The October 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) eliminated the open-ended federal entitlement program – Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) – and replaced it with a time limited program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In October of 2000, the Florida Senate passed the Florida Workforce Innovation Act, Senate Bill 2050, redefining Florida’s welfare delivery system with the Welfare Transition (WT) program.
The goal of Florida’s program is to emphasize work, self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, as well as assist recipients of Temporary Cash Assistance to move from welfare to self-sufficiency.
To accomplish this goal, Florida developed a strong support structure to deliver needed services to families in receipt of cash assistance or families as risk of becoming dependent on cash assistance. Support services may include the following: transportation assistance, subsidized child care referrals, substance and mental health treatment referrals, diversion programs to reduce domestic violence and child abuse, diversions to prevent families from going on welfare, relocation assistance, severance payments, job training, and job readiness. The potential available services are described as follows:
- Transportation services may be available for families to travel to work and work-related activities.
- Subsidized child care referrals may be available to families to obtain child care with certified providers.
- Substance abuse and mental health treatment referrals may be available to families disclosing a need for these services.
- Diversion programs are intended to provide a one-time payment or service that may assist a family at risk of becoming dependent on cash assistance take care of an emergency that is prohibiting them from going to work. A cap limitation of $1000 applies to the one-time emergency payment.
- Relocation assistance may be available to relocate a family to a geographic area that offers better opportunities for the family to achieve self-sufficiency.
- Cash Severance payments may be offered to families who have a job, but who are still receiving some cash assistance.
- Job and educational training may be available.
- Job Readiness is a structured activity available to individuals needing assistance with developing employability skills such as punctuality, attendance, appropriate dress for employment, resume development, job search and interviewing skills.
Eligible Program participants may include two family groups;
- Families that receive cash assistance, or
- Families at risk of becoming cash assistance dependent with income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level that meet the non-financial eligibility criteria for cash assistance.
Families that receive cash assistance are required to meet Department of Children and Families (DCF) Temporary Cash Assistance eligibility criteria, register for work, and participate in assigned work activities.
Families at risk of becoming cash assistance dependent with income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, that meet the non-financial eligibility criteria for temporary cash assistance, requires the applicant be a parent or other specified relative of a child or children under 18 (or 19 if in school full time) living in the home or a pregnant woman, as well as, be a United States citizen or qualified non-citizen, and the applicant and their children must be residing in Florida.
Services provided through the Program are based upon the availability of resources and the individual’s progress toward of the completion of the steps in achieving the agreed upon goals.
WT Program services may be accessed from the following Center locations: Clewiston, Fort Myers, Immokalee, Naples and Port Charlotte.