Average Number of Clients Served Daily: 66
Average Monthly Food Caseloads: 6,855
Average Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Caseloads: 414
Average Aged, Blind or Disabled Caseloads: 229
Number of Community Services Division Staff in Wenatchee CSO: 26
Co-located Partners and Number of Staff
Customer Service Contact Center: 9
Division of Child Support: 32
Children’s Administration: 32
Department of Early Learning: 32
Rehabilitation Administration: 3
Interim Community Service Office Administrator
Known as the apple capital of Washington state, Wenatchee has a large percentage of seasonal agriculture and construction employers and employees, many of whom are served by the Wenatchee Community Services Office - CSO.
At the Wenatchee CSO, staff members were excited to apply to be a pilot office in the Systems to Family Stability Policy Academy. The freedom to design their own pilot project was liberating and daunting. It was great to “color outside the lines,” staff said, while planning how the process would work and how to measure success.
Wenatchee CSO’s pilot provides intensive wraparound services to parents who have cycled off and returned to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - TANF. These services include weekly meetings, case staffing, whole-family coaching and life skills. The local Division of Child Support office and Working Connections Child Care team have been integral parts of the pilot. The support enforcement officers and Working Connections Child Care staff attend the initial interviews to explain to parents the process for establishing child support and receiving assistance in paying for child care. Clients are giving positive feedback, saying it is helpful to understand the processes upfront.
CSO staff expressed the best parts of the pilot are the weekly one-on-one meetings with their clients and the relationships they are building as a result of these meetings, where the focus is on goal-setting. The meetings allow clients to feel empowered and vocalize their futures. Staff members also say they feel they are perceived more as a partner and a resource than someone enforcing requirements and sanctions.
Several areas have challenged CSO staff since the pilot started. Because the pilot was voluntary, it was initially challenging to convince clients to volunteer to participate and therefore waiting for clients to come on board was difficult. Now that the pilot is underway, the challenges are reviewing the new approaches, seeing what is working, what is not working and making adjustments.
The Wenatchee CSO staff is thankful for the opportunity to participate in Systems to Family Stability and can see success already.
“We are changing the way we do business,” staff members say.