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Employment & Family Services

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Presentation on theme: "Employment & Family Services"— Presentation transcript:

1 Employment & Family Services
Joseph Gauntner, Director Cuyahoga County Employment & Family Services 1641 Payne Avenue, Suite 520 Cleveland, Ohio 44114

2 Today’s Agenda Overview of Board of County Commissioners, Cuyahoga County Office of Health and Human Services and Employment & Family Services Neighborhood Family Service Centers Healthy Start Program/Medicaid—Aged, Blind and Disabled Child Care Assistance Food Assistance Program – Ohio Direction Card Ohio Works First Prevention Retention and Contingency Job Training and Placement Services EITC/Free Tax Preparation Services Q&A/Wrap-up

3 Board of County Commissioners
The Commissioners directly oversee the areas of Finance and Administration, Health & Human Services, and Justice & General Government, managing funds used to support the activities of these areas. Cuyahoga County’s budget is the largest local government budget in the State of Ohio. The 2009 budget is approximately $1.457 billion. The Commissioners execute legislative-like powers in carrying out their legal and financial responsibilities. These responsibilities include budgeting, levying taxes, issuing bonds and awarding contracts for public works.

4 Cuyahoga County

5 Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services
The Cuyahoga County Office of Health & Human Services (HHS) is the local office of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). HHS oversees the operations of four distinct agencies dedicated to improving the health, safety and self-sufficiency of families and children throughout the County. On behalf of the County Commissioners, the Office of Health & Human Services works with these agencies and community partners to provide a foundation for mandated and creative programming as well as strategic funding.

6 Employment & Family Services
Employment & Family Services (EFS) is one of the four divisions of Health & Human Services under the administration of the Board Of County Commissioners. EFS is responsible for the local administration of Ohio Works First (OWF), the Food Stamp Assistance Program (FAP), and the Prevention, Retention and Contingency Program (PRC) in Cuyahoga County. EFS also administers Medicaid covered Families and Children, including Healthy Start and Medicaid for the Aged, Blind and Disabled. In addition to child care assistance programs as well and a variety of other services to assist families in achieving self-sufficiency.

7 Employment & Family Services
The mission of Employment & Family Services is to improve the quality of life for our customers by: Enhancing economic well-being, Strengthening families, Coordinating services and Promoting equity. Our core values are respect, responsibility and professionalism . Our goal is to partner with community and faith based organizations, government and non-profit agencies, private organizations and employers to help some of our communities’ most vulnerable families enhance the overall quality of their lives. In the past 12 months, EFS served more families than ever before and many of them first-time families, reflecting the difficult economic conditions of Cuyahoga County such as increased unemployment, a weakened housing market and price increases for basic services. Overall there has been a 11.8% increase in households served by EFS in the past 12 months. Through March the EFS caseload has grown to serve 133,420 households with one or more benefits (Medicaid, Food Assistance, Childcare, etc.) 7

8 Employment & Family Services Who We Are
More families than ever before are now receiving Food Stamps. In March 2010, the Food Assistance caseload exceeded 117,611 families. This is an increase of 16% from 12 months ago. In March 2010, 18,799 children received child care. This is a decrease of 1.7 % from 12 months ago. The recent state budget has eliminated the ELI program as of August 2009 and reduced the eligibility level for new subsidized child care applicants from 200% to 150% of the federal poverty level. PRC utilization (emergency services) for March 2010 totaled more than $120,730 dollars. This is a decrease of 32% from 12 months ago. Approximately 65% of all PRC usage is for utility assistance, and approximately 30% for rental assistance/security deposits. PRC usage tends to decrease in winter months when customers are able to access utility assistance programs such as HEAP. OWF Utilization in March 2010 was 11,796, a caseload increase of 12% from 12 months ago. Adult time limited households were responsible for all of the increases. Of these households, 6,044 were subject to time limits and another 5,752 were child only households.

9 Welcome to Your Neighborhood Family Service Center (NFSC)
What to expect when you apply for services and programs.

10 Neighborhood Family Service Centers
EFS operates seven Neighborhood Family Service Centers (NFSCs) throughout the county. Individuals may access benefits and programs at any of these Centers. Individuals receiving OWF cash assistance are directed to our Jobs, Education, and Training, or “JET” Center downtown at 1641 Payne Avenue. The process for applications, eligibility determination, and case management are largely the same across centers although Centers vary somewhat in size and case load composition. Individuals may also access Healthy Start and childcare benefits through a central hotline operated by MetroHealth Medical Center.

