1.9 What are the participation requirements during the third trimester?

In the third trimester of pregnancy, participation for the pregnant woman is based upon the results of the full comprehensive assessment and the parent may:

Only pregnant women identified with a mental health and/or chemical dependency issue who refuse to participate in available treatment will face sanction and termination of benefits after refusing to participate for four months in a row.

The WFPS or WFSSS will be required to indicate the appropriate participation status for parent's in the third trimester on the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field on the "Component/IRP Information Screen" by indicating if the parent is:

5.1.10 What are the participation requirements after the child is born?

After the child is born, the parent(s) receiving TANF cash assistance:

If a parent qualifies for the infant exemption or postpartum exemption, has no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the comprehensive evaluation or P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities the department will not pursue sanction if we learn they are no longer participating as required in their IRP.

The following steps will be taken when the parent stops participating:

The Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter is available in eJAS Letters in English and Spanish. Staff must also document in eJAS "Pregnancy/Parenting" notes the period of time the parent is taking the IE and that the letter was provided.

5.1.11 What is the "infant exemption"?

As of August 1, 2007, parents can choose to be excused from participating in WorkFirst activities during months that they are needed in the home to personally provide care for their child(ren) under one year of age. Only the custodial parent(s) can claim the infant exemption; needy relatives are not eligible for this exemption unless theyhavelegally been givenparental rights.

Parents have a personal responsibility to decide whether to choose the infant exemption. The exemption is not automatic; parents must choose to claim the infant exemption.

Only one parent living in the household can claim the infant exemption at any given time, for a maximum of 12 months in a lifetime, not to exceed 365 days. Parents can use this exemption for one or more children, but the infant exemption can't exceed 12 months (that is 365 days) per parent over the parent's lifetime. Parents choosing to use the infant exemption may:

It is essential to document in the eJAS “Pregnancy/Parenting” note type whether a parent chooses the infant exemption. If the parent chooses the infant exemption, document the period of time the parent is choosing to take it.

The department will contact a parent claiming the infant exemption who is not engaged in any other WorkFirst activities once every three months to:

The three month contact may be either by a letter or telephone. (The contact must be documented in eJAS and the IRP updated, if necessary.)

The Three-Month Infant Exemption Contact Letter is available in English and Spanish via eJAS Letters.

5.1.12 How is the parent identified in eJAS once s/he chooses to claim the infant exemption?

Component code IE will be used to identify parents who are claiming the infant exemption. This component code is:

Do not to use this code for any other reason. Using this code for any other reason will make a parent's exemption count inaccurate.

eJAS will track and display the number of days a parent has used their exemption in the "Number of days in IE" field on the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen.

When opening the IE component, the WFPS or WFSSS will be required to indicate the appropriate participation status for parent's choosing to take the IE on the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field by indicating if the parent is:

Staff will:

5.1.13 What is the 12-week postpartum exemption period?

Parents who have already claimed the infant exemption for a maximum of 365 days can request an additional 12-week postpartum exemption period (84 days) if they have another child. This period allows parents to spend time with the newborn before they are required to participate in WorkFirst activities.

A parent can participate in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis during this period if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues. If a parent qualifies for a postpartum exemption period, has no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities the department will not pursue sanction if we learn that a parent is no longer participating as required in the IRP.

The following steps will be taken when the parent stops participating:

Staff must also document in eJAS "Pregnancy/Parenting" notes the period of time the parent is taking the PD and that the letter was provided.

If the comprehensive evaluation or other assessment(s) indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment the parent will be required to participate up to 20 hours per week.

A parent may choose to not participate in WorkFirst activities for a set period of time or until the child turns 12-weeks of age if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues. Only one parent living in the household can claim this 12-week postpartum exemption, not to exceed 84 days, at any given time.

