The Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) offers parents the assistance and resources needed to find and keep a job. An important aspect of the program is the strong support participants receive from their VIEW case manager, who focuses on each family's individual situation and works with them to support their goals of employment and independence. VIEW focuses on the participants' strengths and provides services to help them overcome job-related challenges, as well as personal, medical and family challenges that affect employment.
The Fairfax County Department of Family Services (DFS) administers benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides temporary cash assistance to families with low-incomes who have children. Parents who receive this assistance, and are able to work, are required to participate in the VIEW program.
Key features and requirements of the VIEW program:
- Adults receiving TANF in Virginia, who are able to work, must participate in VIEW when their youngest child is 12 months of age or older.
- Parents must work or participate in certain work activities the whole time they are in VIEW.
- VIEW participants sign an agreement that documents their willing participation in the program and their acceptance of responsibility to work to achieve independence from welfare. Participation in the VIEW program is a demanding full-time commitment.
- TANF eligibility is limited to 24-month periods for VIEW participants, followed by a 24-month break. Extensions may be granted for specified hardships. Federal law limits TANF assistance to a maximum of 60 months.
- VIEW participants who obtain employment may earn up to the federal poverty level and still receive TANF.
VIEW program support services:
- Child Care: Available when needed while parents are employed or participating in activities.
- Transportation: A transportation allowance payment is available to help cover transportation costs while participating in the program.
- Medical and Dental Services: Limited services which are not covered by Medicaid to enable participants to get or keep a job.
- Screening and Evaluation for hidden disabilities. Referrals are made for treatment and special needs services.
- Emergency Interventions: Urgent help with emergencies and crises that may impact employment.
- Information about filing for child support, the Earned Income Tax Credit and local community services.
VIEW has strict requirements:
- VIEW has strict requirements on the number of hours and types of activities that are part of the work program. In addition to paid employment, authorized work activities include:
- Searching for a job or receiving job readiness assistance.
- Volunteering to gain work experience.
- Training on the job.
- Training at a vocational school.
Education and training may also be available in some cases, and may include: training for a specific job, studying to receive a high school credential (diploma or GED), or learning English for those who are speakers of other languages.
Transitional services* that may be available when a participant’s TANF closes are:
- Transportation assistance.
- Child care assistance.
- Employment and training services.
- A monthly incentive payment to encourage job retention ($50 per month for up to one year while qualified employment is maintained).
*Transitional services are those available to a participant for up to one year after the participant no longer receives TANF.