Chapter 5: Pathways to Employment

5.1 Pregnancy to Employment

Created on: 
Apr 09 2018

Revised April 9, 2018

(Infant Exemption)

Legal References:

The Pregnancy to Employment section includes:

  • 5.1.1 What is Pregnancy to Employment?
  • 5.1.2 Who must participate in Pregnancy to Employment?
  • 5.1.3 What is a Pregnancy to Employment full comprehensive assessment?
  • 5.1.4 What is a partial Pregnancy to Employment assessment?
  • 5.1.5 When to conduct a full vs. a partial Pregnancy to Employment assessment?
  • 5.1.6 What additional assessments are required?
  • 5.1.7 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they enter Pregnancy to Employment?
  • 5.1.8 What are the participation requirements during the first and second trimester?
  • 5.1.9 What are the participation requirements during the third trimester?
  • 5.1.10 What are the participation requirements after the child is born?
  • 5.1.11 What is the "infant exemption" and "toddler exemption" (previously known as infant exemption extension)?
  • 5.1.12 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they choose to claim the infant or toddler exemption?
  • 5.1.13 What is the "12-week postpartum exemption period"?
  • 5.1.14 How is the participant identified in eJAS once s/he chooses to claim the "12-week postpartum exemption period"?
  • 5.1.15 What are the Pregnancy to Employment participation options and requirements?
  • 5.1.16 What is WorkFirst Family Literacy?
  • 5.1.17 What is First Steps?
  • 5.1.18 Can a participant in Pregnancy to Employment be sanctioned?
  • 5.1.19 eJAS Codes
  • 5.1.20 Pregnancy to Employment - Step-by-step guide

5.1.1 What is Pregnancy to Employment?

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

  • Build a healthy family relationship,
  • Prepare them for engagement in WorkFirst activities while assuring the family's medical and other needs are addressed, and
  • Become self-sufficient.

The goal of P to E is to provide services that allow participants 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 participant's needs. The activities required will depend on:

  • The results of the assessment,
  • Where the participant is in her pregnancy or the age of the child, and
  • Services available in the community.

5.1.2 Who must participate in Pregnancy to Employment?

Every pregnant woman or parent(s) receiving TANF/SFA with a child under the age of two years 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.

Note:  Schedule an assessment using an ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05), the eJAS appointment letter, or in the IRP.

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.

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 participant to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) to participate in activities that:

  • Offer a combination of services that help to resolve the issues and at the same time prepares the participant for work, and
  • Provide a base from which the participant can start building and adding on activities that will help lead to self-sufficiency.

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:

  • Who is in the household besides the mother and child under two?
  • What type of family support is available?
  • Assess for all of the following:
    • Family Violence.
    • Family Planning.
    • First Steps.
    • Chemical Dependency.
    • Mental Health.
    • Child and adult health needs.
    • Documentation of involvement with WIC, prenatal care provider or pediatrician.
    • Activities the parent can engage in.

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

WorkFirst staff must schedule all P to E assessments within 30 days of the referral.

A participant must complete a full comprehensive assessment when the department first becomes aware they are:

  • Pregnant or
  • Parenting a child under the age of two.

NOTE: Don't require the other parent in a 2-parent household to complete a full assessment or any assessment before the baby is born.

A partial P to E assessment requirement applies to:

  • Both parents when they report the birth of the child, or
  • The parent choosing the infant or toddler exemption, or 12-week postpartum exemption that doesn't have a full nor partial completed assessment since the birth of the child, or
  • The other parent if added to the grant after the birth of the child.

NOTE: The WFSSS may require a partial assessment at any time if information received indicates 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 will be referred to a professional for medical corroboratory evidence to determine whether the parent needs mental health services.
  • Persons with an identified need for chemical dependency will be referred to a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) for a chemical dependency assessment to determine whether the parent needs chemical dependency treatment.

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 participant identified in eJAS once they enter Pregnancy to Employment?

PI (Pregnancy/Child under two) is the indicator component code used to identify P to E participants on the Component Screen in eJAS.

The PI indicator code allows staff to track and monitor all of their P to E participants. The PI component is NOT an activity; it is an identifier. Another component, such as GE or XP, should always go with the PI component, unless the parent/caregiver is is not required to participate, or is choosing not to participate, because they are:

  • In their third trimester of pregnancy,
  • Choosing the Infant or Toddler Exemption, or,
  • The non-participating parent in a two-parent household.

WF Staff should enter the PI component with zero hours for a maximum of 21 months. You may want to use the length of the component as a tickler for the pathway milestones.  Note: Staff will need to create a new PI component to capture months more than 21.

For example, a participant 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 participant will enter the third trimester, the date the baby is due or every three months until the date the baby reaches two years 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?

The third trimester of pregnancy starts 90 days before the estimated due date. For example, if the estimated due date is 7/14, the third trimester starts on 4/15. Please use the Defining 3rd Trimester Tip Sheet to determine the start date of the third trimester.

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

  • Be required to participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation, or an assessment, indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment (unless medical evidence indicates that the participant is not able to participate in any activity),or

  • In Parental Education Project pilot sites only, be required to participate up to 20 hours per week in parental education if the comprehensive evaluation or specialized assessment indicates a need for parental education or parenting skills training, or

  • Participate in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis, if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues, or

  • Choose not to participate in WorkFirst activities until delivery date, if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

Note: All pregnant minor participants must be actively participating in high school diploma or equivalency completion programs to remain eligible for benefits, therefore, they are not eligible to take the 3rd trimester exemption (see WAC 388-486-0010.)

If a mental health or chemical dependency professional indicates that a participant should do more than 20 hours per week of treatment, we should encourage them to participate in the number of hours recommended; however, we can only require 20 hours per week of participation. If they refuse to participate in required available treatment, follow the good cause process. Indicate the appropriate participation status on the "Component/IRP Information Screen" by selecting if the participant is:

•Required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment;

•Required to participate in parental education or parent skills training in Parental Education Project pilot sites only;

•Volunteering to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or

•Exempt from participating.

