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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Engaging families on welfare in Ramsey County, MN: Public health presents the big picture

Susan M. Mitchell, MPH, St. Paul -Ramsey County Dept. of Public Health, 50 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102, 651-266-2428, sue.mitchell@co.ramsey.mn.us

Employment services for clients receiving welfare in Minnesota exist to help individuals get a job that can support his/her family. But those services are only effective if individuals actively use them. Cash sanctions have been used by employment counselors to encourage individuals to participate. To those who are capable of participating, sanctions send a clear message about the expectations. National and local data show that there are times when sanctions are misapplied. Ramsey County examined the use of sanctions and redesigned the way employment services would be provided based on new state and federal welfare laws. In July 2003, the welfare department asked the public health department to conduct home visiting public health nurse assessments on all clients in sanction for non-compliance. The purpose of the assessments is to determine if the client is able to comply with their employment plan, be put into an exempt category, or have their plan modified and cash benefits restored. A new policy was initiated that states prior to an employment counselor imposing a sanction, a nurse assessment must be completed to determine why a client is not engaged. Preliminary results show that most of the clients who were assessed (clients who would have automatically been sanctioned) were not sanctioned after the job counselor received the assessment results from the public health nurse. Home visiting helps reveal the larger picture about why an individual is not in compliance and the ways in which the plans could be modified to achieve family self sufficiency.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Advocacy, Welfare Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Managing Alliances and Partnerships for Health Improvement (Poster)

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA