Veterans Affairs Compensated Work Therapy Initiative
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
DATE: September 6, 2005
TO: ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS
RE: Veterans Affairs Compensated Work Therapy Initiative
This letter is to advise you of an initiative by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and their interest in working with IV-D agencies as they serve Veterans involved in their Compensated Work Therapy Program (CWT).
CWT is a vocational rehabilitation program administered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The program has two fundamental goals: to rehabilitate the veteran to a level of full-time gainful employment; and to maintain a veteran’s level of functioning and keep him/her from deteriorating to a less functional level.
CWT Programs are located in over 100 VA facilities throughout the United States. Participants in CWT programs are referred by a primary-care clinical team that has assessed the veteran and determined he/she could benefit from the program. Vocational rehabilitation specialists then work with the veteran to address barriers that stand in the way of achieving full-time gainful employment in the private sector. Frequently those veterans enrolled in the CWT program have multiple challenges including psychiatric and substance abuse issues, physical limitations, are ex-offenders, and/or have family relationship issues. Often the veterans also have child support obligations that have accumulated significant arrearages.
The VA CWT Program would like to partner with IV-D programs to work together in serving the needs of veterans and their families who are involved in the CWT program. You may be hearing from a representative of the CWT Program that serves your state or jurisdiction to discuss the potential of participating in the project and the terms and conditions of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). A few States have already been contacted, and have either entered into an MOU or are considering a proposal. Initial data collected by the VA suggests some degree of success in meeting the program goals by those veterans participating.
We note that this type of effort is aligned with the new National Child Support Strategic Plan for 2005-2009, as it pertains to helping parents who are struggling to meet their financial responsibilities, and customizing our approach to customer service to meet the needs of special populations. In terms of collections, veterans who successfully complete the program should also have an increased potential of making regular payments.
We encourage States and tribes to consider working with the VA on this important initiative. States and other jurisdictions are free to negotiate the type of program requirements and/or MOU details that are deemed most appropriate for their non-custodial parents involved in the CWT program. Any questions concerning this program can be addressed to Larry R. Holtz at firstname.lastname@example.org or the following VA contact:
Ralph Zaccheo, Administrative Officer
Veterans Health Administration – Psychosocial Rehabilitation
Mental Health Strategic Health Care Group
15 Veterans Way, Suite 111
Lowell, MA 01852
Tel (978) 446-0214
Fax (978) 446-0238
Margot Bean, Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: Regional Program Managers