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  • Individual Author: Brown, June
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This is one of three OIG reports on how States administer client sanctions under TANF. One companion report, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Client Sanctions (OEI-09-98-00290), provides a broad overview of State administration of client sanctions. The other, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families:  Improving Client Sanction Notices (OEI-09-98-00292), reviews State methods for informing clients of sanction decisions via written notices.

    The purpose of this report is to determine how States inform clients about sanction policies under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  We find that:

    - TANF offices explain sanctions to clients repeatedly, using diverse methods

    - Orientation materials commonly lack information about the amount of the sanction and the definition of good cause

    - Most States describe other vital information about sanctions completely and present it in a logical format

    - TANF clients do not fully understand sanctions and, according to caseworkers, are not...

    This is one of three OIG reports on how States administer client sanctions under TANF. One companion report, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Client Sanctions (OEI-09-98-00290), provides a broad overview of State administration of client sanctions. The other, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families:  Improving Client Sanction Notices (OEI-09-98-00292), reviews State methods for informing clients of sanction decisions via written notices.

    The purpose of this report is to determine how States inform clients about sanction policies under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  We find that:

    - TANF offices explain sanctions to clients repeatedly, using diverse methods

    - Orientation materials commonly lack information about the amount of the sanction and the definition of good cause

    - Most States describe other vital information about sanctions completely and present it in a logical format

    - TANF clients do not fully understand sanctions and, according to caseworkers, are not concerned about sanctions until they are imposed

    We recommend that the Administration for Children and Families encourage States to provide complete, correct, and understandable information to clients on: the causes of sanctions; the amounts of sanctions; the duration of sanctions; “good cause” reasons for work exemptions; and client appeal, fair hearing, and, if applicable, conciliation rights. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brown, June
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    We purposefully selected eight States in which to visit at least one urban and one rural office. In total, we visited 26 TANF offices, where we held caseworker focus groups, director interviews, and limited case-file reviews of recently sanctioned cases with individual caseworkers. At 19 of the offices, we conducted client focus groups and also interviewed at least one advocacy group in each State. In addition, we collected sanction policies and notices from each State. Lastly, we reviewed 47 notices issued by the offices that we visited, evaluating each for completeness and clarity.

    The methods we used during this study pose some distinct advantages and disadvantages for the scope of our findings. The purposeful sample allowed us to examine sanction implementation in States with widely varying attributes. We also gained a thorough understanding of our respondents’ relationships with and attitudes towards sanctions. Our methodology precludes us, however, from commenting on the extent to which our findings and observations are representative nationwide. We also cannot...

    We purposefully selected eight States in which to visit at least one urban and one rural office. In total, we visited 26 TANF offices, where we held caseworker focus groups, director interviews, and limited case-file reviews of recently sanctioned cases with individual caseworkers. At 19 of the offices, we conducted client focus groups and also interviewed at least one advocacy group in each State. In addition, we collected sanction policies and notices from each State. Lastly, we reviewed 47 notices issued by the offices that we visited, evaluating each for completeness and clarity.

    The methods we used during this study pose some distinct advantages and disadvantages for the scope of our findings. The purposeful sample allowed us to examine sanction implementation in States with widely varying attributes. We also gained a thorough understanding of our respondents’ relationships with and attitudes towards sanctions. Our methodology precludes us, however, from commenting on the extent to which our findings and observations are representative nationwide. We also cannot evaluate direct outcomes of sanction policies, procedures, and practices on clients and the program.

    Comprehensive and understandable notices can improve the sanction process. A sanction notice with complete information in a clear format can improve client understanding and help alleviate frustration for both clients and caseworkers.

    Sanction notices are deficient in some respects. Although most notices adequately explain some sanction details, many lack instructions on how to cure sanctions and do not reference local legal aid. A few notices contain incorrect information which can mislead clients and create extra work for caseworkers. Confusing wording on notices impedes client understanding, an effect heightened by language barriers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Larson, Anita ; Singh, Shweta; Lewis, Crystal
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Most research on the impact of welfare reform has been upon the employment status of parents and trends in declining caseloads. Recent research has examined how children in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program families are faring, with growing interest in the effects upon children of the disruptions to cash benefits that result from program sanctions, the policies that are intended to motivate parents to comply with work requirements. Adding to the body of knowledge on children and TANF sanctions, this study used administrative data to examine school attendance rates and disruptions to enrollment, for children from families with at least one sanction. Findings indicate that there are important probable connections between the factors that contribute to challenges to employment that relate to parenting and the school engagement of children in TANF families. (author abstract)

    Most research on the impact of welfare reform has been upon the employment status of parents and trends in declining caseloads. Recent research has examined how children in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program families are faring, with growing interest in the effects upon children of the disruptions to cash benefits that result from program sanctions, the policies that are intended to motivate parents to comply with work requirements. Adding to the body of knowledge on children and TANF sanctions, this study used administrative data to examine school attendance rates and disruptions to enrollment, for children from families with at least one sanction. Findings indicate that there are important probable connections between the factors that contribute to challenges to employment that relate to parenting and the school engagement of children in TANF families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Tout, Kathryn; Brooks, Jennifer; Zaslow, Martha; Redd, Zakia; Moore, Kristin; McGarvey, Ayelish; McGroder, Sharon; Gennetian, Lisa; Morris, Pamela; Ross, Christine; Beecroft, Erik
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This report focuses on the question of whether and how pilot welfare reform programs launched in five states–Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota–affected children’s developmental outcomes. We synthesize results from experimental studies (in which follow-up interviews ranged from 2.5 to 6.5 years after random assignment) in the five states, looking first at adult economic outcomes that the programs aimed to change (targeted outcomes), then turning to aspects of young children’s lives–including child care and the home environment–that may also have been changed by the programs, and focusing finally on how children themselves were affected by the programs. (author abstract)

    This report focuses on the question of whether and how pilot welfare reform programs launched in five states–Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota–affected children’s developmental outcomes. We synthesize results from experimental studies (in which follow-up interviews ranged from 2.5 to 6.5 years after random assignment) in the five states, looking first at adult economic outcomes that the programs aimed to change (targeted outcomes), then turning to aspects of young children’s lives–including child care and the home environment–that may also have been changed by the programs, and focusing finally on how children themselves were affected by the programs. (author abstract)

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