The Newport News Department of Human Services administers the state's Welfare to Work program known as VIEW (Virginia's Initiative for Employment not Welfare). VIEW promotes employment and provides work support to recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), a cash benefits program for eligible families. TANF recipients not meeting an exemption are required to engage in work activities in order to maintain benefits. Federal regulations mandate a five year maximum lifetime receipt of TANF benefits. In Virginia, a family may receive TANF benefits for a period of 24 months, followed by a 24 month period of ineligibility, until reaching the five year maximum.
In Newport News, the VIEW unit provides a comprehensive approach to stabilizing families and assists parents to prepare for and obtain employment. A variety of supportive services are provided to overcome barriers to employment. They include:
Assisted job search
Child day care
Continuing education services
Job readiness classes
On-site substance abuse and mental health assessments
Volunteer work opportunities with community non-profits
All services are offered to eligible participants based on the availability of funding. Congress reauthorized the TANF program through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Effective October 2006, more TANF recipients are required to participate in work activities 35 hours per week in order to maintain benefits.
Food Stamp Employment and Training Program (FSET)
This is an employment services program exclusively for recipients of food stamps between the ages of 18 and 60. The program provides limited assistance for individual job search activities, education, training, or work experience. Work experience is a placement in a nonprofit organization to gain work skills, refresh resumes, and gain work references. People who are ill, caring for disabled household members or children under 6, or who are already working full time are not required to participate.