Using Data to Monitor and Improve the Work Participation of TANF Recipients: Examples from New York City and Utah

12/20/2008

This practice brief profiles two strategies, one statewide and one local, for analyzing, reporting, and using data to hold case managers and administrators accountable for increasing the work participation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients. Selected strategies use data to keep staff informed about progress toward participation rate goals and allow program managers to address nonparticipation quickly. New York City developed a special report that tracks the participation rate and the administrative processes that affect the rate for each TANF office; senior staff met regularly with program administrators to review and discuss the report. Utah developed automated tools that case managers and supervisors can use to monitor the participation of individual TANF recipients and to report participation rates for regions, offices, and individual case managers. The data management strategy used in each site represents one element of a broader effort by each site to improve work participation rates. This practice brief is one of a series designed to assist state and local officials in thinking about strategies that might aid them in meeting work participation requirements in their TANF programs following enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). In reauthorizing the TANF program, the DRA resulted in significant increases in the effective work participation rates that states must achieve.

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