We’ve administered TANF programs for more than 20 years under a variety of performance-based contracts that made us look for ways to be more effective and efficient. We’ve learned that the most effective way to enable our participants to take personal accountability is to foster it rather than force it.
When an individual is referred as a customer to our TANF program in Washington DC, we foster a culture of engagement, empowerment and accountability that focuses on our customer's sense of responsibility and their desire to be included and needed. Instead of just focusing on the individual participant, we get involved with our customer’s entire household to address challenges like housing or dependent care that might dissuade or discourage him or her from gaining employment.
Most importantly, we’ve made it our role to align and coordinate services with other government, social and faith-based organizations across the District.
In this way, we offer wrap-around case management by getting all stakeholders vested – by getting everyone to assume accountability – for achieving results for our customer. This includes our customers, their families, other organizations in the community, employers, and our government client.
Here are some of the specifics of what we do:
- We engage members of their family by fostering a culture of engagement and empowerment through home visits, full family assessments, EAP services, wraparound support services to include mental health and substance abuse counseling referrals, crisis management training, job readiness training, mentoring, family counseling referrals, job leads and job retention training and services.
- We have our customers engage in the needs of the community by attaching them to work experience and work trials, volunteer opportunities to serve other at risk populations or at their children’s schools, and participation in DC council activities and hearings. This has the added benefit of having the community become more engaged with our customers
- We have our customers learn skills by participating in employment readiness activities and training, financial literacy training, mental health and well-being training, parenting skills workshops, high school equivalency courses and higher education, work trails and work experience.
- We help them build confidence and resilience by having them set SMART goals for themselves with our assistance, which increases their buy in and motivation to achieve them. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and time-bound – criteria that breaks the journey into clear, manageable tasks that give the individual greater confidence in his or her ability to do the work. SMART goals drive outcomes and enable our customers to measure their own productivity and to gain confidence in their ability to hold themselves accountable for achieving their own success.
Here is what we’ve accomplished since we began operating TANF programs in Washington, DC:
Since 2000, we have helped 14,000 District residents to secure nearly 8,000 jobs, of which 68% retained employment for more than 180 days. An additional 4000 residents received education and training services.
- Over the past five years, we’ve increased the Work Participation Rate (WPR) by 38 percent and currently achieve 71-percent WPR, 74-percent retention rate, and $12.00 average wage for FY 2017.
- In 2016 and 2017, we were designated as the "Top Performing Vendor" by the Department of Human Services (DHS). We outperform six other providers across all performance benchmarks.
Why is it we’re successful?
- This is a performance-based contract that gives us the flexibility to innovate and try new ideas within the requirements of our contract.
- We are measured on outcomes that matter.
- We select and mentor members of our team who have a sense of social responsibility. We encourage them to assume accountability for the success of the program – both operationally and financially. They know we can only do good by doing it well… and within our budget. In fact, the centralized service coordination and alignment role we’ve assumed was born as a solution to help us more effectively address our program participants’ complex needs within our budget.