Since the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, which established the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, much attention has been given to reductions in the number of welfare cases. Welfare cases declined nationally by 52 percent, from 4.4 to 2.1 million cases, between 1996 and 2001 (DHHS, 2002b). During the same time frame, however, child-only cases (defined as a case in which no parent is present or included in the assistance unit [AU]) declined by only 25 percent (DHHS, 2002b; DHHS, no date).
TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers represent approximately half of the child-only TANF population. However, little information exists to describe this population and how they are being served. This study was designed to compile available information on their characteristics, service needs, and well-being; and to improve our understanding of how states are addressing the needs of children in child-only cases.
This study was funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The study was conducted by RTI International and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study team particularly appreciates the contributions of TANF and child welfare agency staff who participated in the case studies.