8.5 Voluntary/Court Ordered Community Service

Legal References:

The Voluntary & Court Ordered Community Service Section includes:

  • 8.5.1 What is voluntary Community Service?
  • 8.5.2 Who authorizes voluntary and court-ordered Community Service?
  • 8.5.3 When do I approve Community Service activities?
  • 8.5.4 How do I set up Community Service activities?
  • 8.5.5 How does the WFPS/WFSSS authorize L&I coverage?
  • 8.5.6 Community Service Step by Step guide

8.5.1 What is voluntary community service?

Voluntary community service is an opportunity for participants to volunteer in activities with their child’s licensed child care, preschool, elementary school, Head Start, and ECEAP.This gives participants an opportunity to build their employment and parenting skills while spending time with their young children. This activity is only authorized for licensed child cares and preschools.

The WFPS/WFSSS doesn’t develop voluntary community sites.  Participants will work with their child’s licensed child care, licensed preschool or elementary school to set these up and lets their WFPS/WFSSS know the site and their volunteer hours.  We then follow the process below to make needed arrangements to support the activity.

Give participants who are interested in pursuing voluntary community service the informational flyer called WorkFirst Parent Volunteers. It will give them basic information about where they can volunteer, how to find a volunteer job and what they might be doing in their volunteer job.  It will also ask them to contact you once they have a volunteer job to provide their schedule and to make arrangements to verify their hours.

A poster, called Looking for WorkFirst Parent Volunteers, is also available for providers and CSOs to make participants aware of voluntary community service.   Providers who are promoting the activity will also have access to the WorkFirst Parent Volunteers flyer.


8.5.2 Who authorizes voluntary and court-ordered Community Service?

Commerce may stack community service activities with a Community Jobs placement using their own processes to monitor participation and pay L&I premiums. (See WFHB 8.3.5)

The WFPS/WFSSS may authorize voluntary or court ordered community service. Use the “VS eJAS component for self-initiated voluntary community service and “XS” for court-ordered community service.

8.5.3 When do I approve Community Service activities?

Community Service can be used in a variety of ways to help a participant meet participation requirements.  Staff may only approve voluntary and court-ordered community service. We don’t establish community service opportunities at other types of sites, such as food banks or state agencies. See the Stacking Activities section for more information about how we use participation in Community Service activities to meet participation requirements.

The WFPS/WFSSS may authorize voluntary or court ordered community service activities when the participant:

  • Needs a primary core activity, short term activity or additional hours of core or non-core activity to reach full time participation.
  • Wants to volunteer in a voluntary community service activity to build employment and parenting skills.
  • Has court-ordered community service.

8.5.4 How do I set up Community Service activities?

Staff must determine how many hours per week the parent can do community service activities.  See the FLSA/Deeming section for more information on how to calculate the number of hours we can require in Community Services activities. The court sets hourly requirements for court-ordered community service.

Staff must also ensure the voluntary community service is supervised and make arrangements to verify the actual hours of participation. The WFPS/WFSSS follows the non-contracted service documentation process in WFHB including use of the WorkFirst Participation Verification form. The WFPS/WFSSS must ensure the parent is covered by industrial insurance (also known as worker’s compensation or L&I). If this coverage is not provided by the site, follow the instructions in section WFHB 8.6.5 to authorize the industrial insurance payments.

8.5.5 How does the WFPS/WFSSS authorize L&I coverage?

If the volunteer site is not paying the parent’s required L&I premiums, the WFPS/WFSSS:

  1. Provides the following information to VolComm@dshs.wa.gov by the 10th of the following month:
    1. Parent’s name and eJAS ID;
    2. Actual hours of time at the site (limited to FLSA rules); and
    3. Travel time to and from the volunteer site.

8.5.6 Community Service-Step by Step guide

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Give a copy of the WorkFirst Parent Volunteers flyer to participants who are interested in pursuing voluntary community service.
    2. Use the FLSA calculator to determine the number of hours we can require in an IRP. (For two-parent families the two parent deeming rules apply-see WFHB
    3. Create the IRP component using:
      • XS for court-ordered community service.
      • VS for self initiated volunteering at a child care, preschool, or elementary school in which the client’s child is enrolled.
    4. Authorize needed support services.
    5. Use the WorkFirst Participation Verification form to verify the actual hours.
    6. Ensures the parent has L&I coverage. (Please note that if the site already has L&I coverage in place for volunteers, this will need to be documented in eJAS case notes).
    7. Monitor the parent’s participation monthly.
    8. Follows the good-cause and sanction process if the parent is not participating.


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