Note:  See section 3.5.2.4 before lifting a sanction in the third trimester.

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

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

  • Must, at minimum, complete a partial assessment with a WFSSS to assess the participant(s) needs for continued services when the child is born or prior to choosing the infant or toddler exemption, or postpartum exemption if no assessment has been completed since the child was born.
  • May choose to take the infant exemption, toddler exemption or postpartum exemption and not participate in WorkFirst activities until the child reaches the age of two years (only one parent living in the household can claim this exemption at any given time).
  • May volunteer to fully participate in WorkFirst activities (see WAC 388-310-0300).
  • May choose to take the 12-week postpartum exemption period if the participant used all of their 730 day lifetime infant or toddler exemption and chooses not to participate in WorkFirst activities until the child reaches 12 weeks of age.
  • Must participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment (unless medical evidence indicates that participant isn't able to participate in any activity).
  • Must participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for parental education or parent skills training in Parental Education Project pilot sites only.
  • Must complete an annual comprehensive evaluation and pregnancy to employment assessment if the CE results determine one is needed, once the participant reaches 365 days in the infant or toddler exemption.

If a participant qualifies for the infant exemption, toddler 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 won't pursue sanction if we learn they are no longer participating as required in their IRP.

Take the following steps when the participant stops participating:

  • Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the parent 10-day notice that we plan to put them into Infant or Toddler Exemption status.
  • If the participant contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants to continue participating, update the IRP as needed and don't enter the IE or TE component.
  • If the participant doesn't contact you:
    • Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and
    • Enter the infant exemption (IE) for families with a child under one year old, until (whichever comes first):
      • The child's first birthday,
      • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
      • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
    • Enter the toddler exemption (TE) for families with a one year old child, until (whichever comes first):
      • The child's second birthday,
      • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
      • 730 days if the total number of days in the IE or TE has exceeded 365.

Staff must also document in eJAS "Pregnancy/Parenting" notes the period of time the participant is taking the infant or toddler exemption and that they provided the letter.

Note: If a discrepancy in the number of infant exemption days used is identified, review the following information to determine if:   

  • TANF closed while the IE was being counted,
  • The participant was in an activity meeting minimum participation requirements,
  • There wasn't a child under one in the AU while the IE was being counted,
  • The IE component ‘Actual End Date’ field reflects the correct end date.

If the Actual End Date entered doesn’t reflect the date the IE should have been closed, contact Customer Support with the following information requiring an update:

  • The correct Actual End Date
  • The correct number of days used in the IE component

Until additional system changes become available, Customer Support will not be able to make adjustments to the TE component. 

If the participant stops participating in required mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment, start the good cause process whether or not the participant is using the IE or TE.  If the participant chose to use their IE or TE and enters sanction, they continue using their exemption. 

If a mental health or chemical dependency professional indicates that a participant should do more than 20 hours per week of treatment, encourage the participant to participate in the number of hours recommended; however, we can only REQUIRE 20 hours per week of participation.

5.1.11 What is the "infant exemption" and "toddler exemption" (previously known as infant exemption extension)?

Participants can choose to be excused from participating in WorkFirst activities during months that they're needed in the home to personally provide care for their child(ren) under two years of age. Participants have a personal responsibility to decide whether to choose the infant or toddler exemption. The exemptions aren't automatic; participants must choose to claim the exemption.

The infant and toddler exemption options serve as a safety net to allow participants to be in the home with their child for the early stages of development while still having WorkFirst opportunities available. Encouraging voluntary WorkFirst participation is important since the exemption doesn’t stop the 60-month TANF time limit clock.

When offering either exemption, staff must remind the participant of the benefits of participating in WorkFirst activities, such as:

  • Employment and training opportunities,
  • Enhancement of skills,
  • Support services and childcare.

All rules of the Infant Exemption (IE) apply to the Toddler Exemption (TE) except that the age requirement has expanded to one year old children and the lifetime limit has increased to 730 days.

  • Infant Exemption – Exemption from WorkFirst activities for participants with a child under the age of one.
  • Toddler Exemption – Exemption from WorkFirst activities for participants with a one year old child. 
  • Use of the Infant Exemption and/or Toddler Exemption can’t exceed 730 days in a participant’s lifetime on TANF.
  • The extension of the infant exemption to children under the age of two changes the way we code them in eJAS:
    • IE - Infant Exemption for a child under one year old
    • TE - Infant Exemption for a one year old child
  • Any combination of the IE and TE can be used for up to 730 days, but only one exemption can be used at any given time. If a household has multiple children under the age of two, use the infant or toddler exemption for the youngest child.

Note: If a discrepancy in the number of infant exemption days used is identified, review the following information to determine if:   

  • TANF closed while the IE was being counted,
  • The participant was in an activity meeting minimum participation requirements,
  • There wasn't a child under one in the AU while the IE was being counted,
  • The IE component ‘Actual End Date’ field reflects the correct end date.

If the Actual End Date entered doesn’t reflect the date the IE should have been closed, contact Customer Support with the following information requiring an update:

  • The correct Actual End Date
  • The correct number of days used in the IE component

Until additional system changes become available, Customer Support will not be able to make adjustments to the TE component. 

Only the custodial parent(s) can claim the infant or toddler exemption; needy relatives/caregivers aren’t eligible for this exemption unless they have legally been given parental rights.

Unmarried parenting minors can choose to take the IE for up to 12 weeks after the birth of the child.  After the 12 weeks, they are subject to the school attendance requirement for unmarried parenting minors. 

Only one participant living in the household with a child under two years old (even if there are two infants/toddlers in the household) can claim an infant or toddler exemption at any given time, for a maximum of 730 days in a lifetime, not to exceed 730 days. Participants choosing to use the infant or toddler exemption may:

  • Be required to participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment, or
  • Be required to participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for parental education or parent skills training in Parental Education Project pilot sites only, or
  • Participate in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.
  • Choose not to participate in WorkFirst activities for a set period of time or until the child turns two years of age if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

Remind the participant that they can only claim the infant or toddler exemption for 730 days in a lifetime.  Then tell the participant what their required participation will be if they DO claim the infant or toddler exemption, and if they DO NOT claim an exemption.  This will give the participant the information they need to decide whether to claim the exemption.  

