The CSDE includes experimental and nonexperimental components. A previous report presented results
from the experimental evaluation for the first cohort of cases. This three-volume report includes results
from the nonexperimental analyses.
• Volume I summarizes and compares the experimental evaluation and three quantitative
• Volume II reports on fathers of children in W-2 families, and features findings from an
• This volume includes the full quantitative nonexperimental studies summarized in Volume I.
In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) eliminated the AFDC program and gave states considerable flexibility and responsibility in designing a replacement program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Under AFDC, states were required to pass through to the family the first $50 per month of child support collected, and to disregard this amount in calculating AFDC benefits. Under TANF, states could set their own policies for passing through and disregarding any child support paid on behalf of children on cash assistance, and were required only to withhold the federal share of child support collected. Under the new rules, most states chose to pass no money collected to the resident parent. In 1997, Wisconsin received a waiver from federal rules allowing it to pass through the entire amount of support collected to the resident parent, and to disregard all child support in calculating TANF cash payments. One requirement of the waiver was to conduct an evaluation of this policy change, the Child Support Demonstration Evaluation (CSDE). A key component of the CSDE is a random-assignment experimental evaluation: although most parents in the state receive the full amount of child support paid on their behalf (the experimental group), a randomly selected group of parents (the control group) receives only a portion of what is paid.
Currently most state evaluations of TANF-related policy changes are nonexperimental; it is therefore particularly important to reach a fuller understanding of the sensitivity of conclusions to the type of evaluation. This report contains three nonexperimental analyses that provide additional information on whether pass-through policy affects formal child support payments and orders and paternity establishment rates. The report also includes a comparison of these nonexperimental results with the CSDE experimental evaluation findings. (author abstract)