1.3 Up-front Screening and Referrals

Revised on: September 20, 2021

Legal References:

The Up-front Screening and Referrals section includes:

  • 1.3.1 What up-front referrals are required?
  • 1.3.2 What does Equal Access mean?
  • 1.3.3 What is family planning?
  • 1.3.4 How to screen for family planning?
  • 1.3.5 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?
  • 1.3.6 Examples of various types of family planning screenings  
  • 1.3.7 Family Planning step-by step guide

1.3.1 What up-front referrals are required?

Some issues may need to be considered when developing an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). Up-front referrals, screenings, and evaluations include, but are not limited to, the:

  • Comprehensive evaluation
  • Family Planning screening
  • Family Violence screening
  • Equal Access
  • Social service assessment
  • Pregnancy to Employment (PTE) assessment
  • Learning Needs screening

The remainder of this section describes Equal Access (formerly known as NSA) and family planning. Other assessments and evaluations are described in the Comprehensive EvaluationResolving Issues and Pregnancy to Employment sections. You can find links to these other sections, and more information listed in the resource section below.

1.3.2 What do Equal Access (EA) services mean?

CSO staff screen all heads of household to determine if the individual requires a reasonable accommodation resulting from a disability, learning or literacy issue to access and maintain DSHS services.

EA screening is completed during the:

  • Application process,
  • Comprehensive evaluation, and
  • While actively participating in the WorkFirst program.

When identified or requested, reasonable and necessary accommodations are given to ensure these individuals can access and maintain WorkFirst services and benefits.

EA plans support the IRP, and allow the individual to access and maintain services for which the individual is eligible.

Staff may refer the individual to a WFSSS when the WFSSSs expertise in completing the EA screening or plan is required.

Equal Access for Non-Heads-of- Household:

All other household members required to participate in WorkFirst activities, are screened upon initial contact. Reasonable and necessary accommodations are provided prior to the required participation.

1.3.3 What is Family Planning?

Family planning services are educational, health care and social services that help participants make decisions regarding additional pregnancies while on TANF/SFA. Advantages for offering these services include, but aren't limited to:

  • Learning what their Washington Apple Health care cover can provide.
  • Learning about the variety of birth control methods to help plan if, or when, to have another child, and
  • Learning how to talk about birth control with family members.

1.3.4 How to screen for Family Planning?

Family Planning screening is only required for adults and emancipated minors. In situations involving screening of 16 or 17 year old dependent teens, DSHS staff does not want to pull them out of school to screen them. Staff may want to help their parents talk about family planning with them or offer to meet with this group of minors for the parent. 
Screen and offer all individuals family planning information at least once a year. The family planning information should be given at the following times:

  • Comprehensive evaluation;
  • Eligibility review; and/or
  • Each time the WFPS or WFSSS determines the individual (or their children, if appropriate) may benefit from these services.

1.3.5 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?

DSHS is responsible to provide adults and emancipated minors with family planning information. The purpose of providing information is to make participants aware of family planning services available to them so they are able to make informed decisions about future pregnancies. It is mandatory to provide adults and emancipated minors with the following information:

Providing information about available family planning services to each participant can help us meet the goal of zero-unintended pregnancies while on WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA. Every participant should:

  • Know of available family planning services through Washington Apple Health.

1.3.6 Examples of various types of family planning screenings

Young Adult:

Melanie has just been approved for TANF and engaged in WorkFirst. Ursula, her WFPS/WFSSS, asks if she has received the information on Family Planning. Melanie is 24 years old with a 14 month-old son. Ursula asks her what her ideal family size would be. She has always wanted three children but has not been able to get above a minimum wage job. Ursula encourages Melanie to consider the expense of having another child, and reminds her that an unplanned pregnancy can make it difficult to get to a higher paying job where she could afford more children and provide for all their needs. WorkFirst will work on increasing her ability to earn more money and family planning providers have information and supplies that can help her plan when she wants more children. Ursula encourages her to go to the family planning website to find out more about family planning options.


Todd is a 27 year-old single father of two young children. At the eligibility interview, the WFPS gives the WorkFirst Opportunities brochure DSHS 22-1125 to Todd, asking him if he has thought about how an additional child would affect his dreams for the future. The WFPS explains how some pregnancies are unplanned and that there are family planning services that can assist him so this would not happen to him. The WFPS also explains how he can get various birth control methods using his Washington Apple Health in case he should want to obtain any other method sometime in the future.

Middle-age, non-childbearing female:

Barbara is a 41 year-old mother of two children, 17 year old Kristi and 15 year old Josh. She has come in for cash assistance. Through the course of your intake interview, Barbara revealed that she just ended a short relationship and made the comment that over the last year, she has "gone through three losers" and that she can hopefully snag someone worth keeping soon. Upon her up-front family planning screening, Barbara states she had a hysterectomy about four years ago.

There are several issues to consider in this example. Even though birth control is not the first issue for Barbara, she is in multiple relationships that put her at an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In this situation, the DSHS staff can provide information regarding local family planning services or she can see her primary care physician for STD counseling, education and care. A second issue is that her daughter, Kristi, and, her son, Josh, are at an age where they may become sexually active. Discuss the benefits of giving information to them and acknowledge that talking with your children may be difficult, but family planning resources are available. By assuming that just because Barbara cannot have children she doesn't need family planning information and resources, we are also making decisions for her that she and her family can't benefit from family planning services.

1.3.7 Family Planning - Step-by-Step Guide

When a WorkFirst participant is screened for family planning, the WorkFirst staff may:

  1. Enter the eJAS Family Planning Screening through: 
    1. The Pathway Development Tool, Family topic section, or
    2. The Screening/Evaluation section
  2. Give the participant, at a minimum:
  3. Review the screening with the participant and document what was given to the participant.
  4. Save the screening once complete. 
Note: Staff must screen and offer family planning information at least once per year and document this in eJAS under the Family Planning note type. (For this purpose, a year is defined as 350 days.)


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