3.4 Case Staffing

Created on: 
Aug 15 2017

Revised on March 20, 2023

Legal References:

The Case Staffing section includes:

  • 3.4.1 What is a case staffing?
  • 3.4.2 Who needs a case staffing?
  • 3.4.3 When are case staffings mandatory?
  • 3.4.4 Who do you involve in a case staffing?
  • 3.4.5 What are the benefits of a case staffing?
  • 3.4.6 Case Staffing - Step-by-Step Guide

3.4.1 What is a case staffing?

A case staffing is an opportunity for the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) and/or the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to exchange information about the participant and gain consultation from other professionals. It is a group process in which the case worker (WFPS or WFSSS) invites two or more professionals and others involved with the participant to help identify issues, suggest problem resolution strategies, and recommend service options.


  • Gather demographics (names, ages of family members and others in the household)
  • Invite at least two other relevant professionals such as social service specialists or persons from other agencies that work(ed) with the participant. A minimum of two professionals, the WFPS/WFSSS and at least one other professional must be present to conduct a case staffing.
  • Advise participants facing sanction that they can invite anyone they choose.
  • Document in eJAS Case Staffing notes:
    • Who attended (relevant professionals).
    • Circumstances of the case
    • Issues, strengths, concerns and anticipated duration of issues or concerns. Strengths may be having a high school diploma, stable housing, or reliable transportation. If possible, identify how strengths may help address any barriers such as how the participant's education may be helpful in obtaining employment.
    • Whether you screened the participant for EA and if there is an EA plan. Take appropriate steps to modify the EA plan as needed.
    • Past or present issues and how they were addressed. 
    • Roles and responsibilities of those involved with the participant.
    • Create a joint action plan with time-frames and expected outcomes.
  • Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) Case Staffing Documentation Standard: In addition to the eJAS Case Staffing documentation, you must:
    • Document that you reviewed and discussed all available information with one or more professionals, and
    • Include an explanation of the decision whether or not to pursue sanction.

3.4.2 Who needs a case staffing?

The participant may need a case staffing at any point when it appears they are not making progress or there are significant issues to address. It is important that you do everything you can for families before they reach 60 months on WorkFirst. Staff can conduct case staffings as early and regularly as possible. Some case staffings are mandatory, others are conducted based on the recommendation of the WFPS, WFSSS, partner agency or contractor such as Community Jobs.

Below are some strategies local Community Service Offices (CSOs) use to make this effective tool available to a broad range of participants:

  • All Cases: Conduct case staffings on an entire caseload to ensure all participants met with WF staff, have a reasonable and timely IRP, and have timely and appropriate referrals. This is helpful to maximize participation. This can be an in depth review or the case including identifying issues and action steps addressing the issues. You must invite at least two other professionals such as WFSSS or persons from other agencies that have worked with the sanctioned participant. Depending on the type of case being staffed, staff may invite Employment Security Department, college staff, community jobs contractors, or other community contractors.
  • Cases with common characteristics: Staff common cases (such as all employed, all sanctioned, or all X cases) to develop specialized processes and resources to address the needs of groups of participants. With this type of staffing, you may refer participants to existing services and make plans to fill gaps in services. 
  • Difficult cases: Staff cases discussed in 3.4 Intensive Services. This particular type of case staffing generally requires more time to conduct a review of the case and develop a plan to meet the participant's needs.
  • Employment Security Department (ESD) and DSHS staff talk to the participant about options available for the next step who are nearing completion of Career Scope services without finding a job. Options include Work Experience (WEX), on-the-job training opportunities, Community Jobs, approved training, including basic education, or additional Career Scope services if appropriate. Local staff should work together to develop processes that will make sure participants don't lost momentum in participation as they transition from one activity to another.

3.4.3 When are case staffings mandatory?

Case staffings are mandatory for participants who haven't participated in WorkFirst activities, without good cause, before entering sanction status.

The goal of the NCS Case Staffing is to re-engage the participant into appropriate WorkFirst activities.

A good cause/non-compliance Sanction (NCS) case staffing requires the assigned worker to invite two other relevant professionals such as the WFPS/WFSSS, Public Health Nurse, Chemical Dependency Professional, etc. The worker (WFPS or WFSSS) assigned to the case counts as one professional.

It is extremely important to invite a Child Welfare Programs (CWP) Social Service Specialist if CWP is working with the individual.

For more information regarding good cause/NCS case staffings, please refer to section 3.5.1 Entering Sanction.

3.4.4 Who do you involve in a case staffing?

As shown in the chart below, depending on the participant's circumstances, you may want to invite different people to attend a case staffing.

Most state employees attend at no cost. Support services are available if a psychologist or similar professional needs to be paid. Your local region or office may consider some instances, such as "all case" reviews, as staff training and pay as a training cost. Other payment options include exception to rule, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) funds, Social Services Payment System dollars, school district support, or Labor & Industries, accommodation and diagnostic money.

