Download the SonomaWORKS Client Handbook
All SonomaWORKS clients receive this Client Handbook. It includes an overview of the program.
SonomaWORKS and You
Working Toward a Better Future
Who Must Participate?
Who is Exempt?
What to Expect
Hours of Required Participation
Welfare to Work Plan
Good Reasons for Not Participating
What Happens if You Do Not Participate
What You Can Do if You Do Not Agree
Welfare to Work Plan
You and your counselor will work together to determine your career goal and develop a plan to reach it. Your Welfare to Work Plan will list your goal, the activities you agree to participate in to reach your goal, and the services you will receive.
Sometimes plans are written in stages with a series of goals that lead to self-sufficiency. Your plan may evolve as you go through the program. Other plans are written in one or two meetings.
Once you sign your Welfare to Work Plan, you are committed to it. You are required to notify your counselor before you change the activities listed on the plan or enroll in activities that are not in the plan. If you enroll in activities or classes that are not included in your plan, SonomaWORKS may not support your new activity. Your counselor will help you review your Welfare to Work Plan, including:
- SonomaWORKS Rights and Responsibilities Agreement tells you about SonomaWORKS. It outlines our responsibilities to you and your rights and responsibilities as a participant. This agreement applies as long as you are in SonomaWORKS.
- This SonomaWORKS Handbook. Read this book and keep ithandy so that you can refer back to it as needed.
- Your Welfare to Work Plan outlines the steps that you will be taking and the services you will receive under SonomaWORKS. Read all of the parts of your Welfare to Work Plan carefully. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your counselor. Both you and your counselor will sign an activity agreement for each activity in your plan. In order to remain in good standing with SonomaWORKS, you must continue to participate for the appropriate number of hours, moving from one activity to another, until you get a job and become self-supporting.
SonomaWORKS will pay for certain supportive services needed while you participate in your activities if other funding sources are not available for these expenses, SonomaWORKS will help you arrange and pay for the supportive services described below:
- Childcare: If childcare is necessary for you to participate in SonomaWORKS activities, SonomaWORKS will pay for childcare for each child who is 12 years old or younger and included on your TANF grant. Also, the program may pay for childcare for a child who lives with you but is not on your TANF grant, if not having childcare would keep you from participating or getting a job. You can choose the kind of childcare provider you want, including a childcare center, relative, friend, or neighbor. We cannot pay for childcare provided by somebody who is on your TANF grant, or who is the child’s legal guardian or the child’s parent, or by someone who is under 18 years old. Payments can be made to licensed childcare providers and, in some cases, to persons who are not licensed. If your provider is not licensed, unless your provider is your child’s aunt, uncle, or grandparent, he or she must apply for TrustLine registration. If TrustLine registration applies to your situation, you will be given more information. We cannot pay more than the normal rate for childcare in the area where you live. We will only pay the provider. We do not reimburse you for childcare costs you have paid, or for childcare that occurred more than thirty days prior to the date you requested childcare. A full explanation of the SonomaWORKS Child Care policies is contained in the SonomaWORKS Child Care Parent/Provider handbook.
- Alternative Payment Program: Once you are working steadily,have started training or you leave aid, we will transfer your childcare services to the local Alternative Payment Program. Your childcare provider does not have to change once you go to work or transition off aid. If you still need help with your childcare costs after you are no longer receiving cash aid, you may be eligible, depending on the amount of your income and your family’s situation, to continue to get help from the Alternative Payment Program.
: SonomaWORKS will pay reasonable transportation costs for you to participate in your SonomaWORKS activity, to accept or keep a job, and to travel to and from childcare as needed. The program will reimburse you at the same rate as the least costly form of public transportation, unless there is no public transportation available. In that case, if you use your own vehicle, you must have a valid driver’s license to be reimbursed. If you are using public transportation, you may receive bus passes. Advance payments (gas vouchers and bus tickets) are available, if considered appropriate.
- Work or Training Expenses: SonomaWORKS will purchase items, such as books, tools, and special clothing if needed for participation in your SonomaWORKS training and educational activities or to obtain employment. If you have expenses that you want SonomaWORKS to cover, contact your counselor. Your counselor will ask you to get an estimate from the vendor with the exact cost of the item. Do not purchase the item until you have discussed it with your counselor.
- Personal Counseling: If you need personal counseling to help you participate in SonomaWORKS, mental health counselors are available for you on-site. Your counselor can also provide referrals to places in your community that may be able to help you.
- Advance Payments: If you qualify for SonomaWORKS supportive services payments, and you need your supportive service payment before you begin your work activity, talk with your counselor or specialist.
Note: If SonomaWORKS provides you with supportive service payments to help you participate in the program and you do not participate, do not provide proof of satisfactory attendance when requested, or do not provide proof that you purchased the item we made payment for, the supportive service payment is considered an overpayment. If SonomaWORKS pays more for childcare, transportation, or work/training related costs than necessary for you to participate in SonomaWORKS, you may have to pay SonomaWORKS back.