11 Location of NFSCs Fairfax 8111 Quincy Avenue (216) 391-5027
J.E.T. Center Payne Avenue (216) Mt. Pleasant Kinsman Road (216) Old Brooklyn Fulton Parkway (216) Southgate ½ Northfield Road (216) Virgil Brown Payne Avenue (216) Westshore Lorain Avenue (216) Healthy Start Fax Lines (216)

12 Additional NFSC On-Site Services
Drop-In child care center at VEB only Employment Connection Career Centers at NFSCs Co-located services – other county agencies and community-based organizations Voter Registration—offers County residents the opportunity to register to vote

13 Voter Registration The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of includes provisions that require human services agencies to integrate voter registration into client-staff interaction, recognizing that this population may not otherwise be served. At each NFSC, clients are offered the opportunity to register to vote when they check in at the front desk, when they are with their worker, and when they call or mail in a change of address. Front Desk CSA’s complete the compliance form and provide a voter registration application to clients who wish to register. Clients receive the same assistance in completing the application as they are with any other agency forms. Voter registration applications are collected in a locked storage box in each waiting room. All Voter Registration Applications MUST be placed in the locked box for collection. Staff cannot influence a client’s decision to register nor their political beliefs or party. 13

14 NFSC Career Centers “Career Centers”, operated by the County Department of Workforce Development through the Employment Connection, are located in each of the NFSCs and open to any individual seeking assistance with employment and/or training The Career Centers are a free resource for those looking for employment. The Career Centers provide job leads, clerical tutorials, and free phone and internet access for job seekers. Other services include internet job search, job seeking, resume writing, and interviewing workshops, career planning, and scholarships for occupational training for those who qualify.

15 Neighborhood Family Service Centers Addressing Case-Specific Concerns
Caseworker Team Leader Team Coordinator Center Manager Customer Relations Specialist

16 Employment & Family Services Customer Relations Specialists
Located in each NFSC Provide assistance to customers with case-specific concerns Provide information and referrals to about community resources available to customers

17 Valerie Baker, Manager (216) 802-2817
Know Them By Name! Valerie Baker, Manager (216) Fairfax Mr. James Jones (216) Mt. Pleasant Ms. La-Tresia Smith (216) Old Brooklyn Ms. Marilyn Bagley (216) Southgate Ms. Shuray Merriweather (216) Virgil E. Brown Ms. Cynthia Walker (216) Westshore Ms. Verlinda Moore (216) Healthy Start /Child Care Programs Ms. Cynthia Walker (216) JET Center Mr. Jose Figueroa (216)

18 Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB)
The Ohio Benefit bank is a free web-based software program that helps people gain access to work support programs and available tax credits The Ohio Benefit Bank was developed in response to billions of dollars in funds that are targeted for low and moderate income families that are unclaimed every year. In Ohio, $1.6 billion in tax credits and work support programs are not accessed by Ohioans The OBB helps bring millions of dollars back to the communities that need it the most The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks serves as the lead implementation agency for the Ohio Benefit Bank. The statewide effort is directed by the Office of the Governor in partnership with the Ohio Departments of Job and Family Services, Development, Aging, and Mental Health

19 How the Ohio Benefit Bank Works
A trained counselor works with a client, at a computer, with web access and a printer The counselor poses questions prompted by the software program The program is in English and Spanish and includes application completion assistance and a potential eligibility calculator OBB offers free tax services, one stop benefit applications, and many convenient locations Examples of OBB locations include churches, social service agencies, job training programs, soup kitchens and food pantries, schools, prisons, hospitals, community centers, government offices, and homeless shelters to name a few For more information visit the website at

20 EFS Benefits and Programs
Healthy Start/Healthy Families Healthy Start/Healthy Families—part of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Free health insurance for eligible low to moderate income families and their children under the age of 19 Some parents and pregnant women may be eligible depending on their income Eligibility is determined by the number of family members at home and total household income Coverage includes a wide range of healthcare services including regular checkups, dental care, eyeglasses, prescription medicine, immunizations, emergency care and hospitalization May apply by mail, no office visit is necessary

21 EFS Benefits and Programs
Healthy Start Hotline & Website The Healthy Start Hotline is a telephone resource for residents of Cuyahoga County providing information about the Healthy Start and Child Care programs. Hotline staff take Healthy Start and Child Care applications over the phone and provide information and referrals for other benefit programs. EFS contracts with MetroHealth Hospital to operate the hotline. Hours of Operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The phone number is (216) For more information visit our website at

22 EFS Benefits & Programs Managed Care Plans
After customers receive approval for Healthy Start or any other Medicaid program you will be required to choose a Managed Care Plan (MCP). An MCP is a private health care insurance company licensed through the Ohio Department of Insurance. EFS offers 3 MCPs Care Source, Well Care and Buckeye To enroll in a MCP - customers should call the Ohio Medicaid Managed Care Enrollment Center at Or enroll online at

23 EFS Benefits and Programs Healthchek
What is Healthchek? Healthchek is a group of prevention and treatment services for children and teens including but not limited to: Screening services Vision, dental and hearing services These services are provided through Ohio’s Medicaid program and are also part of the Healthy Start/healthy Families program. Healthchek focuses on helping all children, including those with disabilities, get and stay healthy.

