V. Provider/Provider Responsibilities

The Work and Training Provider will administer the specified program(s) in accordance with the provisions of the contract. Exceptions to these provisions must have the written approval of the Department.

Providers are required to record actual hours of participation, track activities by type or code for each customer, identify countable activities and maintain records required to verify each customer's performance and outcomes.

Key components of the documentation process includes individual case files that contain case notes, verification of enrollment in work and training activities, notes on case management visits, customer contacts and interviews, documentation of reconciliation attempts to non-compliant customers, documentation of visits to work sites, copies of written agreements with employers and copies of Weekly Attendance and Activity reports that contain clear, complete and accurate information regarding the customer's participation in assigned activities.

For customers approved by the Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) for participation in education programs, the Provider will obtain documentation of the student's progress. Individual files will contain case management notes from the Provider, progress reports from the educational institution and recommendations regarding the appropriateness of the program for the customer. Copies of the student's grades, test scores, or assessments may also be a part of the documentation process.

Providers are required to consult with the appropriate FCRC for a course of action, when a customer demonstrates behaviors that negatively impact their ability to successfully participate in work and training activities. The discussion/consultation may be conducted via telephone or in a face-to-face exchange and may or may not involve the customer.

Each customer's performance and participation in work and training activities will be reported to DHS by electronically submitted Weekly Attendance and Activity reports. These reports cover a calendar week (Saturday through Friday) and are transmitted by the close of business on the following Tuesday. The Provider is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of information provided on the report, may be required to make corrections as deemed necessary by DHS staff and may be required to supply additional/supportive documentation.

A. The Referral Process

The Work and Training Provider must work with the DHS Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) staff to develop a referral schedule and process which assures that the Provider receives the number of customers specified in Exhibit B.

The Provider is responsible for working with staff and customers in a manner that assures that they maintain the required number of customers on a consistent basis.

The Provider is expected to respond to the referral within 48 hours of the referral appointment indicated on the form through the Work Verification System (WVS)/Integrated Eligibility System (IES). The Provider should complete the Agency Action section of the referral at the top of page 2 of the referral by selecting one of the following options:  1) Customer Initiated with Date, 2) No Contact from Customer. The Provider must provide follow up within 48 hours of the referral appointment.

The Provider is responsible for completing and submitting a weekly Attendance and Activity Report to the WVS/IES. Reports are due by the close of business every Tuesday for the previous week.

The Referral Process must also include procedures for reverse referrals. If the Provider recruits a customer, the FCRC staff is to be notified via email for approval.  Once approved, the FCRC will generate a WVS/IES referral.

Referral Packet

  1. Referral Packet
    • At a minimum, the Provider will receive the Referral Form (Form 2151) and the applicable section of the Responsibility and Services Plan (Form 4003) for all referred customers through the WVS/IES.
    • If the customer is being referred for Work First, Community Service or Work Experience, the packet will contain Forms 2151, 4003, and a Form 4044 (Work Experience/Work First/ Community Service Worksheet) which is included in the RSP on the WVS/IES. For Work First referrals, the hourly payment reduction rate for customers who fail or refuse to comply with requirements will appear on Form 4044 and a system printout showing the effective month the case was placed in "0" grant status will be included.
    • The Work Experience/Work First/Community Service Worksheet (Form 4044) identifies the maximum number of hours the customer may be assigned to work experience or community service activities. If the customer is required to complete additional hours in order to meet the Federal participation requirements, the Provider is responsible for assigning the customer to a non-core activity to assure the opportunity for the customer to meet requirements. .
  2. Engaging Customers
    • The Provider is required to assure that each enrolled customer is assigned to work and training activities and hours that are consistent with Federal requirements. Participation in appropriate activities and required hours starts with the first day of the customer's engagement with the Provider. Customers are required to participate weekly in assigned activities.
  3. Right to Repeat Referral
    • The Department reserves the right to refer a customer back to the Provider if a change in circumstances reinstates cash assistance, the individual becomes non-exempt, or is able to participate after receiving barrier reduction services.
  4. Former TANF Clients
    • The Provider is required to give priority attention to enrolling current TANF customers in work and training activities. On a very limited basis and with approval from the Department, the Provider may accept a referral and provide services to individuals who receive TANF-MANG. When approval is granted, the Provider will receive a Form 2151 in the WVS/IES from the FCRC for the customer.

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B. The Intake and Assessment Process

The Provider will conduct the Intake and Assessment in a fashion that results in thoroughly exploring all pertinent areas that are relevant to accurately assessing the customer's employability, education/skill levels, and other areas that may have an impact on the customer's ability to get and keep a job. All Intake and Assessment processes should include provisions for ensuring equity and accessibility to all participants including but not limited to those with limited English proficiency, limited reading/writing ability, and should be intentionally inclusive with regard to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, differences in physical ability and/or mental health/neuro-atypical status.

  • The orientation and assessment process must be completed within 5 calendar days of the initial appointment date shown on Form 2151, and must include an on-site visit (or through hyperlink listed below) or virtual interview and guided introduction to the local Illinois WorkNet Center/Illinois Department of Employment Security Office that must include presentations on independent job searches, registering all customers in Illinois Job Link (IJL) and instructions on utilizing the resource lab.  See link: https://illinoisjoblink.illinois.gov/ada/r/.

