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Client Handbook

Download the SonomaWORKS Client Handbook

All SonomaWORKS clients receive this Client Handbook. It includes an overview of the program.

Client Handbook

Jump to:
SonomaWORKS and You
Working Toward a Better Future
Who Must Participate?
Who is Exempt?
What to Expect
Hours of Required Participation
SonomaWORKS Activities
Welfare to Work Plan
Supportive Services
Satisfactory Participation
Good Reasons for Not Participating
What Happens if You Do Not Participate
What You Can Do if You Do Not Agree
Post-Aid Services
Your Worker

What to Expect

Appraisal/Eligibility Determination

After the SonomaWORKS Orientation, you will meet with a specialist for an appraisal to review your skills, abilities, education and work history. During the appraisal, your specialistwill determine whether you are eligible for cash aid through the TANF/SonomaWORKS Program. In order to qualify for TANF/SonomaWORKS, your children must show a need due to the absence, death, incapacity or unemployment of a parent.

Your specialist will review your situation and application. They will need to review documents such as birth certificates, proofof pregnancy, bank statements, car registrations, verification that school-age children are attending school, and proof that children under the age of six have received all age-appropriate immunizations. You may be referred to other agencies and be asked to bring back proof that you went to those agencies.

Once your specialist has looked over your paperwork, you'll be asked to sign a Statement of Facts. This is a legal document, so be sure you understand the application before you sign it. Your specialist will determine if you qualify for cash assistance and will mail you a Notice of Action (letter from the County) telling you the amount of aid for which you have been approved, or that aid has been denied and the reason for the denial. Your specialist will also determine if you are required to participate in the SonomaWORKS program.

Job Search

Following the appraisal, most participants will be assigned to four weeks of job search activities. Job search will take place at a nonprofit agency in your community. The job search time period may be extended if the county and you agree that it would be beneficial to you.

The following participants will not be required to participate in Job Search after the Appraisal, but may ask to do so:
  • A person who is working in an unsubsidized job or is participating in an approved Self-Initiated Program (SIP – see explanation below) if the job search schedule would keep them from working or participating in their SIP.
  • A teen parent required to participate in the Teen Parent program or a custodial parent age 19, without a high school diploma or GED.
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If you did not find a job during job search or you did not attend job search, you will meet with a counselor for an in depth assessment of your abilities, interests, work history, and education to determine an employment goal that will help lead you to self-sufficiency. The assessment may include vocational testing or workshops designed to help you identify your goal. Your counselormay ask you to do some research about the local labor market demand for your job goal. With your counselor, you will develop a Welfare to Work Plan, which will include a series of activities and services to help you reach your employment goal.

Self-Initiated Program (SIP)

If you are enrolled in an educational or training program at the time of your appraisal, you may be considered to be in a Self-Initiated Program (SIP). Your counselor will make the determination. If your SIP is not approved, you have until the end of the current semester to complete the steps required to have your SIP approved or to complete your education/training program. State law does not allow SonomaWORKS to support education for degrees beyond the Bachelor’s level.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens when a person hurts or threatens to hurt someone from a past or present intimate relationship.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please let your specialist or counselor know. You can meet with the SonomaWORKS Domestic Violence Victim Advocate. She can put you in contact with organizations that provide shelter, counseling, and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. If your domestic violence situation is a barrier for you in reaching self-sufficiency, your specialist or counselor may also change the following SonomaWORKS requirements for you:

  • Extend time limits on receipt of cash aid.
  • Reduce work requirements.
  • Postpone certain verifications, such as school attendance.
  • Suspend paternity establishment, and/or child support cooperation.
Your confidentiality will be protected if you identify yourself as a victim of domestic violence. If you want to discuss how we can help you to get out of a harmful situation, please speak with your counselor or specialist. Our highest concern is for you and your children’s safety.
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