Upon 365 days in either exemption (or combination of the two), WorkFirst staff must schedule an Annual Comprehensive Evaluation update appointment for the participant to review their situation and determine if they need any additional services.  WorkFirst staff may require a new Pregnancy to Employment Assessment at this time if deemed necessary. 

Example One: The assessment indicates a need for three hours a week of chemical dependency treatment.  You explain that the treatment is required and if the participant doesn’t want to claim the exemption they will be required to do an additional 17 hours of another approved activity.  The participant decides to use the infant exemption. Code the required treatment hours and infant exemption, and track treatment participation.  
Example Two: The assessment indicates a need for two hours a week of mental health treatment. Based on medical evidence, CE and assessment, the participant is unable to do anything but mental health treatment for at least the next six months.  You explain that participation requirements will be the same, whether or not the participant uses the infant exemption.  The participant decides not to use the infant exemption.  You code the treatment and track participation, but don’t code an IE.   
Example Three: Based on the CE and assessment, there are no mental health, chemical dependency or other barriers and the participant is working five hours per week. You explain that if the infant exemption isn't used, there will be requirements to participate in other activities to bring participation up to 20 hours per week.  The participant uses the infant exemption and continues to keep working voluntarily.  Code the infant exemption and work hours. We can provide support services and childcare because employment increases their self-sufficiency.
Example Four: This is a two-parent household.  Based on the CE, assessment and medical evidence, parent one is exempt due to a disability and parent two has no barriers.  You explain that only one parent can claim the exemption, parent one won’t be required to participate (whether or not they claim the infant exemption) and parent two will need to participate at least 35 hours per week if they don't claim the infant exemption. Parent two decides to use the infant exemption so they can care for parent one and newborn. You code parent one with an XB and parent two with an IE.
Example Five: A participant applies in September.  The participant opts for the toddler exemption for their 13 month old child (TE) and have only used three months of the exemption. The participant reapplies in June and now has a newborn child.  The participant wants to opt for the infant exemption for the newborn (IE) even though there are two qualifying children in the home. Once the newborn turns 9 months old, the participant exhausts 365 days between the Infant and Toddler Exemption.  The WFPS mails an engagement appointment. There are no mandatory requirements and the participant wants to continue providing care for the infant.  The participant continues taking the Infant Exemption for the newborn (IE) through the newborn's first birthday.  Once the newborn turns one, close the IE component and open the TE component.

 

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

The department will contact a participant choosing either exemption who isn’t engaged in any other WorkFirst activities once every three months to:

  • Offer available services and/or referrals.
  • Remind them that they can choose to end the exemption and engage in WorkFirst activities at any time.

The three-month contact may be either by a letter or telephone. (WorkFirst staff must document the contact in eJAS and update the IRP, if necessary)

5.1.12 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they choose to claim the infant or toddler exemption?

Component code IE will identify participants who are choosing the infant exemption for a child under the age of one and the TE to identify participants who are choosing the infant exemption for a one year old child. The component codes are:

  • For DSHS staff use only
  • Not able to generate support services
  • ONLY for parents who choose to use their exemption
  • Time limited (not to exceed 730 days)

Don't use this code for any other reason. Using this code for any other reason will make a participant's exemption count inaccurate.

eJAS will track and display the total number of days a participant uses their infant exemption in the "Number of days in IE" field on the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen.

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

  • Required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment;
  • Volunteering to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
  • Exempt from participating (choosing not to participate in any activities).

Staff will:

  • Use the eJAS component IE to identify the infant exemption period for a child under one.
  • Use the eJAS component TE to identify the infant exemption period for a one year old child.
  • After entering the IE or TE code, select the participation status.
  • Document the period of time a participant wants to take the infant exemption in eJAS notes under the "Pregnancy to Employment" note type.
  • Enter the IE or TE start date as the date the participant notifies the department that s/he wants to claim either infant exemption.
  • Enter the infant exemption (IE) end date for families with a child under one year old, until (whichever comes first):
    • The child’s first birthday,
    • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
    • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
  • Enter the toddler exemption (TE) end date for families with a one year old child, until (whichever comes first):
    • The child’s second birthday,
    • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
    • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
  • Use the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) and/or ad hoc report to monitor these cases.
  • Encourage participation in WorkFirst activities during this time-limited opportunity.

Note:

WorkFirst participants may choose to use their infant or toddler exemption when needed in the home to personally provide care for their child under two years of age whether they are receiving TANF for that child or not.

If the child under two years old isn't on the TANF assistance unit, add the child as a non-member.  ACES will then let eJAS know that the participant has a child under two years old in the home, and eJAS will allow you to code the IE or TE.

5.1.13 What is the 12-week postpartum exemption period?

Participants who have already claimed the infant or toddler exemption (or a combination of the two) for a maximum of 730 days can request an additional 12-week postpartum exemption period (84 days) if they have another child. This period allows participants to spend time with the newborn before they must participate in WorkFirst activities.

A participant 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 participant 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 participant is no longer participating as required in the IRP.

Take the following steps when the participant stops participating:

  • Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the parent 10-day notice that we plan to put them into the 12-week postpartum exemption period status.
  • If the participant contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants continue participating, update the IRP as needed and don't enter the IE or TE.
  • If the participant doesn't contact you:
    • Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and
    • Enter the postpartum exemption period (PD) until the child turns 12 weeks of age (not to exceed 84 days).

Staff must also document in eJAS "Pregnancy/Parenting" notes the period of time the participant 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 participant must participate up to 20 hours per week.

A participant 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 participant identified in eJAS once s/he chooses to claim the 12-week postpartum exemption period?

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

  • For DSHS staff use only.
  • Not able to generate support services.
  • ONLY to be used for participants who have exhausted their infant exemption and infant and toddler exemption and choose to use their 12-week postpartum exemption period.
  • Time limited (not to exceed 84 days).