Documentation verifying Illinois Job Link registration must be printed and a copy placed in the customer's case file.

  • If the customer fails the initial appointment, the Provider is responsible for notifying the FCRC by electronically submitting the Change Report Form through the WVS/IES no later than the next due date for the RSP Attendance and Activity Report weekly; i.e., the following Tuesday.
  • The Intake and Assessment process must be structured in a fashion that assures that the customer is assigned to required activities for the required number of hours on the day of initial contact with the customer.
  • Providers must update the RSP to reflect the specific activities that each customer will be assigned.
  1. The Intake Process
    • The Intake Process must include a detailed discussion about required hours and activities, weekly attendance reporting requirements, the consequences of non-compliance with activities, assigned hours, and any other factor affecting the customer's participation.
    • The customer is to be advised and reminded of the potential for receiving a reduced grant or no grant for failing to comply with all requirements.
  2. The Assessment Process
    • The assessment determines the customer's abilities, skills, and readiness to begin movement toward employment. At a minimum, the assessment must include the following actions and discussions with the customer:
      1. A discussion of the customer's education and training background;
      2. Appropriate reading and math tests and scores and Learning Needs Screening (IL444-4728);
      3. Work history and skills;
      4. Career Pathways and Illinois Job Link (Illinois WorkNet);
      5. Need for supportive services;
      6. Employment goals;
      7. TANF clock (60-month time limit).
  3. Reassessment of Customer
  • The Provider must reassess the customer at least once every 12 months and/or:
    1. when the customer enters or reenters the program after a break of one (1) or more months; and/or
    2. when the customer shows inability to complete program requirements; and/or
    3. when repeated attempts to get the customer employed have failed. In this instance, the Provider is responsible for arranging a full staffing with the local FCRC, so they can jointly determine where the problem might be and assist the customer in working out a plan that will lead to employment.

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C. Weekly Reporting of Customer Participation and Attendance

The Provider must ensure that accurate records of attendance, actual participation hours for each activity, and progress notes are maintained for each individual client.

  1. Information about attendance and the total number of hours completed for each activity is to be accurately documented and reported weekly by the Provider. (Exception: New Employment information is reported only one time. After reporting employment, the "New Employment" portion of the Attendance and Activity report is to be left blank by the Provider.)
  2. The Provider is responsible for electronically submitting the RSP Attendance and Activity Report (Form 4006) to the DHS database for each customer on a weekly basis.
  3. The last day of the Report Period is always Friday. Therefore, activities and actual hours are always reported for the period of Saturday through Friday.
  4. Reports must be submitted to the WVS/IES by the close of business every Tuesday. The report documents activities, actual hours completed and attendance for the preceding calendar week.

D. Case Management Meetings

The Provider will conduct regularly scheduled case management meetings with customers. Discussions will include a review of the customer's daily activities, the number of hours completed for each activity, attendance, progress and case notes on plans for getting a job.

The Provider must maintain case notes, progress reports, attendance sheets, records of hours of service for each assigned activity and other relevant documentation in an individual file for each customer.

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E. Enhanced Work Skills Sessions

Providers will employ a strategic approach to increase employability, by making interactive workshops an integral part of the training curriculum as a way of assuring that customers know what to expect once they enter the work place, know how to adjust to a work environment, and are able to keep the job. Workshops are to include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Professional Demeanor
  2. Appropriate Conduct and Dress
  3. Parenting and Organizational Skills
  4. How to Build Self-Esteem/Self-Confidence
  5. Budgeting and Financial Management

F. Coordination of Barrier Reduction Services

The Provider will contact the referring FCRC to request an immediate staffing when a customer requires services to remove or reduce barriers to employment. The staffing may be conducted face-to-face or via telephone and may or may not include the customer. If it is determined that a change in service provider is necessary to address that individual's barrier to employment, a staffing will be conducted, Barrier Reduction Services offered, and the customer may be removed from the contractor and referred to another provider to receive different services.

When the customer is removed from the contractor, coordination/monitoring of services will be the responsibility of the FCRC caseworker.

  1. The Provider will be notified of the decision to remove or not to remove the customer from the contractor via Form 2151A (Change/Progress Report Form).

G. Reporting Changes and/or Progress

Providers are required to report changes and/or progress to the FCRC on the Change Report Form through the WVS/IES.

  1. The Provider will electronically submit the Change Report through WVS. The weekly RSP Attendance & Activity (A&A) report will contain documentation of assigned hours and activities and the number of hours actually completed for each activity.
  2. The Provider must notify the FCRC, via the RSP Attendance and Activity Report, when a customer obtains employment, refuses an offer of employment, increases hours of employment, receives an increase in salary, or reports other changes in circumstances to the Provider which are to be reported in the WVS/IES on the Change Report Form.

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H. Supportive Services

When indicated on Exhibit B, the Provider agrees to pay all eligible supportive services including temporary childcare to customers participating in the provider's employment and training activities. If the customer is eligible for supportive services, the provider must provide and/or arrange for the supportive services within a maximum of 10 calendar days of the customer's request or the determination of need. The protocol for issuance of Supportive Services should be done as expeditiously as possible as ten days is not always feasible for customers who may lose employment with delays.

Cook FCRC staff issue payment only for the client's first trip to and from the service provider's office and for child care needed for the referral appointment.  The Provider issues other supportive service payments to the client, except childcare and the automated $20 work activity allowances.