5.1.14 How is the parent identified in eJAS once s/he chooses to claim the 12-week postpartum exemption period?

Component code PD will be used to identify parents who choose to take the 12-week postpartum exemption period. This indicator component code is:

When opening the PD component, the WFPS or WFSSS will be required to indicate the appropriate participation status for parent's choosing to take the PD on the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field by indicating if the parent is:

Staff will:

Encourage parent participation in WorkFirst activities as the 12-week postpartum exemption period is limited to 84 days for each child after they have exhausted their IE.
5.1.15 What are the Pregnancy to Employment participation options and requirements?

A parent's IRP and activities should reflect a steady progression towards work, looking for work, or preparing for work, as well as having a healthy and thriving child. P to E activities may include linking parents to:

Staff must continue to engage parents in WorkFirst activities that will move them most effectively toward self-sufficiency.

The Pregnancy to Employment Participation Requirements chart, also located in the Forms & Other Resources section, details participation requirements while the woman is pregnant and after the child is born.

5.1.16 What is WorkFirst Family Literacy?

Known in some locations as Families That Work, WorkFirst Literacy Skills Center, etc. (check your local college or CBO WorkFirst Delivery Agreement (WFDA) for Education and Training). Parents will receive instruction in the basic skills they need to join the workforce, improve their child raising skills, and break family cycles of illiteracy. Parents served by WorkFirst Family Literacy are current WorkFirst recipients.

The goal for WorkFirst Family Literacy parents is an economically stable and literate family, with outcomes that include:

Parents participating in WorkFirst Family Literacy programs follow the same model for quantifying participation, as do our participants in other training programs. To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the parent is in the education and training activities, to include classes, labs, and supervised study halls/tutoring sessions. The college or community based organization will notify the WorkFirst case manager of the appropriate eJAS component code to use.

NOTE: Life Skills training is a countable activity for participation and Parent Education is not, though it may be an appropriate activity for the parent depending on his/her situation.

Parents in the WorkFirst Family Literacy program will be doing a combination of the following types of allowable activities:

Parents are involved in work activities at the level appropriate to their skills and their IRPs. These can include volunteer experiences, WorkFirst Work-Study, Community Jobs, etc.

5.1.17 What is First Steps?

The First Steps Program is designed to provide additional health care, enhanced services and case management to Washington Apple Health eligible women and infants. This program seeks to reduce maternal and infant illness and death as well as increase access to maternity and infant care for low-income families.

Pregnant women should be referred to the WFSSS as soon as you learn the woman is pregnant. The WFSSS will refer her to the local First Steps provider for services. First Steps services include, but are not limited to:

The WFSSS will coordinate with the First Steps provider to avoid duplication of services.

For additional information about the First Steps program visit the Social Services Manual website at: http://www.dshs.wa.gov/manuals/socialservices/

sections/FirstSteps.shtml

5.1.18 Can a parent in Pregnancy to Employment be sanctioned?

Parents in P to E can be sanctioned for refusing to participate in an assessment with the WFSSS to identify family needs and determine what WorkFirst services are appropriate. Parents can also be sanctioned for failing to participate in WorkFirst activities as determined by the comprehensive evaluation, or the WFSSS's assessment, or the parent's IRP. (See 3.6.1 Sanction)

5.1.19 eJAS codes

The following eJAS codes are commonly used for WorkFirst individuals engaged in P to E:

In addition to the PI identifier code, indicate the WorkFirst participation by using the appropriate eJAS codes on the component code screen as needed, to the actual hours of time spent in activities (such as XF for family violence resolution or JS for job search). It is important for tracking program progress to show the different components the parent is in.

5.2.20 Pregnancy to Employment - Step-by-step guide
  1. The WFPS:
    1. Completes the Comprehensive Evaluation and chooses the appropriate pathway(s):
      • Issue Resolution pathway if a P to E assessment is required,
      • 3rd trimester of pregnancy Deferral pathway if she is in her 3rd trimester,
      • Infant Exemption pathway if the parent has an infant age 12 months or less.
    2. Refers all pregnant women and parents of infants 12 months and younger to a WFSSS for an assessment using the appropriate eJAS codes:
      1. RO for a P to E assessment when:
        1. The department becomes aware a woman is pregnant or parenting an infant under the age of one year.
        2. The parent reports the child's birth and/or is choosing to take the IE.
      2. PI indicator to identify the parent in P to E. (eJAS notes must be entered in the Pregnancy/Parenting category prior to entering the PI code indicating the parent is a Pregnancy to Employment participant.