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

  • Required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment;
  • Volunteering to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
  • Exempt from participating (choosing not to participate in any activities).

Staff will:

  • Use the eJAS component PD to identify the 12-week postpartum exemption period.
  • After entering the PD indicator code, select the participant's participation status.
  • Document the period of time a participant wants to take the 12-week postpartum exemption period in eJAS notes under the "Pregnancy to Employment" note type.
  • Enter the PD start date as the date the participant notifies the department that they wants to claim the 12-week postpartum exemption period and an end date of the elected 12-week postpartum exemption period, not to exceed 84 days.
  • Use the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) and/or ad hoc report to monitor these cases.

Encourage WorkFirst activities as the 12-week postpartum exemption period is limited to 84 days for each child after they have exhausted their infant or toddler exemption.

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:

  • Parenting education or parenting skills training
  • Safe and appropriate child care,
  • How to obtain good health care,
  • Life Skills classes with parenting components,
  • Mental health treatment,
  • Chemical dependency treatment,
  • Family violence services,
  • Education and training, or
  • Employment services.

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

The Pregnancy to Employment Participation and Coding Quick Guide, 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:

  • Basic literacy and job preparation skills;
  • Work activity for some parents or paid employment for others;
  • Wage and skill progression for working parents;
  • Family management and parenting skills; and
  • Learning success for all children in the family.

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:

  • ABE/ESL taught in the context of work skills that will lead to a job;
  • Family management/parenting skills (time management, fiscal management, communication among family members, the impact of work on family life/child behavior);
  • Age appropriate education for children while the parent is involved in work and education; and,
  • Parent and child activities that help children gain the literacy skills they need to succeed in school.
  • Involvement of the parent in their child's education.

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.

  • In addition to Family Literacy funded by WorkFirst, the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) through the Adult Basic Education Office funds Family Literacy at community colleges in 3 locations across the state. Each provider works with community partners like DSHS WFPS's and WFSSS's, Head Start and ECEAP directors, WorkSource Center staff, and First Steps case managers.

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.

First Steps services include, but are not limited to:

  • Prenatal Health Care
  • WIC
  • Pediatric Care
  • Family Planning
  • Childbirth Education
  • Lactation Consultation
  • WithinReach website (formally Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies)
  • Local community resources specific to individual needs, e.g. Domestic Violence hotline, educational resources, Crisis Clinic, mental health resources, car seats, food bank, CPR training resources, childcare, transportation, interpreter services, disability services, and the Tobacco quit line
  • Referral for Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA) services

The WFSSS should provide all pregnant women with information regarding the services available through the First Steps program as follows:

  • If a pregnant woman reports she is not active on Washington Apple Health (WAH) Medicaid, refer to www.wahealthplanfinder.org to apply for pregnancy medical. The Health Care Authority (HCA) will generate a monthly list for Fist Steps providers capturing all newly identified pregnant women on Medicaid.
  • If a woman already has health insurance and reports she is pregnant, let her know she can access First Steps by contacting the Within Reach Family Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

For additional information about the First Steps program visit the Social Services Manual by clicking here.

5.1.18 Can a participant in Pregnancy to Employment be sanctioned?

Participants in P to E may enter sanction for:

  • Refusing to participate in an assessment with the WFSSS to identify family needs and determine what WorkFirst services are appropriate, or
  • Not participating in other WorkFirst activities. (See 3.5.1 Sanction)

When a parent enters sanction for refusing to complete an assessment and they didn't choose the infant or toddler exemption, do not code the IE or TE with the sanction. 

When a participant enters sanction for refusing to complete an assessment, and then completes an assessment:

  • Lift the sanction the first of the following month, if not required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment, and if choosing the infant or toddler exemption;
  • Leave the participant in sanction until they participate for 4 consecutive weeks, if the assessment requires participation in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
  • Continue the sanction until they participate for 4 consecutive weeks, if not choosing either exemption.

Note:  When the parent is at the end of their exemption period and you schedule a next steps appointment, you can't sanction the parent for not attending the appointment during the parent’s exemption period. 

5.1.19 eJAS codes

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

  • RO is used to refer cases to the WFSSS and to require mental health assessments
  • PI (pregnancy/child under two) is an indicator for all participating in P to E
  • PD (postpartum exemption period) is an indicator to identify participants using the 12-week postpartum exemption period
  • IE (infant exemption) is an indicator to identify participants using their infant exemption for a child under the age of one
  • TE (toddler exemption) is an indicator to identify participants using their toddler exemption for a one year old child
  • XP is used for actual hours each week spent learning parenting skills, taking nutrition classes, choosing child care
  • XC is used for actual hours each week that no appropriate child care is available – or no appropriate care for an incapacitated adult

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 participant is in.

5.1.20 Pregnancy to Employment - Step-by-step guide

  1. The WFPS:
    1. Completes the Comprehensive Evaluation and chooses the appropriate pathway(s):
      1. Issue Resolution pathway if a P to E assessment is required,
      2. 3rd trimester of pregnancy Deferral pathway if she is in her 3rd trimester,
      3. Infant Exemption pathway if the participant has a child  under the age of one, or
      4. Toddler Exemption if the parent has a one year old child.

Note: The Infant or Toddler Exemption (or a combination of the two) can't be used for more than 730 days in a participant's lifetime on TANF.

  1. Refers all pregnant parents of children under the age of two 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 participant is pregnant or parenting a child under the age of two.
      2. The participant chooses the Infant or Toddler Exemption and hasn't completed an assessment since the child's birth.
    2. PI indicator to identify the participant in P to E. (Enter eJAS notes 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), participants in stand-alone PI will display in Participation Not Required (State Only) section. However, participants coded PI with other components will display in the section of the report determined appropriate based on their level of participation. For example, a participant is coded PI and 20 hours per week in PT. The participant will show in section 6 - Participation Below Full Time at WorkFirst Standard.

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 participant and review any other available information.
  2. Uses the assessment to identify the participant's strengths, barriers, issues and needs. Also the assessment needs to identify what activities a participant is able to do and the maximum number of participation hours including stacking activities so they participate 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 CE.
  4. Works with the WFPS, participant and other service providers (as appropriate) to build an IRP as required that addresses the participant's and child'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.