The Provider issues the first month's Job Search and Work Activity allowances, if needed before the automated payments start.  The Provider issues transportation to and from the work assignment.  If no funds are available for transportation, the Provider notifies the FCRC to initiate the transportation payments.  Childcare is issued by the CCR&R.

Supportive service payments may be authorized for the following services:

  • Transportation
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Books and Supplies
  • Temporary payment for childcare
  • Miscellaneous Expenses
  1. Authorization of Supportive Services
    1. The Provider will authorize supportive service payments by check, money order, or cash to the customer or service provider. All issuances must be clearly documented in each client's case file.  Relating to transportation needs, customers do not have a one size fits all formula as some have reliable transportation, some live-in urban areas with services while some do not.  Providers should be mindful that they should accommodate customers based on their individual circumstances.
    2. The Department will not authorize payment to the Provider for issuing supportive services without a Referral Form 2151 or 2151C.
    3. If the customer is referred by Form 2151 or 2151C and is subsequently determined to be ineligible, the Department will be liable for reimbursement of supportive service payments for that customer for the month of referral.
    4. The Provider must maintain receipts signed and dated by the customer to verify issuance of each supportive service payment. Documentation of each issuance must include a date, the amount, purpose and period covered. The Provider will maintain monthly accounting for all monies disbursed in the customers case file and the fiscal file/binder (the fiscal binder at the discretion of the Provider).
    5. DHS may request, and Provider shall supply, upon request, necessary information and documentation; i.e., receipt for purchase of gas, clothing items, etc. regarding transactions constituting contractual or other relationships, paid for with funds received under this contract.
    6. The Provider will designate supervisory level staff to review and approve supportive services requested when "supervisory approval" is required. A copy of the approval document must be retained in the customers case file.
    7. The current rates are subject to change. Providers will receive written notification of any supportive service payment policy and/or rate change.
    8. Provider Manager approval is required prior to issuing funds for any items not included in this section.
  2. Overview of Eligible Supportive Services
    1. Transportation (See ATTACHMENT I - Transportation for Details) - Transportation expenses are authorized as an advance payment for travel necessary to get to and from approved activities.
      1. Transportation is paid at the most reasonable and economical rate.
      2. In urban areas where public transportation is available, the amount of the actual fare for each trip or the cost of a monthly pass is authorized.
      3. Outside of urban areas where public transportation is not available and/or the customer has to use a privately-owned vehicle or pay someone to provide transportation to and from approved activities, special payment amounts are authorized.
      4. Allow transportation expenses for employed customers who have not yet received their first paycheck.
      5. The Department has provisions for paying other transportation expenses related to employment, such as automobile liability insurance, repairs, relocation expenses, etc.
      6. The Provider is required to assess and establish need for each individual customer. (See ATTACHMENT I - Transportation for details.)
    2. Mandatory Fees - Mandatory fees are those required for a customer to participate in an approved education/training activity. Prior approval is needed by the Administrator and FCRC before engaging in education/vocational activities.  The maximum per contract year is $300.
      1. Includes payments for mandatory fees such as application, registration, activity, laboratory, graduation and testing fees (such as to obtain a GED certificate or to take a state board examination).
      2. Tuition payments are not considered mandatory fees and are not payable under this provision.
      3. Prior to authorizing issuances in excess of $100, approval must be obtained from the DHS Provider Manager.
    3. Books and Supplies - Payments, up to a total maximum of $300 per 12-month period, may be authorized for books, supplies and equipment if the items are required for participation in an approved educational/training program. Use the facility's published list of required items to determine items to be approved for payment.
      1. An itemized list of costs must be submitted on the training institution's letterhead to the DHS Provider Manager.
      2. The maximum is $300 per contract year.
    4. Childcare (See ATTACHMENT II - Child Care for Details) - The Childcare Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency provides ongoing child care services. Refer the customer to the CCR&R using the Childcare Application (Form 3455) with the Responsibility and Services Plan (Form 4003).
      1. A temporary childcare need can be provided by the Provider when needed for employment or as a one-time temporary need for no more than 30 days. Payment must be authorized in accordance with the rates established by the Department. When it is necessary for the Provider to issue funds for childcare, the Provider Manager's signature is required.
