6.2 Assessment

Created on: 
Sep 28 2018

Revised on May 19, 2021

Legal References:

The Assessment section includes:

  • 6.2.1 What are assessments?
  • 6.2.2 Who needs it?
  • 6.2.3 Are there issues to be resolved?
  • 6.2.4 Are there any other considerations?
  • 6.2.5 eJAS Codes
  • 6.2.6 Pregnant Women's Assistance (PWA) referral and assessment process
  • 6.2.7 Assessment - Step-by-Step

6.2.1 What are assessments?

An assessment is an analysis used by a WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to gather detailed information about a participant's life and issues that may impact their ability to support their family. Obtaining information from a participant during an assessment can be difficult. Use open ended question to assist in getting the information needed to establish supportive WorkFirst activities. Results of these assessments are used to establish WorkFirst activities for intensive services for participants. The Pathway Development Tool (PDT) is one way to complete assessments allowing for a full assessment or partial assessment to be completed (See WFHB 3.2.3).

Assessments include:

  • Basic participant information, such as name, address, assistance unit, education/employment, family planning and other agency involvement.
  • Issues of the Pregnancy to Employment population such as pregnancy, child health and child care. (Only completed as needed.)
  • Other concerns, such as health issues or family violence. (Only completed as needed.)
  • A plan to help resolve the issue or issues.

6.2.2 Who needs it?

An assessment reveals a participant's issues and strengths, so we can connect the participant to appropriate resources, services, and activities to foster self-sufficiency.

Request an assessment:

  • For participants who are pregnant or have a child less than twenty-four months old,
  • For pregnant or parenting minors who require a determination of the appropriateness of their living arrangements,
  • For In Loco Parentis caregivers, voluntarily, as a part of a Character, Competency, and Suitability review, 
  • For a recipient of Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA),
  • When a participant has an issue that they can't easily resolve, such as mental health or substance abuse,
  • When a participant is engaged in WorkFirst activities, but may also need to spend some time working on issues that interfere with employment,
  • When an eJAS comprehensive evaluation or the eJAS note type indicates further assessment is needed to determine next steps, and
  • During the application process, if the participant has an immediate or urgent need.

6.2.3 Issues to be resolved

As shown in the chart below, there are many issues that may interfere with a participant's ability to become self-sufficient, provide stability or care for a child in their home. Any indication of the issues listed below may require a WFSSS assessment so they can be addressed.

Key Issues to resolve
Education & employment Problems in school or on the job may indicate hidden learning disabilities, critical skills gaps, or other factors that require further evaluation.
General health Lack of dental care or physical disabilities may require a referral to a dentist, doctor, SSI or DVR.
Pregnancy or parent of child less than 24 months old Help is available to provide prenatal care, child support, parent education, and to create a better support system.
Family planning Family planning services are available to avoid unintended pregnancies that can make it harder to achieve independence.
Child health & nutrition Help obtaining immunizations, regular well-child check-ups and health or nutrition advice.
Parent/child development Parenting classes are available to deal with the issues faced by working parents.
Mental/Emotional health Help is available to deal with depression, anxiety, anger, grief or the aftermath of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
Domestic violence Connect participants with domestic violence agencies for expert advice and assistance.
Substance abuse/Chemical dependency Refer participants for substance abuse/chemical dependency assessment and treatment.
Housing/TLA eligibility Help in finding stable and adequate housing, or supporting determination of appropriateness of living situation for pregnant/parenting teens in Teen Living Assessments (TLA.) 
Child care Help in finding safe, affordable, and reliable child care.
Transportation Help in developing a reliable transportation plan (looking at mass transit, insurance, driver's license issues).
Legal Issues (Past or Present) Help in dealing with various legal issues that can interfere with employment (like evictions, bankruptcy, or criminal history such as a current or past offense towards children or vulnerable adults). 
Other agencies/Tribal Connect the participant to other resources (like Head Start or tribal services) or coordinate with other agencies (like CPS).

6.2.4 Are there other considerations?

A participant may need additional assessments based on the results of a social service assessment. For example, it may indicate a need for a DASA referral, so the participant can be assessed further for drug and alcohol treatment.

6.2.5 eJAS codes

When referring a participant to the WFSSS for an assessment, use the eJAS referral codes, such as:

  • RO (Other), or
  • SR (referred for drug/alcohol assessment)

6.2.6 Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) referral and assessment process

When a pregnant woman applies for Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) and isn't eligible for a 60 month TANF Time Limit Extension, the  Case Manager (WFSSS) accepts the referral and assesses the PWA recipients' needs. All financial eligibility has been determined before the Case Manager (WFSSS) completes the First Steps Assessment (see WFHB 5.1.18 What is First Steps?).

During the assessment, the Case Manager (WFSSS):

  • Screens the recipient for Equal Access needs.
  • Screens the recipient for Protective Payee service needs.
  • Reviews the TANF Time Limit Extension hardship categories with the recipient to determine if the recipient meets any hardship criteria.
  • Screens for substance use treatment needs:
    • If the recipient is in need of a substance use assessment, makes the appropriate referrals.
      • Once verification returns, if the recommendation is for substance use treatment, ongoing case management is required by the Case Manager (WFSSS).
      • The Case Manager (WFSSS) sets a Barcode tickle to track the case monthly if recommendation is for substance use treatment. 
    • If substance use has been ruled out and the substance use professional is not recommending treatment activities, case management is not required by the Case Manager (WFSSS).

See the PWA flow chart and CSD procedure, Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) for additional information. 

6.2.7 Assessment - Step-by-step guide

  1.  The WFPS refers a participant to a WFSSS for an assessment when:
    1. The participant is pregnant or parenting a child under 24 months;
    2. A comprehensive evaluation or participant interaction indicates further assessment is needed to determine next (or additional) steps; or
    3. There is a need for an assessment.
  2. The WFSSS conducts the assessment using the PDT and based on the findings of the assessment, provides services, refers and connects the participant to the appropriate resources, activities and services.
  3. The WFSSS and WFPS decide whether the participant is deferred from all other activities or combine issue resolution with WorkFirst participation and:
    1. Builds an IRP with the participant that reflects issue resolution services and activities.
    2. Documents any new components in eJAS.
    3. Monitors the participant's progress closely and authorize support services when necessary.
    4. Connects the participant with employment-related services as soon as possible, once issues are sufficiently resolved.


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