OFA Webinar: The Whole Family Approach: How TANF Programs Can Engage Customers in Mental Health Services

During the continued recovery from and ongoing response to the COVID epidemic, every member of TANF families has experienced a growing set of challenges to their mental well-being. Amplified socioeconomic issues such as the rising cost of daily expenses, especially food, gas, and housing; difficulties with finding quality and long-term employment; and challenges with access to healthcare continue to place an increased mental burden on low-income families. In addition, children who previously found stability at school, even when it was not present at home, have had to endure constant changes in school closures, learning styles, and staff fluctuations and shortages.

Due to the heightened need of mental health services for all members of the family, it is vital that health and human service departments and community organizations consider mental health promotion as part of a comprehensive approach to service delivery. TANF programs provide an important touchpoint to low-income families facing mental health challenges and can improve access and utilization of mental health services for parents and children.

The Office of Family Assistance hosted a webinar on January 26, 2023 where speakers discussed the intersection between poverty, trauma, and mental health and shared strategies that could help improve long-term mental health outcomes for low-income families. Webinar attendees were able to engage with peers in dialogue focused on building mental health service strategies for TANF families impacted by various traumas.

Speakers included Mary Beth Vogel-Ferguson, Research Associate Professor, Social Research Institute, University of Utah; Lisa Guetzkow, Integrated Programs Manager, Ramsey County, Minnesota; Arnold Ontiveros, Staff Manager and Melisia Montano, OPRE Program Manager, both at the New Mexico Human Services Department; and Maria Aguirre-Mendoza, Executive Director, Soboba Tribal TANF Program. Mary Roberto, Project Director, Workforce Innovation and Poverty Solutions, ICF, facilitated the webinar.

Record Type: 
Webinar / Webcast
Publication Date: 
January, 2023
January 26, 2023
Webinar Date: 
January 26, 2023
New Mexico
Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians (CA)
  • Family Strengthening
    • Two-Generation Approaches
  • Supportive Services
    • Health/Behavioral Health Referrals and Supports
  • Special Populations
  • TANF Program Administration