      2. Childcare must be provided through a legitimate care arrangement; i.e., the Provider must be at least 18 years of age, etc.
      3. Childcare may be provided for children under age 13 or children age 13 or older who need the care because of a physical or psychological condition or court ordered supervision.
      4. Payment for childcare must be authorized in the child care provider's name and mailed to the provider's address. As applicable, customers are responsible for making childcare co-payments.
      5. If the customer is newly employed, the Provider as a supportive service may issue the co-payment during the first 30-day period on the job. The customer must request payment.
      6. The Provider may not authorize childcare payments to himself or herself. In these situations, the Childcare Resource and Referral Agency will authorize payments.
      7. Under special circumstances, payment may be made for childcare costs over the stated maximums to ensure that an employed customer keeps the job. (Contact the DHS Provider Manager for approval.)
      8. Payment will not be made for services provided more than seven calendar days prior to receipt of the application for childcare payments.
    5. Miscellaneous/Other Related Expenses - To assist customers in meeting the requirement of employment and other guidelines, expenses for items such as uniforms, tools, license, etc., may be authorized with supervisory approval.
      1. Special clothing such as uniforms or outsized clothing needed for the customer to meet a dress code for an activity or employment ($600 in contract year).
      2. Required tools not provided by the employer ($600 in contract year).
      3. DCFS Licensing - Items or services purchased to assist the customer in meeting Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) childcare licensing requirements - (maximum $900 in contract year). These include but are not limited to:
        1. fire extinguisher
        2. smoke alarm
        3. first aid kit
        4. installation of telephone
      4. Expenses required for starting up a micro enterprise approved as a self-employment activity, which is likely to generate income. Supervisory approval is required.
      5. Other required items related to the specific job (maximum $900 in contract year). Supervisory approval is required.
      6. Payment may not be issued to buy firearms, to pay bail bonds, fines/legal fees, or to pay traffic tickets.
      7. Required Physical and Medical Services - When the customer requires a physical examination, drug testing, or other medical services, the FCRC caseworker will assist the customer in arranging to receive these services.
      8. Background Checks - Authorization for conviction background checks may be provided for customers if the employer or Work Experience/Work First sponsor requires the same checks for regular employees for the same type of job or work experience to be done by the customer.
        1. The usual charge for a background check is $12. Payment for the fee cannot exceed $20 without prior approval by the DHS Provider Manager.
      9. Canceled Cases (Supportive Services During Retention) - During the appropriate job retention period, the Provider may authorize supportive services for those customers who were assigned to the Provider at the time of the cancellation if:
        1. the case was canceled due to employment;
        2. the request is made within the first three fiscal months after the customer last received cash benefits; and,
        3. the case is receiving a medical extension or has been swapped to Family Health Plans (formerly MANG).
    6. Cash and Time Limitations on Expenses
      1. Total payments for expenses with time and cash limits for one (1) client cannot exceed $1,200 in any 12-month period without the approval of the DHS Provider Manager.
      2. Obtain one (1) estimate for the purchase or repair of items listed in this section. If the estimate is over $100, obtain a second estimate. For items $100 or less, an informal estimate may be used (TV, newspaper or radio ads). Authorize the least expensive item(s).
      3. The Provider must justify expenses that exceed the $1,200 limitation in writing. A memorandum is forwarded to the DHS Provider Manager requesting an exception to policy. The DHS Provider Manager will provide a written disposition. A copy must be retained in the customer's case file.
      4. Prior to authorizing issuances in excess of $200, approval must be obtained from the DHS Provider Manager.
  3. Supportive Services Issued by Department TANF Staff Only
    • Job Search Allowance - A $20 per month Job Search Allowance is paid who are required to make employer contacts looking for a job.
    • Work Activity Allowance - A $20 per month Work Activity Allowance is paid to customers who are required to participate in Work First, Work Experience/Community Service. It must be issued prior to each month the client is on the work assignment.
    • Customers who are not engaged in Work First, Work Experience/Community Service are not eligible for the Work Activity Allowance.
    • Dental Services - Authorization for dental services, not covered under the MediPlan card, can be provided when the customer needs the service to get or keep a job or to take part in a work and training activity. Approved services include repair or replacement of noticeably missing or malformed teeth and other dental procedures that remove barriers to employment.
    • Routine services covered by the MediPlan Card include: routine office visits, preventive services, cleaning, fluoride treatment, cosmetic dental services, orthodontia, partial dentures and full dentures for cosmetic reasons.