If key professionals can't attend, then the WFPS or WFSSS should attempt to gather information prior to the staffing through phone calls and/or other correspondence.

WorkFirst staff

Note: PRISM is a useful tool to identify potential issues that prevent participation; however, use of PRISM to gather information for purposes of imposing sanctions for failure to follow through with requirements is prohibited.
Suggested case staffing participants
Children's special needs
  • DDA case manager
  • Child psychologist
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Health or Mental Health Provider
  • Mental Health Provider
Chemical Dependency
  • Alcohol & Drug Assessment staff
  • Mental Health provider
  • Child Welfare Program staff
Cultural issues
  • Refugee service providers
  • Tribal representatives
  • Indian Policy and Affairs staff
  • Migrant & Seasonal Farm Worker representative
  • Affiliate from Religious Organization
Wage progression
  • Community/technical college staff
  • ESD staff
  • Employer
Child care
  • Child Care Information & Referral
  • Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) staff
  • Child Welfare Program staff
Job retention
  • ESD staff
  • Employment-focused Mental Health Provider
  • Independent living specialist
  • Employer
  • Community/technical college staff
Family violence
  • Family violence advocate and/or community service provider
  • Mental health provider
  • Child Welfare Program staff
  • Attorney of criminal and/or civil case(s)
Legal, probation & parole
  • Dept. of Corrections staff
  • Local judicial staff

3.4.5 What are the benefits of case staffing?

Case staffings usually provide another approach to identify concerns by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts to review cases, identify resolution strategies, and recommend solutions. Bringing the group together for this purpose increases everyone's understanding of services and expertise available in the community and provides an opportunity for creative problem solving and resource development.

A good case staffing brings the right people to the table to identify the needs and suggest or supply the resources to meet those needs. For more information regarding good cause/NCS case staffings, please refer to section 3.5.1 Entering Sanction.

3.4.6 Case Staffing - Step-by-step guide

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines the type of case staffing needed (all cases, specified type of cases or a difficult case);
    2. Invites the appropriate case staffing attendees; and
    3. Prepares copies of the IRP/case demographics for the staffing.
  2. The case staffing group:
    1. Identifies, prioritizes and determines who meets each participant's need;
    2. Increases emphasis on work/work activities as other issues are resolved;
    3. Creates short-term and long-term goals, with plans to meet each; and
    4. Establishes and documents in eJAS time frames for results or review of the IRP.
  3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Makes the agreed upon referrals, updates the IRP and EA plan as needed;
    2. Authorizes needed support services; and
    3. Documents
      • The attendees,
      • Circumstances of the case,
      • Case staffing results including issues, strengths, EA plans and any steps necessary to address issues,
      • When doing NCS case staffing, an explanation of the decision whether or not to pursue sanction/NCS. Please refer to section 3.5.1 Entering Sanction for more information.
Note: Case Staffing screens are considered special records (highly protected) for DSHS-only (see guide below).
Note: It is critical that you invite the Child Welfare Program (CWP) Social Service Specialist to the good cause/NCS case staffing if the family is involved with CWP.

eJAS Case Staffing Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Log into eJAS, enter the participant's JAS ID number and from the main menu, click on the "Case Staffing/Extension Review" link. Once the Case Staffing page, click on the "Create Case Staffing" link.
  2. Case Data Tab:
    • Staffing Date: Enter the date. To display the calendar help screen, click the icon beside the staffing date entry box.
    • Component IRP: To display the active components and IRP screen, click this button.
    • Referral: To create and send a referral, click this button.
    • Completed Date: Complete this box ONLY when you have fully finished the case staffing. Once completed you can't modify this Case Staffing event anymore.
  3. Attendees Tab:
    • Enter a minimum of two Case Staffing attendee's names in the boxes provided. A minimum of two professionals are required to conduct the case staffing, the assigned worker (WFPS/WFSSS) counts as one professional.
  4. Issues/Notes Tab:
    • Click "Create New Notes."
    • On the Create Notes page, select the issues prior to documentation
    • Click "Begin Notes."
    • Enter your notes on the text box.
    • Click "Continue with Note List" to go to the next issue or go back to Case Staffing.
  5. Case Staffing Result Letter:
    • Select the Case Staffing Result Letter and customize the letter to reflect the results of the case staffing. Print the letter and give/send the participant a copy of the letter. If necessary, translate the Case Staffing Result Letter into the appropriate language and send translated document to DMS.
  6. Saving:
    • Clicking from one tab to another will save the entries for the previous tab.
    • To save a Case Staffing entry as complete, you need to enter a date and select the appropriate case staffing event type(s)
      • Sanction
      • 60 month
      • Exempt
      • Other


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