Either the WFSSS or WFPS - whomever is case managing the case:

  1. Updates the IRP if participating in WorkFirst activities,
  2. Monitors/reviews on a monthly basis for attendance and progress if participating in WorkFirst activities,
  3. Doesn't pursue sanction if the participant is no longer participating as required in the IRP if they qualify for an IE, TE or PD, don't have identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities. The following steps will be taken when the participant stops participating:
    1. Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the participant 10-day notice that we plan to put them into Infant Exemption status.
    2. Update the IRP as needed and don't enter the IE or TE if the participant contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants to continue participating.
    3. Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and enter the infant exemption (IE for a child under one or TE for a one year old child) if the parent doesn't contact you, until:
      1. The child's first or second birthday,
      2. 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
      3. 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
  4. After entering the IE or TE code, enter the appropriate participation status in the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field.
  5. If taking either 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 participant at least every three months to re-evaluate the participant's/child's needs to ensure that they are receiving the services they need.
  6. At each 3-month contact, the assigned worker will offer services, resources, and remind the participant that s/he can choose to end the exemption and fully participate in the WorkFirst program.
    • If the participant chooses to end their exemption, update the IRP to reflect any changes in their activity ensuring the IRP and activity reflect a steady progression towards work, looking for work, or preparing for work.
  7. If taking the postpartum exemption period, enter the PD code for the time the participant is choosing to claim this exemption up to 12 weeks.
  8. 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

5.2 Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway

Created on: 
Mar 01 2017

Revised on: February 27, 2018

Legal References:

The Limited English Proficiency Pathway section includes:

  • 5.2.1 What is the LEP Pathway?
  • 5.2.2 Who needs LEP Pathway services?
  • 5.2.3 Who are RCA/RF recipients and what are their participation requirements?
  • 5.2.4 Who are PRUCOL and what are their participation requirements?
  • 5.2.5 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation process for LEP parents?
  • 5.2.6 What are LEP Pathway participation activities?
  • 5.2.7 Can LEP parents/caregivers participate in non-LEP Pathway activities?
  • 5.2.8 When should LEP parents/caregivers be placed into a Community Service or Work Experience?
  • 5.2.9 What Job Skills Training and Customized Job Skills Training are provided through the LEP Pathway?
  • 5.2.10 When is it appropriate to code ESL as "JT" in eJAS?
  • 5.2.11 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL?
  • 5.2.12 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL when a parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO?
  • 5.2.13 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
  • 5.2.14 Who provides LEP Pathway services?
  • 5.2.15 LEP Pathway Step-by-Step Guide

5.2.1 What is the LEP Pathway?

The Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway provides specialized culturally appropriate services to refugees and other WorkFirst parents with limited English proficiency. The goal of the LEP Pathway is to increase parents' employability and self-sufficiency.

Key features of the Pathway are:

  • Use of bilingual and culturally appropriate services.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction
  • Specialized employment services such as job readiness training, skills training and job placement assistance, work experience and community service.

All LEP parents must be screened for Equal Access (EA) services and family violence.

5.2.2 Who needs LEP Pathway services?

Anyone who is receiving cash assistance and has difficulty understanding or communicating in English should be referred to the LEP Pathway. This includes:

  • An LEP parent with ESL Level 1 through 6 who is identified by college staff or an employment contractor as needing specialized assistance to participate.
  • Individuals receiving Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) or Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA).

5.2.3 Who are RCA/RF recipients and what are their participation requirements?

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA/RF) recipients are single or married individuals without dependents, and who cannot be claimed as someone else’s dependent.  They must meet program income and resource requirements, and their immigration status must allow them to access cash assistance. RCA/RF recipients who are not exempt are required to meet work and training (W&T) requirements, and can be served through the LEP Pathway to meet these requirements. See WAC 388-400-0030 , 388-466-0120388-466-0005, 388-466-0150.

Individuals receiving RCA/RF can receive cash for ONLY an 8 month period beginning in the first month they entered the United States.  For asylee (AS) and victims of trafficking (VT) clients, this is the date of their certification letter or order from the U.S. government.  Due to this short timeline, these clients need immediate, intensive job search and job placement assistance.

RCA/RF individuals:

  • Are referred to LEP Pathway contractor/as soon as possible

    • If there is no DSHS contracted LEP Pathway provider in the area, refer client to the available work and/or training provider.

  • Are not required to have an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP),

  • Must have an Employability Plan (EP) and a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan developed for them,

  • Must participate in work and/or training activities such as job search, ESL, skills training, etc. unless exempted

RCA/RF follows TANF exemption criteria. RCA/RF recipients are exempt from Work and Training (W&T) activities if they:

  1. are sixty (60) years of age or older,

  2. have a severe and chronic disability,

  3. are required to be in the home to care for another adult with disabilities, or

  4. are unable to participate in work activities because they are the victim of family violence.

Age (client is sixty years of age or older) is an unconditional exemption.  For all other reasons, client must provide proof that they are unable to participate in the form of medical testimony or other evidence.  An exempt RCA/RF client may voluntarily participate in W&T.

The W&T requirements of RCA/RF clients may be met through participation in the LEP Pathway. The LEP Pathway offers several participation options for parents to enhance their skills and employability. 

 

 

5.2.4 Who are PRUCOL and what are their participation requirements?

The acronym PRUCOL means Permanently Residing Under Color of Law. PRUCOL is not an alien status; it is a term used to define the eligibility of certain aliens for public benefits. PRUCOL includes any alien without official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) status who is residing and intends to reside in the U.S. indefinitely and the USCIS knows they are residing in the U.S. but does not take steps to enforce their departure. Examples of PRUCOL may include:

  • Applicants for asylum.
  • Suspension of deportation granted.
  • Voluntary departure granted.

For additional information see WAC 388-424-0001 and Eligibility A-Z Manual, Citizenship and Alien Status.