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I. Non-Cooperation - TANF Job Placement

  1. Non-Cooperation (TANF Job Placement) - Providers are responsible for re-enforcing the customer's responsibility to complete required activities and assigned hours as a condition of eligibility for welfare benefits by initiating outreach within 2 days of non-compliance with requirements, and reconciliation action within 2 days of the customer's failure to respond to outreach efforts.
  2. Reconciliation Process - The purpose of the reconciliation process is to provide the customer the opportunity to:
    1. Resolve concerns with a customer about activities in their Responsibility and Services Plan (Form 4003).
    2. Address reasons for failure to comply with requirements;
    3. Make sure the customer is aware of requirements, and issues that are resulting in non-compliance;
    4. Determine if a customer has good cause for not complying with activities; and,
    5. To allow the customer the opportunity to perform the required activities without facing sanction.
  3. Reconciliation Meeting
    1. The Provider is responsible for holding a reconciliation meeting with the customer within 5 calendar days of the act of non-cooperation, or, of the customer's request for a reconciliation meeting.
    2. Conduct the meeting immediately if the customer is in the Provider's office when a dispute arises or when it becomes known that there is a problem with the customer's compliance with requirements.
    3. The meeting may be completed by telephone if the customer is not in the Provider's office. Both parties must agree to this arrangement.
    4. If the customer is not in the office, and telephone reconciliation is inappropriate or not agreed to by both parties, mail Form 2846 (Reconciliation Appointment Notice) to schedule the meeting. Allow five (5) workdays for mail delivery when it is necessary to schedule the meeting via mail.
    5. During the meeting, the customer must be given the opportunity to explain the reason for failing to complete the required activities and hours. If the customer shows "good cause" for non-compliance and this is the first instance of non-compliance, do not request sanction or SWAP action. Review required hours and activities with the customer and give the customer another opportunity to comply with requirements.
  4. Good Cause Reasons - Good cause reasons include, but are not limited to the following:
    • Lack of day care for an incapacitated person living in the same home;
    • Lack of adequate childcare for a child under age 13;
    • Death in the family;
    • Illness or incapacity of the customer or family member;
    • Required court appearance;
    • Temporarily confined to jail;
    • Severe weather;
    • Lack of support services causing a major barrier to participation;
    • Failure of staff to correctly forward information to other staff;
    • A conflict in the customer's appointment schedule;
    • A scheduled job interview;
    • The customer lacks reading and/or writing skills;
    • The customer does not understand written or oral communications due to language barriers or mental or physical disability;
    • The customer should be in a different activity, in rehabilitation services, or in SSI Advocacy;
    • Customer did not receive a mailed notice, including notices advising the customer of program requirements;
    • The customer is homeless;
    • Workplace violations are present as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor; or
    • Other reasons that prevent compliance and are outside the customer's control.
  5. Client Shows for Reconciliation Meeting and Good Cause Exists
    1. If the customer appears for the reconciliation meeting, discuss the issue(s) with the customer (or their representative) and attempt to come to an agreement.
    2. If the customer had good cause for not complying with requirements, the Provider will give the customer another chance to comply and will not recommend sanction action.
    3. The Provider must review requirements with the customer and document the discussion in the customer's case file.
    4. The Provider will report the reconciliation meeting and outcomes on the weekly RSP Attendance and Activity Report.
  6. Client Shows for Reconciliation Meeting and Good Cause DOES NOT Exist - If the customer appears for the Reconciliation Meeting and Good Cause does not exist, the Provider and the customer will attempt to agree on an action the customer can perform to show compliance with requirements and complete the Reconciliation Agreement (Form 2846A).
  7. Reconciliation Agreement - The Reconciliation Agreement (Form 2846A) contains the action the customer must take to show compliance with requirements and the time frame for completing the action.
    1. If the customer is not able to comply with requirements during the meeting:
      • The Provider is responsible for setting a time frame for the customer to complete the required action. The established time frame is not to exceed 14 calendar days.
      • All persons taking part in the reconciliation process must sign Form 2846A (Reconciliation Agreement).
      • File a copy of the agreement in the customer's file and include clear notes of any additional information or instructions given to the customer for meeting the terms of the agreement.
      • Give the customer a copy of the signed Reconciliation Agreement.
      • Set a control to follow-up no later than the deadline established for the customer to complete agreed to actions/activities.
    2. If the customer is able to comply with requirements during the meeting:
      • If the customer is able to comply with requirements at the meeting and no additional action is needed, do not complete the Reconciliation Agreement (Form 2846A).
      • Write up the meeting in the customer's case file.
      • Notify the FCRC through case notes in the WVS.
      • If the customer later fails or refuses to complete required actions, request a sanction for the original act of non-compliance via the 2151A Change Progress form.  The Provider will continue outreach efforts with the customer during the sanction period.  Outreach efforts include all actions taken by the Provider to engage customers and get them to fully comply with all assigned activities and hours.  Efforts include counseling, reviewing requirements and ways to avoid future negative actions, staffing with FCRC staff, telephone contacts, home visits, mailed notices, etc.
  8. If Customer Does Not Appear for the Reconciliation Meeting - If the customer does not appear for the reconciliation meeting without good cause:
    • The Provider will notify the FCRC of the customer's failure or refusal to comply with requirements after the customer has missed two scheduled appointments that were made in writing, via the 2151A Change Progress Report. Indicate the request for sanction action in the applicable section of the report form.
    • The Provider must retain a copy of Form 2846 (Reconciliation Appointment Notice) in the customer's case file.
    • The 2151A Change Progress Report, reports are electronically submitted to the DHS database, the Provider will be responsible for retaining documentation of reconciliation attempts and make them available to the FCRC as necessary for audits, reviews, case management activities, etc.
  9. Mediation - If the customer and the Provider cannot reach an agreement during the Reconciliation Meeting, an impartial person may act as mediator. A mediator is used when the Provider and the customer cannot agree on what the customer must do to show compliance or the customer's "good cause" reason is disputed.
    1. The impartial person can be a Provider Manager or Regional E&T liaison, who has not had a direct role in the customer's case management.
    2. Schedule a separate meeting with the mediator if the mediator is unavailable at the time of the reconciliation meeting.
    3. Give or send the customer another Reconciliation Appointment Notice (Form 2846) as written notification of the scheduled meeting with the mediator.
    4. If the customer does not appear for the meeting with the mediator without good cause, recommend sanction for failure to comply via the 2151A Change Progress Report.
    5. Write up the reconciliation meeting and decision in the case record/file. Change the customer's RSP/Service Plan, if necessary.

