The IEP is the roadmap to self-sufficiency for Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) participants. It is required by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) regulations and must be completed with each recipient prior to beginning employment and training activities. The IEP provides the opportunity for an accurate appraisal of the recipient’s educational and employment goals, as well as indications of any roadblocks or barriers with a plan for resolution of such.
The IEP is a contract between the recipient and the case manager. Case managers must determine with the recipient a realistic and achievable plan of action to reach their employment goals. This is not a function of the case manager alone. If the recipient can’t decide what his/her personal employment goals may be the case manager must assist the recipient in developing goals using interest surveys, aptitude tests, etc.
The IEP is a fluid document, and may be modified at any time circumstances warrant. The recipient must agree to and sign the IEP when major changes are made. Case managers must not modify an IEP without the agreement of the recipient. This is not the case manager’s plan, but the recipient’s plan for themselves. Major changes include, but are not limited to:
- A change in long- or short-term goals
- A change in a barrier, whether newly acquired, or overcome;
- A change in household status, from a single parent household to a two-parent household, or the reverse;
- A change in the recipient’s name; or
- A change in work activities
The ramifications of the IEP as a contract should be clearly explained to the recipient, i.e.: the recipient, with the assistance of the case manager, agrees to perform the activities outlined therein, or risk a reduction in Temporary Assistance benefits.
There is no cookie-cutter approach that will be successful with all MWA recipients. Each recipient has different needs, abilities and motivation. Use the IEP combined with an assessment as a guideline to stimulate the formulation of a meaningful plan and suggest resources for goal accomplishment.
Complete the IEP when the TA recipient begins participating in the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program and when a major change occurs.
In very rare instances an IEP can be completed during a telephone conversation. Completing an IEP can only be done over the telephone when the case manager and recipient can’t meet due to interrupting the recipient’s employment. The case manager should always try to arrange a meeting before or after the recipient’s employment. Do not complete an IEP if the recipient is not available. This is the recipient’s plan, not the case manager’s.