Some parents in PRUCOL status do not have work authorization and should not be referred to an employment provider. They are:

  • Excluded from work participation requirements.
  • Exempt from CE after completion of foundation section.
  • Referred to LEP Pathway for ESL instruction only if their English skills are limited.
  • May be referred to legal services for assistance to adjust their immigration status.
  • May be referred for participation in appropriate activities that do not require them to have Social Security Number (SSN) or work authorization (e.g. basic education and high school equivalency completion) to prepare for job search and employment later when they receive their work authorization.

To identify PRUCOL cases in eJAS add a PU component code to the eJAS component screen and refer to additional services as needed.

5.2.5 What is the CE process for LEP parents?

WorkFirst parents who are identified as LEP are required to complete the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and are referred to the LEP employment pathway for bilingual and culturally appropriate services.

5.2.6 What are LEP Pathway participation activities?

The LEP Pathway offers several participation options for parents to enhance their skills and employability. Core activities are countable toward the federal TANF participation rate; however, some core activities are time-limited. Non-core activities can only be countable toward the federal TANF participation rate if they are stacked with a 20 hour per week countable core activity. See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible.

  • FT participation can be met with standalone Pathway activities, Job Search (JS), Customized Job Skills Training (PE) or up to the monthly FLSA maximum Work Experience (WE), or Community Service (XS) within 30 days of their referral to the LEP Pathway employment contract.
  • Or by ESL instruction (JT) and Job Skills Training (JT) stacked with other WorkFirst core activities.

The LEP Pathway program includes:

  • “Core” activities:
    • Unsubsidized employment (FT, PT)
    • Job Search (JS) (time limited to 12 weeks)
    • Customized Job Skills Training (PE) (time limited to 12 months)
    • Community Service (XS)
    • Work Experience (WE)
  • “Non-core: Activities:
    • Job Skills Training (JT) is countable if stacked with 20 hrs of core activities.
    • ESL (JT) is countable if stacked with 20 hrs of core activities. See 5.2.10 for detailed explanation.
    • ESL (ES) is not countable towards participation.

Parents participating in the LEP pathway should:

  • Start their pathway participation activities within 30 days after approval for TANF/RCA assistance, if able.
  • Have full-time (35-40 hours a week) participation in Job Search (JS), Customized Job Skills Training (PE) or up to the monthly FLSA maximum Work Experience (WE) or Community Service (XS) within 30 days of their referral to the LEP Pathway employment contractor.
  • ESL instruction (JT) and Job Skills Training (JT) may be stacked with other WorkFirst core activities.
  • If at any time during participation, a job becomes available and has been offered to the parent, it is his/her responsibility to accept it, unless there is a good reason to refuse the job. For definitions of "good reason" see WAC 388-310-1600.
  • When a person is able, but refuses without good cause to accept a job, a sanction penalty is imposed following the Good Cause process.
  • Regular case staffing(s) are encouraged to review participation and progress.
  • Anyone with an EA plan may need more time in the component activity and fewer participation hours to accommodate their additional needs.
  • Parents who meet participation requirements are eligible for WorkFirst support services. For more information, see WAC 388-310-0800 .

Those who are working full time and are still eligible for TANF cash assistance should be encouraged, but not required, to enroll in educational activities along with their employment.

5.2.7 Can LEP parents participate/caregivers in non-LEP Pathway activities?

WorkFirst LEP parents/caregivers can participate in activities outside the LEP pathway. The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or Refugee Social Service Specialist (RSW) must follow the referral process as outlined in the appropriate WorkFirst chapter in those cases.

The following core activities are examples:

  • Community Jobs - CJ (Note: Some Commerce providers offer LEP CJ)
  • On-the-job Training - OT
  • Vocational Education - VE
  • High Wage High Demand Training - HW
  • High School completion or High School equivalency (age 19 or younger) - HS

Non-core activities used to stack with core activities, are also great opportunities when a participant doesn't need ESL. These activities can include:

  • High School completion (age 20 or older) - BE
  • High School equivalency (age 20 or older) - GE

The non-LEP pathway contractor or agency must report these activities, and the WFPS/RSW must review them.

5.2.8 When should LEP parents be placed into a Community Service or Work Experience?

Community Service is a structured unpaid work activity in which LEP TANF parents work for the direct benefit of the community under the support of a public or non-profit organization. It is a core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as XS on the eJAS component code screen.

Parents may be determined to be best suited for Community Service if they:

  • Have little or no work experience in the U.S. and placement in this activity will provide the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
  • Need to participate in a core work activity so their participation in a non-core work activity will count towards the WorkFirst participation rate.
  • Need additional core countable hours to meet minimum WorkFirst participation requirements;
  • Need to participate in a work activity pending start up of another activity (e.g. waiting for classes to begin, breaks between classes, etc.).

Work Experience (WEX) is a structured unpaid work activity, which offers an opportunity for parents to practice or expand their work skills in a supportive and flexible work environment in a public or non-profit organization. It is a core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as WE on the eJAS component code screen.

Parents may be determined to be best suited for a WEX if they:

  • Need time to acquire job skills needed for work and need minimal case management to be successful on the worksite.
  • Have work experience, but need additional experience to become competitive in the labor market.
  • Need to participate in a core work activity so their participation in a non-core work activity will count towards the WorkFirst participation rate; and/or
  • Need additional core countable hours to meet minimum WorkFirst participation requirements.

A Bilingual Site Supervisor can be assigned at the Community Service or WEX worksite to provide supervision and bilingual support to the parent, assisting in developing the skills, insights and attitudes that enhance the parent’s ability to advance toward eventual employment.

5.2.9 What Job Skills Training and Customized Job Skills Training are provided through the LEP Pathway?

Job skills training is a short term training that lasts up to seven weeks and enhances participant’s employability by providing instructions and teaching specific skills that are marketable to employers. This service is a non-core activity that must be stacked with a 20 hrs core activity to meet federal participation rate. It is coded as JT on the eJAS component code screen.

