2. Outreach and Goal-Setting
3. Case Management / Coaching
4. Increasing Earnings
5. Building Financial Capability
6. FSS Infrastructure
2. Outreach and Goal-Setting
Participant assessments are a critical step in the process of working with FSS participants, and their general purpose is to help FSS coordinators and participants identify strengths and supportive service needs and assess skills and barriers to education and employment. Assessments also serve several other purposes:
This video explains how participant assessments help to achieve these objectives.
FSS © 2017 | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Participant assessments may be conducted using an off-the-shelf tool or a customized assessment form developed by the FSS program. At minimum, the assessment should measure client well-being across a number of areas including (click the arrows to expand the content):
Basic Family Information
Topics covered in this area may include: marital status, household members, dependents, living situation and housing, food security.
Education History and Goals
Topics covered in this area may include: educational level, job training, licenses and certifications.
Employment History, Goals, and Barriers
Topics covered in this area may include: experience, career interests, legal status, criminal history.
One FSS coordinator uses the following triage form for quarterly meetings with their Workforce Solutions office to 'triage' hard-to-serve families.
Sample Case Review Triage Form - Brazos Valley Council of Governments
They also use this spreadsheet to track participants' work readiness.
Finances and Asset Building
Topics covered in this area may include: individual and household income, budgeting, credit, debt, savings, financial management, credit scores.
Barriers or Family Needs
Topics covered in this area may include: physical or mental health concerns of all family members, substance abuse issues, nutrition, transportation, clothing, and childcare needs.
In this video, one FSS practitioner describes her program's holistic approach to assessment.
If your FSS program does not already use a single standard assessment form, consider standardizing the assessment process and administering the same form to each participant. Standardization introduces fairness, structure, and consistency, and can save time. There are many existing assessment tools that can be administered by program coordinators or via referrals to partner organizations.
The following are informal assessment tools designed to identify areas of need for additional, professional assessments (such as medical, mental health, educational, and career) and to assist participants in goal-setting or task choices in areas that do not require further assessment. FSS coordinators may wish to administer these assessment tools:
The following are examples of career assessment tools that a professional employment counselor might administer. They are intended to be used in employment counseling involving assessment, analysis, and career choice and matching, as well as counseling on educational and training choices. Unless the FSS Coordinator is a trained career counselor, participants should receive a referral for these assessments. It is common for states to require certification to administer some of these tools:
HUD does not necessarily endorse or recommend these assessment tools, which are displayed here for reference only.
Assessment Matrices can be a useful way to structure the assessment. Matrices organize the assessment into clear categories, with suggested questions and a ranking system for scoring the participant on each subject covered by the assessment. A general measure of well-being may include a scale like this one:
If a participant is In Crisis or At Risk, coordinators can help the client identify and incorporate changes, and make referrals to other services. If revisited periodically, a matrix can also be used to track a participant’s progress over time. Additionally, a triage or matrix such as this can help an FSS program establish expectations or program policies regarding how often a program coordinator will be in contact with a participant.
The following tips may also be useful to consider when planning meetings with participants:
As this video illustrates, assessment tools are useful in evaluating participants' progress throughout the program.
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