NOTE: On the Customer Accountability Report (CAR), parents in stand-alone PI will display in Participation Not Required (State Only) section. However, parents coded PI with other components will display in the section of the report determined appropriate based on their level of participation. For example, a parent is coded PI and 20 hours per week in PT. The parent will show in section 6 - Participation Below Full Time at WorkFirst Standard.

  1. The WFSSS:
    1. Completes a full or partial assessment, using the eJAS assessment or the DSHS 14-433(X), Intensive Services Assessment. WFSSSs may also draw upon assessments from other agencies. However, if the eJAS assessment is not used and the DSHS 14-433(X), or another assessment form is used, all the same eJAS assessment topics should be covered and documented in eJAS. The WFSSS should assess all areas relevant to the parent and review any other available information
    2. Uses the assessment to identify the parent's strengths, barriers, issues and needs. Also the assessment needs to identify what participation a parent is able to do and the maximum number of participation hours including stacking activities so the parent participates to the fullest of their abilities. The WFSSS makes decisions about which cases have barriers or issues that could benefit from continuing case management by the WFSSS until those issues are resolved. Other cases may be referred back to the WFPS for case management.
    3. Makes appropriate referrals, based on the assessment and the completed C E.
    4. Works with the WFPS, parent and other service providers (as appropriate) to build an IRP as required that addresses the parent and infant's needs as identified in the full or partial assessment or comprehensive evaluation.
    5. Enters (if not already entered) the PI code on the eJAS Component Screen with the accompanying component when required.
  2. Either the WFSSS or WFPS - whomever is case managing the case:
    1. If participating in WorkFirst activities, updates the IRP
    2. If participating in WorkFirst activities, monitors /reviews on a monthly basis for attendance and progress.
    3. If a parent qualifies for an IE or PD, has no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities the department will not pursue sanction if we learn that a parent is no longer participating as required in the IRP. The following steps will be taken when the parent stops participating
      • Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the parent 10-day notice that we plan to put them into Infant Exemption status.
      • If the parent contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants continue participating, update the IRP as needed and do not enter the IE.
        • If the parent does not contact you: Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and
        • Enter the infant exemption (IE) until the child turns one or postpartum exemption period (PD) until the child turns 12 weeks of age (not to exceed 84 days.
    4. If taking the infant exemption, update the component screen with the IE code and enter the start and end date of the time the parent is choosing to claim this exemption. This documentation is very important because a parent is only eligible for this exemption 12-months in a lifetime (not to exceed 365 days).
    5. After entering the IE code, enter the appropriate participation status in the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field.
    6. If taking the infant exemption and not required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment, makes follow-up contact (via office interview, phone, letter or home visit) with the parent at least every three months to re-evaluate the parent's/infant's needs to ensure that the parent and the infant are receiving the services they need.
    7. At each 3-month contact, the assigned worker will offer services, referrals and/or remind the parent that s/he can choose to end the infant exemption and fully participate in the WorkFirst program. (If contacting via letter, the Three-Month Infant Exemption Contact Letter is available in English and Spanish via eJAS Letters.)
      • If the parent contacts the assigned worker, you must
        1. Refer the parent to the WFSSS.
        2. Update IRP to reflect any changes in the parent's activity - ensuring that the IRP and activity reflects a steady progression towards work, looking for work, or preparing for work.
    8. If taking the 12-week postpartum exemption period, update the component screen with the PD code and enter the start and end date of the time the parent is choosing to claim this exemption up to 84 days.
    9. After entering the PD code, enter the appropriate participation status in the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status Required" field.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections
Forms & Other Resources