Customized Job Skills Training (CJST), formerly known as pre-employment training, is a 8-22 week training program that is customized for specific employers or tied to a specific industry. CJSTs must include industry-specific training and be tied to jobs with good labor market demand. It is a time-limited core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as PE on the eJAS component code screen.

5.2.10 When it is appropriate to code “JT” in eJAS?

ESL service is provided for participants with ESL levels 1-6 to assist in gaining language skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment. CASAS and ORIA approved assessment tools are used to determine a participant’s ESL level and language skill gains, as defined by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

  • Use the JT eJAS component code for ESL when stacked with 20 hours of core activities and indicate in the participant’s Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) that ESL is a skill needed for employment.

  • Use the ES eJAS component code for a stand-alone ESL activity until the participant's English proficiency is sufficient to participate in core activities.

5.2.11 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL?

Only classes with an expectation of homework equal to or greater than the scheduled class hours may be eligible for claiming unsupervised homework hours. We can claim up to one hour of unsupervised homework time for each hour of actual class time attended. If there is no homework expectation, we cannot claim homework hours.

Community or technical college contractors will use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to determine and document the total number of hours per week the parent will be participating, including: scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours. A copy of the completed WorkFirst Calculator Tool will be kept in the parent's file. Community or technical college contractors will combine the parent's actual attended hours with the allowable homework hours from the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to report via eJAS by the 10th of each month for the previous month as total participation hours.

Community Based Organization (CBO) contractors will use the Educational and Homework Requirements Worksheet (EHRW) to document scheduled class hours and the homework expectation for the class. Contractors must keep a copy of the EHRW form in the parent's case file. To claim homework hours, CBO contractors will double the parent's actual attendance hours to report via eJAS by the 10th of each month for the previous month.

5.2.12 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL when the parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO?

In the event that the parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO before completing his/her ESL class, one hour of homework time can be claimed for each actual class time hour attended by the parent if the homework expectation hours are equal to or greater than the scheduled class hours. This applies to community or technical college and CBO contractors.

For example, if a parent is scheduled to go to class for 12 hours a week for three months and he/she drops out or is referred back to the CSO after only two weeks of ESL class, with 18 hours of total class time attendance, then 36 total participation hours may be claimed for the parent (18 attendance hours plus 18 unsupervised homework hours).

5.2.13 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?

After two excused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/contractor will:

  • Send an immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW,
  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

Unexcused Absences

After two unexcused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/contractor will:

  • Send an immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW to initiate the good cause/sanction process,
  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

For more on how to treat excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 3.7.1.5.

5.2.14 Who provides LEP Pathway services?

LEP Pathway contractors are contracted through the DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) to provide ESL instruction and employment services to refugees and TANF parents. They:

  • Conduct/arrange CASAS test and ORIA approved assessment tools to determine a parent’s ESL proficiency level (LEP Pathway ESL Competency Levels).
  • Document the ESL Level and the date of the test in eJAS Demographics Screen.
  • Determine employability and develop an Employment Plan (EP) with full-time (35-40 hours a week) participation.
  • Consult with the DSHS WFPS/RSW to change/finalize the parent's IRP.
  • Provide/arrange necessary and culturally appropriate WorkFirst employment services. Provide/arrange ESL instruction, if needed.
  • Communicate the parent's employment status to the Community Services Office (CSO), document scheduled attendance, actual participating hours and any other changes on a monthly basis in the eJAS.

For a complete list of contracted LEP Pathway contractors by region, and their current eJAS contractor codes please see the LEP Pathway Contractors list.

