Agency: Perth Amboy Housing Authority
(Size of WtW Program: 160 vouchers)
PHAs strive to help Welfare to Work (WtW) voucher families obtain
and retain employment. Families that participate in the program
must receive adequate case management and support services to achieve
this goal. While proper case management can help clients to develop
the skills needed to be successful employees, the process of managing
cases is often labor-intensive and time-consuming. WtW sites typically
have limited staff and financial resources, making it difficult
to provide the case management WtW voucher clients need.
Solution: Leverage Resources across Programs and Devote Adequate Staff to Support Case Management and Supportive Service Provision
The Perth Amboy Housing Authority leverages staff, funded from
multiple sources, to develop an effective case management model.
Staff positions are supported using Section 8 administrative fees,
FSS Coordinator grant funds, New Jersey Department of Labor funds,
and ROSS grant funds. Five staff members share case management responsibilities
for WtW voucher families. Open communication, information sharing,
and team monitoring of each client results in effective tracking
of both program successes and cases of non-compliance.
Case management at Perth Amboy involves the following activities:
helping families to set goals, monitoring progress in achieving
these goals, making referrals to supportive service providers, and
maintaining effective internal staff communications.
Staffing. Cases are divided among staff, all of which
work closely with the WtW families on an individual basis, as follows:
- Social Services Administrator - Conducts the initial
intake by meeting with the family one-on-one to discuss needs,
review family obligations, and prepare the FSS contract. The Social
Services Administrator also conducts outreach and builds/maintains
partnerships, monitors the program, writes grants, and supervises
- FSS Case Manager - Provides case management, client updates,
home visits, and credit repair for families.
- WtW Case Manager - Meets with WtW voucher recipients,
conducts case management, and monitors program compliance.
- Employment Developer - Assists with job searches and
resume/cover letter writing, and provides transportation to job
- Program Assistant - Conducts mass mailings, updates participant
information, and makes phone calls.
Goal setting is a client's first step to success
in Perth Amboy's WtW program. During the family's initial visit,
the case manager uses an intake
form to conduct a needs assessment. The case manager uses this
meeting to provide an orientation to the program and to begin establishing
goals. A participant's needs and status is listed on a needs
assessment matrix, which is regularly updated. This matrix also
enables the PHA to quickly notify clients about trainings, workshops,
employment, and programs based on their individual needs, as recorded
on the matrix.
Monitoring starts once a client has identified goals
and is committed to participating in the WtW program. When a goal
is achieved, case managers follow-up to ensure every task has been
completed. For example, if a client says that they have completed
their GED, a certification must be presented along with a note from
the instructor stating that they attended the course. Phone calls
are also made by staff members to confirm a client's attendance
at various activities, including employment and school.
Every six months an update
form is forwarded to families. The form assists in monitoring whether
the family is actively working to achieve their goals. In cases
where families fail to meet the program's work requirements, case
managers either call the family or send them a letter. Perth Amboy
requires families to complete 30 hours of work or work-related activities
per week. Clients are then asked to schedule an appointment with
their case manager. During the meeting, the case manager and client
agree to a plan to assist with re-entry into the workforce or participation
in an appropriate work-related activity. Clients sign an agreement
form and have 30, 60, or 90 days to meet the work requirements.
The case manager arranges a meeting every 30 days to ensure the
person is on-track.
Referral to supportive services. Perth Amboy has
developed a strong network of local supportive service agencies
to which it can refer FSS and WtW families. This referral network
is critical to Perth Amboy's ability to meet the needs of its clients.
Partnerships with local agencies include the Perth Amboy Adult School,
Catholic Charities, United Way, County College, Medical Center,
YMCA, and many more. Perth Amboy also hosts many services, trainings,
and workshops in-house, including the Affiliate One-Stop Career
Center, credit counseling and money management services, computer
training, and GED/ESL classes.
Staff communication occurs during every stage of
a client's involvement in the program and is a vital part of Perth
Amboy's case management success. Staff members hold "case conferences"
in which each case manager is responsible for updating the master
matrix for their respective clients. Every case is discussed individually
and information is distributed among staff, thereby informing all
staff of the status of each participating family.
With a good case management and monitoring system in place, it
is easy to track client successes. The following approximations
from 2000-2002 can be made using Perth Amboy's matrix as a tracking
- 8 participants obtained their GED
- 13 participants are enrolled in college (2-year, 4-year, and
certificate programs), 2 have applied, and 3 have completed their
- 35 participants completed a skilled training program (Trade
School, Computer Training, Certified Nursing Assistant Program,
Home Health Program)
- 47 participants completed a life-skills training program
- 140 out of a total of 160 WtW families participate in the FSS
program (total FSS enrollment is 223).
Contact: Nilda Delgado, PO Box 390,
881 Amboy Ave, Perth Amboy, NJ 08862, 732.826.3110 x627,
Source: Presentation during the WtW teleconference call, "Models
of Case Management" (August 8, 2002)
and written materials