Delivering Welfare-to-Work Services in County Social Service Organizations: An Exploratory Study of Staff Perspectives


There is a limited body of knowledge on the role of staff in the implementation of welfare policy, especially how frontline staff members perceive an array of organizational factors and how these factors affect their ability to serve clients. This exploratory study builds upon this limited body of research by capturing staff perceptions of the personal and community resources that are needed to help TANF participants move from welfare to work in California's CalWORKs program. It is based on staff perceptions of welfare-to-work services (from orientation to post-employment services) during the first five years of implementing welfare reform in eleven California county social service agencies (1998–2002). Data were collected from a sample of 292 welfare-to-work staff (line staff, specialists, and supervisors) through the use of a Web-based survey. The findings suggest that several factors impact service delivery, including the work environment, resources, characteristics of program participants, staff control over service provision, and staff knowledge and skills. The implications for practice and future research are identified.

Austin, M.J.
Johnson, M.A.
Chow, J.C.
DeMarco, A.
Ketch, V.
Publication date: 
January 14, 2009
Publication type: 
Journal Article