5.2.15 LEP Pathway - Step-by-step guide

  1. After eligibility is established and public assistance is approved, the WFPS/RSW:
    1. Completes the eJAS Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) (See section 3.2- Comprehensive Evaluation for more information on the CE).
    2. Provides family planning and family violence information in the parent's primary language and makes necessary referrals.
    3. Refers the parent to RSW/Social Service Specialist (SW) for intensive services if there are barriers to participation or an emergent issue(s). The RSW/SW will determine whether the parent needs EA/NSA services and appropriate activities.
    4. After completing the CE chooses the LEP Pathway and refers the parent to the LEP Pathway contractor, if there are no barriers, for ESL level testing and creation of an Employment Plan:
      1. Enters LP and ES components with 0 participation hours for 10 business days. ES component is used to indicate a referral to the employment contractor for ESL testing and creation of the employment plan.
      2. Enters the LEP Pathway contractor code to both the LP and ES components by clicking on the "Add a Contractor" link above the components. (For help with Contractor code click the question mark "?" or use the LEP Pathway Contractors List.) The ES contractor code is opened to allow the contractor electronic access to the case in eJAS. The LP contractor code is opened to allow the WFPS/RSW to create the initial IRP.
      3. Creates an IRP from the LP component for ESL testing and completion of EP with chosen contractor.
      4. Creates/completes a referral to the contractor with
        • Contractor's agency name and code
        • Contact person name and phone number
        • Referral type - Participation
        • Parent's primary language
        • Description of expected specific activities (ESL testing, recommendations for EP) in Comments section
        • Signed Authorization for Release of Information on file
      5. EMessages the referral to the contractor,
      6. Prints the referral for the parent and explains that it is parent's responsibility to contact the contractor.
    5. If the LEP parent is a returner, asks if he/she is already working with a contractor. If yes, generates a referral to this contractor and continues working with the case as usual. When referring the participating parent to a different contractor, notifies the previous contractor immediately.
  2. The LEP Pathway contractor:
    1. Accepts the ES component by entering the date when the referral is accepted.
    2. Makes all efforts to contact the parent as soon as possible to make an appointment.
    3. Reviews the results of the CE and meets with the parent for a face-to-face interview.
    4. Conducts/arranges for the CASAS language testing.
    5. Enters the ESL level and CASAS test date on the Client Demographic Screen and in the Client Notes.
    6. If the ESL level is 1 through 6:
      1. Reviews together with the parent his/her previous education, training, work history, skills and occupational goals to determine appropriate activities.
      2. Discusses WorkFirst participation requirements with the parent and develops a written Employment Plan.
      3. Completes the eJAS Client Notes and eMessages to WFPS/RSW information about the first meeting, recommends employment activities, and explains why they may be beneficial. Indicates if any of the following activities are recommended:
        • ESL instructions only
        • ESL instructions when combined with other activities as a skill needed for employment
        • Skills Enhancement training when meeting the 20 hour core participation
        • Customized Job Skills Training
        • Community Service
        • Work Experience
        • Job Search
        • Other non-LEP Pathway employment services deemed necessary (i.e. Vocational Education, Community Jobs, etc.)
    7. Rejects the ES component by referring back the parent to the CSO within ten business days if no contact was made (face-to-face meeting with the parent) by the tenth business day.
  3. The WFPS/RSW:
    1. Discusses the proposed participation activities with LEP Pathway contractor to reach an agreement;
    2. Extends the LP indicator code on the Active Component Screen for the duration of the LEP Pathway services in addition to opened participation components;
    3. Finalizes the IRP and enters the activity components with the scheduled hours of participation and the contractor's 3 digit code;
    4. Uses the following eJAS component codes for ESL instructions:
      • JT if the ESL is stacked with a core activity
      • ES if the ESL is recommended as a stand-alone activity
  4. The LEP Pathway contractor:
    1. Works with WFPS/RSW to discuss and finalize the suggested activities. Makes sure that the parent is a part of the decision making process.
    2. Modifies the Employment Plan as needed and schedules the parent for full-time (35 to 40 hours a week) WorkFirst activities using the stacking activities as needed.
    3. Enters the date the parent began participating in WorkFirst activities in Actual Start Date column of Contractor Caseload Screen.
    4. Documents parent's actual participating hours by keeping daily attendance/timesheets. Documents excused absences in eJAS and states the reason for absence in eJAS Notes. (Although not specifically stated in WAC, cultural holidays may be considered an excused absence.)
    5. Reports actual participation hours monthly on the eJAS Contractor Caseload and Multiple Clients Monthly Participation screens by the 10th of the following month for the previous month's activities.
    6. Reports in eJAS any issues identified. Attempts to resolve the issue with the parent and involves the WFPS/RSW immediately when unable to resolve or if the issues are affecting the parent's ability to participate.
    7. Sends immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW within 1 business day after a parent has 2 excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month by using the "Immediate Notify" column in the Contractor Caseload screen, and keeps the activity open. (Refer to section 5.2.13- What steps do you take when a parent is absent?)
    8. Contacts the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.
    9. Sends immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW when a parent is unable to participate for the scheduled number of hours. Initiates conversation with WFPS/RSW and parent about whether the activity is appropriate.
    10. Updates LEP Update Section in the Comprehensive Evaluation.
    11. Monitors employed parents for a minimum of 90 days following job placement.
  5. The WFPS/RSW:
    1. Continues to monitor the LEP Pathway case.
    2. Addresses any rejected referrals.
    3. Refer parents with ESL level 5 and 6 to ESD, Commerce or Education and Training activities for employment services.
    4. Updates the IRP and eJAS with any activity changes as follows:
      1. Updates activity components and enter contractor's 3 digit code (LEP Pathway Contractors List) in eJAS Active Components screen to give the contractor access to the case record.
      2. Updates or creates a new IRP, if necessary, and has the parent sign it.
      3. Documents scheduled WorkFirst activities in eJAS LEP notes.
    5. Notifies the contractor of changes in the parents' participation requirements so that EP can be updated.
    6. Reviews the Contractors Caseload and Monthly Participation screens for monthly reporting. If the contractor is not reporting as required, contacts the Supervisor. If unable to resolve the issue locally, the regional WorkFirst Coordinator would contact ORIA who will work with the contractor on any issues.
    7. Reviews the case every 90 days for participation and progress. The participating parent may be reassigned to a new contractor if the WFPS/RSW believes progress will not be made with the current contractor. Notifies the current contractor immediately about the change in contractor and indicates the reason for it.
    8. Notifies the LEP contractor if the parent moves to different address outside of the CSO area or has been referred to a different contractor and indicates why.
    9. Updates the eJAS Employment screen as soon as possible with employment information received from contractor.
    10. Ensures the ACES ERN screen is updated.

Note: "PT" and "FT" components for LEP Pathway parents always need a 3 digit contractor code to allow the contractor an eJAS access to the case for additional monitoring and reporting. When closing WorkFirst case, remember to leave the eJAS case open for another 4 months from the date of TANF closure.

For a summary of the LEP Pathway process, please see the TANF/WorkFirst Application and LEP Pathway Program flow chart.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Forms & Other Resources

5.3 Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET)

5.3 What is Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET)?

Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) provides training and education with a goal of assisting Basic Food recipients in attaining a living wage career. BFET services are available from all WA State community and technical colleges as well as many non-college community based organization (CBO) contractors.

BFET can assist participants with job readiness if they aren’t receiving TANF but are receiving food assistance by providing the following:

  • Job search,
  • Job readiness (mock interviews, strategies, etc.),
  • Basic education (computer training, LEP, etc.),
  • Vocational training, or
  • Support services (transportation help, childcare, housing, clothing, etc.),
  • Job retention and wage progression services.

How is BFET different from TANF?

  • Voluntary
  • No minimum hourly requirement
  • Can do job search and/or training
  • No time limit
  • No monetary grant

Each BFET provider has their own unique program focusing on one or more of the above services. Participants can find out more about these programs by contacting a provider by phone (using the brochure below) or by visiting https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/community-partnership-program/basic-food-employment-training-bfet.

The following brochures about Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) are available:

WorkFirst staff will take the following steps when participants transition from BFET to TANF:

  1. Leave the FI component open (this must remain open for billing reasons and will auto close 30 days from the actual end date of the BFET components).
  2. Close all other BFET activity components
    1. Use the day before TANF approval as the actual end date for the component
    2. Use IC as the closure code for closing the component.
  3. Send an eJAS eMessage to the BFET Operations Manager notifying them of change in program. You can find the BFET Operations Managers name in the eJAS demographic information screen under case manager before it changes to the ongoing WFPS.

See Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) Program