Work First Services

Work First Program

Work First Family Assistance began in Warren County on January 1, 1997 as indicated by North Carolina’s Work First Implementation Schedule for counties. Even though the program has existed a relatively short time, success of the program has come through the efforts of many agencies, groups, and individuals that provided invaluable advice, shared thoughts and ideas.

We recognize the many economic, social and financial barriers currently confronting Warren County, and efforts have been made to develop the most comprehensive plan to include a wide range of educational, training and job opportunities necessary to enable many WFFA recipients to reach goals of increased self-sufficiency, reduction in the time spent on public assistance and improved social functioning.


The mission of the Department of Social Service (DSS) is to provide an integrated system of opportunities, services and income supports that enable recipients to develop self-sufficiency and achieve and maintain independence. Thus all efforts will be client centered with the greatest possible degree of flexibility to ensure “success” for people rather than program. When participants are successful, Work First Family Assistance will be a success.

Work First is North Carolina State's welfare reform program that helps financially struggling families find jobs, keep their jobs, get better jobs and build a better life for their children.

Work First Employment

Work First Employment Services assists with training, work experience, and supportive casework services to enable Work First Family Assistance recipients to become self-sufficient and self-supporting. This program is administered by the Warren County Department of Social Services. Work is required for families on welfare. Work First is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children.

Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and families can get childcare assistance and other services to help them become self-sufficient, but ultimately the responsibility is theirs, and most families have two years to move off welfare. In any given months, depending on how many families come into the system, how long they stay, and how many leave, the number of families on welfare rises or falls.


Recognizing this, Work First emphasizes three strategies:

  1. Diversion: Keeping families off welfare by helping them cope with unexpected emergencies or setbacks. Under Work First, qualifying families a can get up to three months worth of cash Diversion Assistance, childcare, Food Stamp benefits, and Medicaid, if they stay off welfare.
  2. Work: Shortening the length of time that families are on welfare by making work mandatory and by limiting how long a family can receive cash assistance. To receive Work First benefits, parents must register with the First Stop Employment Assistance Program, sign a Mutual Responsibility Agreement, and once they move into the phased-in work requirement; they can continue to receive benefits for up to 24 months. Families reaching the 24-month limit cannot reapply for welfare for three years.
  3. Retention: Helping families that leave welfare to stay off by encouraging them to save and by helping to maintain permanent employment.