ATLANTA– Citizens of Georgia seeking economic assistance can expect more personalized and timely service delivery as a result of the statewide implementation of a practice model that emphasizes families having continuity in caseworkers at the local level.
The “One Caseworker, One Family” model changes the way the Georgia Division of Family and
Children Services (DFCS) helps low income families through its Office of Family Independence
(OFI). The OFI oversees eligibility programs, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Child Care and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) - formerly referred to as Food Stamps.
The new approach, which became effective on August 1, 2015, ensures that families will be able to work with a single caseworker within their community throughout the process of applying for, receiving and/or renewing assistance. Previously, the eligibility process was centralized at the state level and required applicants to deal with multiple staff members, each responsible for just one portion of a case.
“The local DFCS offices will now be managing applications and renewals locally,” said Jon Anderson, DFCS OFI Deputy Director . “This will give our local customers an assigned case manager to work with until their case is complete.”
The case managers will be supervised at the local DFCS offices where they work and be held accountable for the customer service they provide. Oversight will be provided by district management, which is responsible for outcomes.
Citizens can apply for benefits by mail, in person or through COMPASS, (COMPASS is available for SNAP Applications Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Local County DFCS information can be found on the web at www.dfcs.dhs.ga.gov.
Meanwhile, the Statewide Call Center, where all assistance applications were previously funneled, has been refocused to handle general inquiries and change reporting. Additionally, in order to be conscientious of the time our customers have to spend on the phone waiting, beginning October 9th, we will be notifying callers up front if they are calling at a time with excessive waits, and offer options of better times to call. Customers can always receive assistance through self-service on COMPASS or at their local DFCS offices.
Implementation of the “One Caseworker, One Family” model is intended to improve service delivery, effectiveness and accountability within the DFCS OFI Programs.