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J. Non-Cooperation - Work Experience/Work First

  1. Non-Cooperation (Work Experience/Work First) - These procedures apply to Work First Providers and customers only.
  1. The customer fails to report for the appointment with the Provider (Cook FCRC's);or
  2. fails to report for their Work Experience assignments; or
  3. does not complete some or all of their Pay-After-Performance and Supplemental Work First hours; or
  4. fails to turn in Form 2329J, complete the 20 employer contacts, or attend Job Club sessions.
  5. When the customer does not fully cooperate with all requirements of the program, the Provider must take the following steps:
    1. Contact the customer using Form 4125 (First Notice Regarding Non-Cooperation with Work First/Work Experience).
    2. If the customer responds to the notice, determine if "Good Cause" exists.
    3. If "Good Cause" for failure to cooperate is established, no further action is needed. The customer is to proceed with the instructions contained in the Responsibility and Services Plan.
    4. If "Good Cause" is not established, the Provider will discuss cooperation requirements with the customer, remind the customer of actions required to fully cooperate, and advise the customer of the consequences of further failure to comply with requirements.
      • The Provider will monitor the customer's cooperation for the next 30 days. If the customer demonstrates cooperation, no further action is taken based on the initial failure to cooperate.
      • If the customer fails to cooperate during the first 30-day period, the Provider will again contact the customer to determine the reason for failure to cooperate.
      • If the customer appears for the meeting to discuss non-cooperation and agrees to cooperate, the Provider will not request SWAP action. The customer will be advised of the consequences of non-cooperation and instructed to return to the assigned activity.
      • If the customer cooperates during the first 30-day monitoring period, but fails to cooperate during the second 30-day period, or subsequent to that time, the Provider will refer the case back to the FCRC via the 2151A Change Progress Report, requesting a SWAP action to medical assistance only.
      • Document the customer's failure to cooperate in the customer's file. Include the dates of the two attempts to contact the customer.
    5. If the customer fails to appear for the meeting to discuss non-cooperation, the Provider will send a Form 4126 "Second Notice Regarding Non-Cooperation with Work First/Work Experience."
      • If the customer fails to appear for the second appointment, the Provider will refer the customer back to the FCRC via the 2151A Change Progress Form, requesting a SWAP to medical assistance.
      • Document on the report the customer's failure to cooperate, including the dates of the two attempts to contact the customer.
      • The Provider must retain documentation of these actions and make them available to the Department upon request for reviews, audits, etc.

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K. Job Retention Services

  1. All retention services contracts and employment verification documents must be included in the case file.
  2. The Provider will provide job retention services to all customers who gain employment placement for up to 90 days that minimally include the following activities:
    • Training on Job Retention;
    • Follow-up contact with the customer to address retention issues after employment;
    • Job Coaching and counseling; and
    • Follow-up with the customer's employer to address issues and act as a liaison with the employer for problems on the job.
  3. Job retention services will incorporate weekly contacts with the customer and/or employer in the first 30 days of employment.
  4. When retention services extend beyond 30 days, contacts must occur two times per month during days 31-90 of employment. The provision of job retention services must be documented in the customer's case file.
  5. A customer who is placed in full time employment may remain in the Provider's program for job retention activities only.
  6. If a customer is employed part time, the customer may remain in the Provider's program and work with the Provider to upgrade employment.
  7. If the customer who is placed in part time employment remains active with the Provider, the Provider must assign additional activities if necessary, to meet the countable hours as required.

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L. Case Records

The Provider must maintain an individual case record on each customer to document services provided, activities assigned, and supportive services issued.

  1. Documentation must include the assigned activities, and the actual number of hours completed per week.  A hard copy of the actual documentation of attendance is to be retained in the Provider's case record.
  2. The case record must contain a copy of all relevant documents as applicable including, but not limited to:
    1. Referral Forms (Form 2151) in the WVS/IES
    2. Responsibility and Services Plans (Form 4003) in the WVS/IES
    3. RSP Weekly Attendance and Activity Reports (Form 4006) in the WVS/IES
    4. Literacy/TABE Test Scores
    5. Change/Progress Report Forms (Form 2151A) in the WVS/IES
    6. Employment and Training Customer Lists (Form 4333)
    7. Employment and Training Staffings (Form 4334)
    8. Detailed Documentation of completed Job Contacts
    9. Case Management Meetings and Case Notes
  3. The customer's record is to be maintained by the Provider in a confidential fashion and is to be protected from unauthorized disclosure. The Provider is also responsible for exercising due diligence to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at assigned work sites.

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M.  Work First/Work Experience/Community Service Employer Agreements

