The Local Investment Commission (LINC) is a citizen-driven community collaborative involving efforts by the State of Missouri to work with neighborhood leaders, citizens, business, civic and labor leaders to improve the lives of children and families in Kansas City and area counties. LINC’s mission is to provide leadership and influence to engage the Kansas City community in creating the best service delivery system to support and strengthen children, families and individuals, holding that system accountable, and changing public attitudes towards the system. Current initiatives include welfare to work, child welfare, early childhood education, school-based services, aging and neighborhood governance.
LINC has been involved in welfare to work since it was created in 1992 by the Missouri Department of Social Services at the behest of citizen leaders. LINCWorks locations are open in Jackson, Clay, Platte and Ray counties. Through its “community partnership” approach, LINC brings together state agencies, local human services organizations, citizen leaders and program participants to continually evaluate and modify the local welfare-to-work system. LINC leverages this community knowledge to inform LINCWorks, a program that is participant-driven, non-duplicative, and focused on moving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants to full-time, unsubsidized employment.
The LINCWorks initiative provides TANF participants with help on the path from welfare to skills and work. Services provided by LINCWorks include placement in countable work activity, ongoing case management, assistance with transportation and work-related expenses, and referral to partner organizations for job training, employment placement, childcare, warrant relief, trauma counseling and education assistance. LINCWorks also refers clients to services offered at more than 60 LINC Caring Communities sites. Through the Caring Communities initiative, LINC places a site coordinator at a school or neighborhood site to work with parents, neighbors and school staff to develop services in support of children, parents and neighborhoods. Services range from afterschool programs to emergency assistance to financial literacy and more. Specific services vary from site to site and are based on need as determined by citizen-led site councils. Because LINC Caring Communities sites are located primarily at schools in low-income neighborhoods, there is a significant number of LINCWorks clients with children who attend those schools. LINCWorks case managers and LINC Caring Communities site coordinators can work together to ensure TANF participants are able to access the full array of services on offer.
LINC improves client access to and quality of childcare through two early childhood education initiatives. The LINC Educare initiative provides childcare provider training on child development, safety, first aid, business development and other topics. The LINC Subsidy Services initiative provides registered childcare providers with payment agreements, payment processing and technical assistance. Collecting, converting, and disseminating data to the community also drives much of LINC's work. LINC develops data systems to monitor performance and progress, case manager efficiency, and outcomes of participants and the organization. Ensuring that information is useful and easy to comprehend and holding individuals accountable for the work they do with this data, are critical components of LINC's operations.
- TANF Program Administration
- Collaborations and Partnerships
- Services Integration