This paper reports findings of a study of female Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and non-recipients ages 18-40, receiving behavioral health services in the rural Southwest in 1998-9. TANF recipients (N = 119) were more likely to be seriously mentally ill than non-recipients (N = 370), suggesting that a subgroup of TANF recipients may face significant barriers to employment given the new TANF regulations. The author argues that responsibility for recognizing the needs of TANF recipients for behavioral health services is shared by both the public welfare and behavioral health systems. Suggestions for meeting this challenge in both systems are discussed.

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