Thursday, April 18, 2013

Welfare-Orientation-Why Are You Here?

Then came the  TANF Application Fact Sheet twelve commandments that are at best half fact, in other words, you are not given the fact in full just the minimum, for example one fact says: PERSONS APPLYING FOR TANF MUST LOOK FOR WORK UNLESS THEY ARE EXEMPT. SINGLE PARENTS WITH A CHILD LESS THAN 12 MONTHS OF AGE LIVING WITH THEM ARE EXEMPT, however, the Georgia Department of Human Services
TANF WORK REQUIREMENT EXEMPTION FORM, one of the three carbon forms, states: You are eligible to receive an exemption from TANF work requirements for up to three months and you must chose whether to use your exemption at this time or to save it for possible use at a later time, while this child is less than 12 months of age.

See what I mean, most of the time you get only part of the truth, and things are stated in pieces you are not given all parts of the information which is necessary in order to make a good, informed decision.    

If you are applying for TANF you must look for work, so there is the Referral to Job Search Vendor sheet: this gives the location and directions of where you will go to … I don’t know quite how to describe this vendor, but I heard someone say that the place I was sent had been a vendor for eight years for the TANF program in Dekalb county Georgia. Supposedly, there are a few others that contract this service.

They won the contract, which was probably one of the greatest days in the history of their company. This place was a bit dismal and quite disappointing. It seemed to take away more than it gave every single individual who entered through those doors. There was steady inconsistency. It was rife with negativity, Disorganization and inefficiency, the two things I hate most was a mainstay.

I thought it would be like learning intense job search techniques and skills of how to actually search for, organize and execute the process of getting a job successfully, you know, things like make a list of ten places you really want to work.  I had ideas of grandeur, expecting to practice interviewing, you know, mock interviews, after all practice makes perfect. Not!

Apparently, there are a lot of these work activity sites in place that are not all the same, exactly, but have the same ideal or focus, which you would believe is to help people find employment. In real-time, this is what happens: people who ask for welfare money are sent in and out of these locations at least twice a day five days a week in search of…a job, any job, not a career, re-employment training, nothing of real value and perhaps not even long lasting, just something that says, okay another one that won’t get any money from the state of Georgia in the name of Welfare.

For some of those who have worked and have years of experience, and can find a job and are already actively looking with no luck, it could take a long time to find work, but this in and out, back and forth, day to day structure in place for the work activity does not provide any additional support a person couldn’t get on their own. It is almost as if someone said, “We need to get these people out of the house, get they mind right for working as if none have ever had a job before.”

Giving money to them as a provider of the services needed to improve the poverty situation in the state of Georgia, probably some part of some grant written to show how this was going to promote self-sufficiency among the masses, is a waist of funds.

We were required to report at 8:30 am each morning, pick up job search form and be out of there by 9:30am, on our way to look for work. You then returned by 3:00 or so, with a completed job search form you dropped into a basket and this was everyday, excluding travel time, what your needs may be for child care, whatever you had to do to do this daily you had to do in order to get this money.  We were told the key is to do this part without any absences, tardiness or blanks on the job sheet form no matter what.

I understand and agree with the concept that you are preparing yourself to work, but because the serious structure and skills needed to look for a job was not a part of the program people will find work, any work and not a job of any real value, and not in no time it’s back to TANF they go. 

Then there are the DEPRIVATION INFORMATION SHEETS, one for each absent parent, you get two if you need more I suppose you can ask.

Then there is the Georgia Department of Human Services ADA Disability Tracking and Documentation Form, which asks if the person is claiming or if the case manager observed a disability or a barrier to employment.

Next is the Declaration of citizenship/alien status sheet.

On the next sheet there are some examples of proof of good cause, child support rules, gap budgeting and payment procedures and other child support rules. Actually, this form is attached to the packet with side two, where the signature area is, face-up. On side one it is titled: Georgia Department of Human Services Notice of Requirement to Cooperate and Right to Claim Good Cause for Refusal to Cooperate in Child Support Enforcement and Third Party Resource Requirements, yes this is really just the title of this page.

Then comes the domestic violence sheets, what asks if you are experiencing domestic violence and the other looks like a flyer for it.

Then there’s the HIPPA/ Notice of Privacy Practices sheet and the health insurance sheet. 

Finally we come to the Georgia Department of Human Services Applicant Services Employment Assessment; this is where the purpose of your visit to DFCS is recorded. You are asked a series of things like this:
Are you currently working, where, have you ever worked, for who, when, how much did you make, what did you do, why did you stop, what is the longest amount of time you have ever worked, are you looking for a job now, is anyone or any organization helping you find a job, who, why don’t you have a job yet, what type of work are you interested in, have you been trained to do anything, what, what was the last grade of school you completed, do you have a driver’s license, dependable transportation, computer skills, difficulty learning, difficulty reading, do you care full-time for a dependent child or someone with a disability, are you the primary care taker, do you or anyone in your home have a drug or alcohol problem, have you been turned down from a job because of a criminal record, is domestic violence an issue ? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
 After  these questions,  it is determined if you are job-ready, near job ready, or not job ready a follow up is scheduled, this takes up three sheets of paper. I believe the idea is to make one believe that these are used to perhaps measure the effectiveness of the services provided, however, they seem quite intimidating and not answerable, such as: Why Don't you have a job Yet?  Many people looking for work and have found nothing are asking themselves that question everyday and there seems to be no real explanation , except that what's for you is for you, keep hope alive, keep praying, something will come through, what do you want the answer to be in this case? These questions are, perhaps, to support some other group of statistics that support reason's why you cannot have any money. If I didn't need the money, really, would I be here?

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