About the Re-examination

Adapting WorkFirst for the 21st Century Economy of Washington State

Re-examination Charter

Re-examination Process

Final Report to the Governor

Core Assumptions Overview

  • Achieving stable and successful employment is our main objective for WorkFirst participants; we will maximize opportunities for participants to successfully attach to the workforce and have opportunities to move out of poverty.
  • A family-centered case planning and engagement approach is necessary to achieve good outcomes and reduce long-term dependency and generational poverty within families.
  • Policies will recognize the critical role and responsibility of parents in their children’s development, foster the healthy growth and development of children, and promote family stability.
  • WorkFirst is a transitional, not long-term, program to assist families on the pathway to self-sufficiency.
  • Leveraging non-TANF resources is crucial to achieving the goals of WorkFirst.

Key Re-examination Issues and Questions

  1. Examples of Policy Questions:
    • How can we realign current WorkFirst strategies with workforce development in the 21st century?
    • How do we work with child-only cases and better assure the appropriate use of this benefit and the well-being of the children on the caseload?
    • How can we meet federal work rates and requirements while having a program that realizes greater outcomes for our participants?
  2. Examples of Program Design Questions:
    • Do federal regulations and requirements provide more flexibility than what is currently allowed in our WorkFirst program?
    • Are we being as creative as possible in meeting federal work participation requirements, in ways that align with our core assumptions?
    • How should the redesign address deferrals and exemptions from participation?
  3. Examples of Budget Questions:
    • How can the state leverage WorkFirst dollars to bring others to the table (e.g., K-12, foundations) who can invest in strategies that improve the economic security and well-being of TANF families?
    • How can we leverage existing resources in areas like housing, child care, and child development?
    • Can we do more to align TANF expenditures with the state’s need for a strong economy, education reform, improving people’s health and strengthening families?