Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ernesto Escobedo


Welfare-to-work (WTW) programs are an essential part of societal assistance made available to families in need. In ABC County, CA, problems have been found with the implementation and success rates of their WTW program: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Even with funds allotted for the program, ABC County has not been able to design a WTW program that meets the TANF program work participation requirement of 50% of active TANF recipients in a WTW activity. The purpose of this study was to address this need as it related to the TANF program specifically. A qualitative, exploratory, single case study was used to explore how TANF personnel interacted with TANF recipients and how that interaction influenced recipients’ decision to participate in this WTW program. Data was collected from 12 TANF workers using semi-structured interviews, observation sessions, and document reviews. The results of this study indicated that the most relevant strategies TANF eligibility staff could use when interacting with TANF recipients were: cultural sensitivity, motivating, providing information, and empathizing. Shortcomings that were identified and that still need to be addressed and improved upon were communication skills, a general lack of encouragement, judgmental behavior, and personal insecurities. In terms of TANF staff perceptions regarding their influence on client decisions to participate in the program, there were mixed results. Seven study participants believed that they had an influence on client participation in this WTW program while the rest of the participants disagreed with this statement for various reasons. As a result of this research, potential social implications include the improvement of the TANF program overall and an increase in the participation rate of the beneficiaries within the program.