Access to reliable transportation is a common challenge in rural communities across the country, especially for low-income families who may have few public transit options, if any. Human services providers, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, regularly encounter this issue with the families they serve. The La Plata County (Colorado) Department of Human Services designed an innovative strategy to address this challenge and coach parents on planning and achieving their goals at the same time. Called “Mobile Coaching,” their intervention took case management “on the road” by providing rides for TANF participants to and from service providers in the community, and using the time in transit to discuss the participant’s goals.
The La Plata County team used research methods from the Learn, Innovate, Improve (LI2) framework to generate formative insights about their creative new strategy. Through this collaborative process, staff gained new perspectives about working with their participants and were able to help some families take considerable steps forward with their goals. (Edited author introduction)