  1. The Provider is responsible for recruiting public and/or private employers to obtain Work First, Work Experience and Community Service positions and permanent unsubsidized employment positions for TANF customers. 
  2. The Provider must visit all Work Experience sponsors in person prior to entering into an Agreement.  All agreements must be renewed at the beginning of each contract year.  In addition, quarterly contact must be made, either in person or by phone, and documented in writing to ensure that employers/sponsors continue to meet all requirements of the Work Experience component as detailed herein.  The Provider will make these reports available to the Provider Manager and Monitoring staff upon request.
  3. The Provider must have a completed Work First/Work Experience Agreement (Form 4484C) with each participating Work First/Work Experience employer/sponsor. TANF customers will not be assigned to work sites that do not have written Agreements.
  4. The Provider must provide a complete listing of Work Experience employers/sponsors to the Provider Manager upon execution of the Agreement.  The listing must include employer/sponsor's name, address of all work locations, phone number, contact person and number of positions by type.  The Provider will update the listing as necessary and ensure that update listings are sent to the Provider Manager within the calendar month of the change. 
  5. The Provider will not initiate Agreements with for profit employers who dispatch customers to a variety of work sites daily.
  6. The Provider will ensure that for profit Work First and/or Work Experience employers have a ratio of at least three (3) regular employees for every one (1) customer.
  7. The Provider will ensure that the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service employer does not use TANF customers to:
    1. displace or partially displace current employees; or
    2. reduce the number of non-overtime or overtime work hours, wages, or employment benefits; or
    3. fill an established unfilled vacancy or a position that would otherwise be a promotional opportunity for current employees; or
    4. fill a position created by termination, layoff, a hiring freeze, or a reduction in the workforce; or
    5. perform work if there is a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute in which the employer is engaged.
  8. The Provider will ensure that the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service employer does not assign TANF customers to perform job duties that are not within the reasonable scope of duties specified in the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service Agreement (Form 4484C).
  9. The Provider will ensure that the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service employer provides workplace skills training and supervision in accordance to the job descriptions specified in the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service Agreement (Form 4484C), for the duration of the assignment.
  10. The Provider will review the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service Worksheet (Form 4044) to ensure that the hours shown do not exceed the number of required hours.
    1. The number of required hours is calculated by adding the customer's TANF grant and SNAP benefits together and dividing the total by the higher of the State or Federal minimum wage amount.
    2. The Provider is to assure that the customer is not assigned more than 40 hours per week, even if the number of hours on the worksheet (Form 4044) exceeds 40 hours per week.
    3. The worksheet (Form 4044) is completed by the FCRC caseworker and routed to the Provider at the time of initial referral and completion of RSP through the WVS/IES, or when changes in benefits indicate the need for recalculating the required number of hours to be completed by the customer.
    4. The Provider will contact the FCRC caseworker when errors are discovered on the worksheet. The customer's hours are not to be reduced and/or altered by the Provider. If the Provider determines a need for a change, the FCRC caseworker is to be contacted. The 2151A Change Report in the WVS is to be used to communicate with the FCRC caseworker.  The approval to make the change has to be received in writing.
      1. The Provider will monitor Work First/Work Experience/Community Service employers to assure that the customer's required number of hours are not reduced or increased.
      2. The Provider is required to maintain accurate records of the customer's activities, actual hours completed, and submit weekly attendance and activity reports to the DHS database by the close of business every Tuesday.  Customers are expressly prohibited from delivering or maintaining their own attendance records.
      3. The Provider will ensure that all work assignments are completed within the calendar month.
      4. The Provider will ensure work performed by the customer is safe, serves a useful purpose, and is completed only during the employer's established work hours.
      5.  The Plan Administrator is Tri-Star. They can be reached at 312 445-8700.
      6. The Provider will ensure that the Work First/Work Experience/Community Service employer/sponsor provides the customer with a written reference upon satisfactory completion of the work assignment. 
      7. The Provider will make quarterly visits to all Work First/Work Experience/Community Service employers/sponsors and maintain written reports of the visits. At a minimum, the reports will contain information on the work place and employer/sponsor requirements. The Provider will make these reports available to DHS Provider Managers and Monitoring staff upon request.
      8. If the customer has a conflict with the employer/sponsor, the Provider will attempt to resolve the issue. If the Provider is not able to resolve the issue, the customer will be assigned to a different employer. If the customer gets involved in a conflict or dispute with the new employer/sponsor, the Provider will notify the FCRC staff of the non-cooperation.

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N. Staffing

The Provider and FCRC staff will conduct Staffings jointly, to review and discuss the status of customers assigned to the Provider, using the established staffing protocol and forms. All Provider Managers should plan to attend staffings with their assigned Providers.

  1. Staffings must be conducted at least quarterly for Cook County and Downstate offices to assure that all customers are accounted for and records are reconciled.
  2. The Department reserves the right to remove a customer from a Provider's program when it is determined that the customer is demonstrating insufficient progress or a pattern of non-compliance.
  3. If the Provider or FCRC has any problems or disputes about scheduling and/or conducting staffings, the Provider Manager is to be contacted for a resolution.

O. Staffing Protocol

Upon execution of the Agreement, the FCRC staff and the Provider will establish a meeting schedule to be attended by staff from both entities.

  1. At least five (5) workdays prior to the meeting, the Provider will send the Employment and Training Customer List (Form 4333) to the FCRC. The list will include the name and appropriate information for each customer being served. The Provider will indicate each customer's status and identify the customer(s) to be staffed.
  2. If the customer is being fully staffed (see below), Employment and Training Staff (Form 4334) will be attached to the Employment and Training Customer List (Form 4333). 

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P. Staffing (Full or Partial)

