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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2016

    This set of selections focuses on child-only TANF cases. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

    This set of selections focuses on child-only TANF cases. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

  • Individual Author: Falk, Gene
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides states, territories, and Indian tribes with federal grants for benefits and services intended to ameliorate the effects, and address the root causes, of child poverty. It was created in the 1996 welfare reform law, and is most associated with policies such as time limits and work requirements that sought to address concerns about “welfare dependency” of single mothers who received cash assistance. This report examines the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload in FY2013, and compares it with selected post-welfare reform years (FY2001 and FY2006) and pre-welfare reform years (FY1988 and FY1994). The size of the caseload first increased, from 3.7 million families per month in FY1988 to 5.0 million families per month in FY1994, and then declined to 2.2 million families in FY2001 and 1.7 million families in FY2013. Over this period, some of the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload have remained fairly stable, and other characteristics have changed. (author introduction)

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides states, territories, and Indian tribes with federal grants for benefits and services intended to ameliorate the effects, and address the root causes, of child poverty. It was created in the 1996 welfare reform law, and is most associated with policies such as time limits and work requirements that sought to address concerns about “welfare dependency” of single mothers who received cash assistance. This report examines the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload in FY2013, and compares it with selected post-welfare reform years (FY2001 and FY2006) and pre-welfare reform years (FY1988 and FY1994). The size of the caseload first increased, from 3.7 million families per month in FY1988 to 5.0 million families per month in FY1994, and then declined to 2.2 million families in FY2001 and 1.7 million families in FY2013. Over this period, some of the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload have remained fairly stable, and other characteristics have changed. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Miller, Emily
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2016

    Emily Miller, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse and Child Trends Staff

    In 2013, nearly two in five of all the 1.7 million Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cases were child-only—cases in which the child(ren), not the caregiver(s), received a cash benefit. Child-only TANF cases differ from regular TANF in several key ways, including a general lack of time limits, work requirements, income limits, and other work supports such as childcare....

    Emily Miller, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse and Child Trends Staff

    In 2013, nearly two in five of all the 1.7 million Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cases were child-only—cases in which the child(ren), not the caregiver(s), received a cash benefit. Child-only TANF cases differ from regular TANF in several key ways, including a general lack of time limits, work requirements, income limits, and other work supports such as childcare. Despite representing a large percentage of state TANF caseloads, as well as a diverse and often vulnerable population, there is limited in-depth research on child-only TANF cases.

    Child-only TANF cases generally fall into three groups: child-only TANF non-parent caregiver (NPC) cases and two types of parental child-only cases. In NPC cases, the child does not live with a parent. Children frequently live with a relative, most often a grandparent, and many children who enter into NPC arrangements have experienced prior abuse or neglect.

    In parental child-only TANF cases, parents are present in the household but do not qualify for regular TANF. In many of these cases, parents are ineligible because they either receive supplemental security income (SSI) or are ineligible immigrant parents (IIP). Additional state specified sanctions against parents make up a very small percentage of the child-only caseload. In most cases, parents receiving SSI have a work-disabling health limitation and are ineligible to receive regular TANF benefits. States’ TANF programs have a variety of eligibility requirements immigrant parents must meet to receive TANF benefits. For example, refugees and permanent residents with fewer than five years of residency are ineligible to receive benefits in certain states. Regardless of the parent’s immigrant status, children who are U.S. citizens are eligible to receive benefits.

    In 1997, following the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, commonly referred to as welfare reform), 20% of TANF cases were child-only. Since then, the total number of adult-aided TANF cases has decreased; and the percentage of child-only TANF cases rose dramatically to make up about 50% of the total TANF caseload in the mid-2000s. In 2013, child-only cases comprised 38% of the caseload. NPC cases made up 48% of the child-only caseload, compared to IIP at 29% and SSI at 23%. However, the national trend in child-only cases can be deceptive because of the state-by-state differences in caseload composition. For example, in 30 states, child-only TANF cases made up 30–49% of all TANF cases; but, in five states, 70% of TANF cases are child-only. The composition of the child-only cases also varies tremendously. Although NPC cases are generally the largest subset of child-only cases, this number varies from 5% in Maine to 89% in Idaho. The IIP caseload varies as well. Just three states (California, New York, and Washington) made up two thirds of the nationwide IIP caseload.