24 EFS Benefits and Programs
Child Care Assistance For individuals on the job, looking for a job, or in training Pays part of the cost of child care for eligible families Allows individuals to choose a child care center, child care home, or care by a certified relative and/or other adult Eligibility depends on household income and family size Apply by phone or mail; no office visit necessary Childcare Hotline: or visit For help finding emergency child care anytime, call Starting Point at

25 EFS Benefits and Programs
FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Available for low income households Eligibility is determined by income, household composition and resources Benefits are issued monthly through the use of an Ohio Direction card An interview at a Neighborhood Family Service Center is necessary

26 EFS Benefits and Programs
FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Effective April 1, 2010, the food assistance program will transition to 12 month certification periods for most assistance groups. AGs with “special circumstances” may be assigned a 4, 5, 6 or 12 month certification period based upon county discretion. Special Circumstances include: Assistance Groups expecting a change that would make them ineligible Migrant Farm Workers Homeless Assistance Groups Woman and her children residing in shelter for battered women & children Assistance Groups with all aged and/or disabled members with no earned income will continue to receive a 24 month certification

27 EFS Benefits and Programs
Food Assistance Program Reporting Requirements Previously State rules rules required Ohio Works First, DFA and RAC Assistance Groups to report a change in the amount of gross monthly income of more than $25. This rule has been amended requiring a report if the amount of gross monthly income increases by more than $50. Reinstatement Effective April 1, 2010, county agencies will reinstate food assistance benefits without a new application when a case closes due to an ineligibility factor, but the recipient complies within 30 days of the termination.

28 EFS Programs and Benefits Reapplication Telephone Interview
Customers offered option to complete Food Assistance Reapplication Interview by telephone. Ohio state policy as of May 1st 2009 approved reapplication interviews for Food Assistance by telephone. A letter will be mailed to the customer (and if applicable Authorized Representative) to indicate date and time of interview. The customer will receive a telephone interview packet with reapplication forms before the 15th of the prior month of the interview including a postage paid return envelope. The packet should be returned to agency with requested documents within 10 days.

29 EFS Programs and Benefits Reapplication Telephone Interview
All eligibility requirements are the same for both the face to face interview and the telephone interview. The caseworker will attempt to call the customer twice and if contact is not made the second call will be considered a missed appointment and a “Notice of Missed Interview” letter mailed. If appointment is missed the customer will be allowed to reschedule their interview.

30 EFS Benefits and Programs Ohio Works First (OWF)
Cash assistance for individuals with a minor child or pregnant The amount is based on household income, the number of people in the family and resources. 36 month time limit but may be extended in certain situations Work requirements through a self-sufficiency contract for 35 hours of work activities Work activities may include employment, job search, vocational training, college, paid and unpaid work experience. Most activities have participation limits Work & training programs with county contracted providers Must apply at your local NFSC

31 EFS Benefits and Programs
Prevention, Retention & Contingency (PRC) Emergency financial help Short term or one-time assistance geared to prevent dependence on public assistance, keep adults in the family employed, and meet emergency needs that threaten health, safety, or well-being of family members Eligibility is limited to low-income families who must show that they do not have access to other community resources For more information about the County PRC plan go on-line to and search “PRC”.

32 EFS Benefits and Programs PRC Continued
Rent and/or Security Deposits Furniture Utilities (coordinated through the Consumer Protection Agency) Car Payments or vehicle repair (only for applicants needing payment to maintain or obtain employment) Children’s clothing and beds Adult clothing for work or training programs

33 EFS Benefits and Programs
Transitional Benefits May be available for up to one year for individuals transitioning from OWF cash to employment Includes childcare and transportation services Other benefits such as Food Stamps and Medicaid are also available for low income households once an individual begins working Claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can significantly increase take-home pay for those who qualify

34 EFS Benefits and Programs
Job Training and Placement Services EFS contracts with a variety of organizations that offer job search, career development, occupational training, and job placement services for OWF recipients The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Department of Workforce Development operate The Employment Connection which offers a comprehensive array of employment and training services at two One-Stop Centers to any individual seeking assistance with employment and/or training: 11699 Brookpark Road (216) 1020 Bolivar Road (216)

35 Other Benefits for Working Families
Earned Income Tax Credit The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal income tax credit for certain persons who work and is claimed by filing a federal income tax return. The EITC puts money into the pockets of many low-to-moderate income working families (under $38,000 per year). Each year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Cuyahoga County residents who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) do not apply for this important benefit. Employees may qualify even if they are not required to pay taxes on their income. Families may be eligible for up to a $4,400 refund.

36 Other Benefits for Working Families Income Tax Preparation Assistance
Families can receiving FREE help with their tax forms. EFS operates six VITA sites: VEB NFSC Payne Avenue Southgate NFSC Northfield Road Old Brooklyn NFSC Fulton Parkway Westshore NFSC 9830 Lorain Ave Merrick House Fulton Road Employment Connection Brookpark Rd The Coalition operates more than 30 electronic and paper VITA sites in Cuyahoga County. For more information call or visit

37 Thank You for Attending this Presentation!
The Office of Community Initiatives can be contacted at: (216) or questions to Employment & Family Services General Hotline: (216) Or visit our website at:


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