  1. Full Staffing - The following criteria will be used to identify customers that are required to be fully staffed:
    1. The customer is not progressing at a satisfactory level. (May include customers still in the retention phase of new employment.)
    2. The customer's counter is advanced - meaning the clock is at 36 months or higher.
    3. The customer is demonstrating other behaviors/actions that indicate potential problems in getting the customer employed (i.e., poor participation, minimal engagement/enthusiasm, involved in a treatment program to address other barriers, etc.).
    4. During the staffing, the Provider and FCRC staff will discuss the case and complete other required actions:
      1. Discuss the customer's progress and explore all resources available to the customer.
      2. Discuss appropriateness of the customer's current assignment and make revisions/changes if necessary.
      3. Explore the possibility of the existence of external factors affecting the customer's performance (i.e., children, gangs, domestic violence, etc.).
    5. The Providers will also report any behavioral or attitudinal changes that might negatively impact the customer's chances for obtaining employment.
    6. Verify the case status and customer's eligibility to continue participation in the program.
    7. Discuss and resolve any discrepancies during the meeting.
    8. The Provider will complete Section A of Form 4334 (Employment and Training Staffing) to indicate the identity of the service provider.
    9. The Provider and FCRC staff will complete Section B of Form 4334, to indicate any employment and training related changes in the customer's Responsibility and Services Plan.
    10. Staff will complete Section C of Form 4334 to indicate the case status.
    11. Both the FCRC representative and the Provider representative must sign the Employment and Training Staffing Form (4334) for customers who are fully staffed.
    12. The Provider will maintain a copy of Form 4334 and a copy is placed in the file maintained by the FCRC staff.
    13. If the full staffing results in the need to revise the customer's Responsibility and Services Plan, a follow-up meeting will be scheduled to discuss progress made on the revised goals and objectives. This meeting may be scheduled by the FCRC, the Provider, or both, and may include other interested parties.
    14. Staffings are not limited to established schedules and are to be conducted whenever a situation that negatively impacts the customer's employment opportunities arises. The FCRC staff or the Provider may initiate a Staffing.
  2. Partial Staffing - The following criteria will be used to identify customers that are required to be partially staffed:
    1. Customer Not Fully Staffed. For customers who were not selected for full staffing, the Provider completes the RSP Attendance and Activity Report (Form 4006) indicating the actual hours and activities completed by the customer.

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Q. Mediation (Concerns between the Provider and the FCRC)

The Regional Employment and Training Liaison and the DHS Provider Manager will act as mediators when the FCRC Administrator and the Provider are not able to resolve issues in a timely manner.

  1. The FCRC Administrator will notify the Regional Employment and Training Liaison within two (2) workdays if the Provider fails to adhere to the Quarterly staffing meeting schedule without notification, if there is an unresolved dispute about the customer's plan or how the customer is handled, or, of any issue that the FCRC Administrator identifies which will affect the terms of the Agreement.
  2. The Regional Employment and Training Liaison will arrange a meeting with the DHS Provider Manager within 5 calendar days to resolve issues/concerns. Urgent concerns will be handled immediately.

R. Work First Benefits 

Effective with the first month the case is in zero grant status, as verified by a computer printout, the Provider will initiate the Work First payment via the Work First Financial Assistance Link Payment Summary.

  1. The Provider will document their calculation of Work First benefits to be paid by the Department by listing the number of hours required for the customer to achieve the Federal participation rate.
  2. The TANF cash benefit amount shown in item number 1 on the Work First/Work Experience/ Community Service Worksheet (Form 4044) is reduced for every hour not worked by the hourly reduction rate.
  3. The Department will authorize the amount listed on the Work First Financial Assistance Link Payment Summary.
  4. The Provider must maintain attendance records and eligibility documentation to support the payment amounts issued.
  5. As customers complete their Work First assignments and no later than the 5th of the month following the end of the activity month, the Provider will provide the Department with the Work First Financial Assistance Link Payment Summary to ensure that the proper payment is credited to the customer's Link account.
  6. The Department will return the form to the Provider by e-mail indicating the date benefits will be available through the Link.
  7. Within 48 hours of receipt of the completed Work First Financial Assistance Link Payment Summary from the Department, the Provider will notify the Work First/Work Experience/ Community Service customer of the hours worked, benefits earned, and when funds will be accessible via the Link. Effective October 2017, the Work First payments will be automatically generated by IES (Integrated Eligibility System). The payments will be based on the weekly attendance submitted via WVS/IES by the Provider.

S. Harassment

Any harassment is unacceptable.  If a customer alleges that they're being harassed or have been harassed, the complaint must be investigated and reported.  All allegations of harassment must be reported using IL444-4026 (Individual/Applicant Discrimination Complaint Form).  If the complaint is against the Provider, submit this form to your Provider Manager and they will forward the complaint for further investigation.

T.  Agency Closure, Merger or Program Termination

Agencies are required to provide a minimum notice of 30 days written notice to DHS which allows for notification to the local FCRCs, customer reassignments, checks and balances of financial obligations with Office of Contract Administration, review Billing for de-obligations and close-out, terminate systems access and most importantly address customer file handling.

  1. Customer Removal requires a decision by the Program Manager or higher up.
  2. Customer attendance sheets are required for immediate entry.
  3. The following list is required from the Provider to the Provider Manager:
    1.   Numbers of customers;
    2.   Names of customers;
    3.   Site information of where they are located;
    4.   Contact information to allow for E&T to reach out to FCRCs for removal of customers; and
    5.   The work hours for customer's affected.

U. Protocol for Customer Breach

Extreme care in the storage and management of sensitive customer information is a priority and of high significance to the Department.

  1. A. breach in customer information should entail:
    1. A. summary report of how the breach occurred;
    2. The names of customers affected;
    3. When the breach occurred;
    4. The manner of storage and security;
    5. Where the breach occurred;
    6. Notification to DHS Privacy Officer;
    7. Notification to Associate Director of Workforce Development; and
    8. Notification to Bureau Chief of Employment & Training.
  2. A breach may elicit a report to the Office of Executive Inspector General Investigation.

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