    There is diversity among all types of child-only TANF caseloads in terms of family composition, needs, and challenges. For example, non-parent caregivers have to navigate child care or counseling—needs that child-only TANF grants do not address. SSI parents’ concerns about potentially deteriorating physical health, less work history than other TANF parents, and decreasing self-sufficiency differ from those of parents who are immigrants. Immigrant parents may be more hesitant to formally interact with public programs because of their immigration status. Despite these differences, policies tend to treat all child-only cases similarly. Children in the child-only TANF system are often wedged between two policy spheres: cash assistance and broader child welfare policies and systems. Despite the cash assistance that TANF provides, children in these vulnerable families often need additional resources such as case management and other support services.

    Although they make up about half the TANF caseload, very little research has documented the specific needs and well-being of children in varied types of child-only TANF households. Furthermore, even less research has been conducted to examine the needs and challenges of children in different types of child-only TANF households. More research is necessary to better understand the experiences of children with child-only TANF cases in order to fully meet the needs of these vulnerable children and families.

    Learn more about child-only TANF from the SSRC:

    A recently posted SSRC Selections on child-only TANF includes more in-depth descriptions of resources. Additionally, the SSRC Library contains numerous reports and stakeholder resources about child-only TANF, including:

    • Welfare Rules Database: This database provides a comprehensive resource for anyone comparing cash assistance programs between states, researching changes in cash assistance rules within a single state, or looking for the most up-to-date information on the rules governing cash assistance in one state. It includes specific information about the maximum amount of benefits for child-only TANF cases.
    • TANF child-only cases: In this brief, the authors describe how the child-only TANF caseload has changed, and how cases become child-only. Furthermore, the authors describe how these cases interact with other policies and provide implications and areas for future research.
    • TANF child-only cases: Who are they? What policies affect them? What is being done?: In this report, the authors closely examine the diverse needs and prevalent data of different child-only TANF cases. The authors examine 35 states and conduct supplemental analyses on four states. 
    • Improving grandfamilies’ access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: This brief first describes specific policy rules for non-parental caregiver, or kinship, TANF. The authors then evaluate how different policy mechanisms potentially impact families. The authors also examine the unique needs of kinship caregivers.

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

  • Individual Author: Patton, Deleena; Shah, Melissa; Felver, Barbara; Beall, Kathryn
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    This report describes key outcomes for parents and children who left TANF before and after recent program changes, including changes to the criteria for time limit extensions. WorkFirst cases make up a decreasing share of the TANF caseload relative to child-only cases, as a greater proportion of WorkFirst families leave and do not return. Relative to other groups of WorkFirst leavers, those who left due to time limits had high rates of baseline health risk but were less likely to transition to disability-related medical coverage. Time limited leavers and those who took longer to leave the caseload also faced greater barriers to work but remained connected to supports and services. (author abstract)

    This report describes key outcomes for parents and children who left TANF before and after recent program changes, including changes to the criteria for time limit extensions. WorkFirst cases make up a decreasing share of the TANF caseload relative to child-only cases, as a greater proportion of WorkFirst families leave and do not return. Relative to other groups of WorkFirst leavers, those who left due to time limits had high rates of baseline health risk but were less likely to transition to disability-related medical coverage. Time limited leavers and those who took longer to leave the caseload also faced greater barriers to work but remained connected to supports and services. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Nicoli, Lisa Thiebaud ; Passarella, Letitia Logan; Born, Catherine E.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    In a previous brief profiling the Hispanic Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) population, we noted that two-thirds of all Hispanic TCA cases do not have an adult included in the assistance unit. This unusually high percentage of child-only cases warrants further investigation, so this brief focuses on child-only cases in the October 2011 caseload, comparing Hispanic and non-Hispanic child-only cases. (author abstract) 

    In a previous brief profiling the Hispanic Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) population, we noted that two-thirds of all Hispanic TCA cases do not have an adult included in the assistance unit. This unusually high percentage of child-only cases warrants further investigation, so this brief focuses on child-only cases in the October 2011 caseload, comparing Hispanic and non-Hispanic child-only cases. (author abstract) 

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