Children in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers. 1.3 Research Questions

06/01/2004

This study described the population of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers and their interactions with the TANF and child welfare systems. The study used a mixed-method design to address the following research questions:

  • What are the demographics, family circumstances, service system involvement, service needs, and well-being of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers?
  • What policies and program structures shape states' responses to children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers?
  • How do states assess, respond to, and monitor the needs and well-being of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers?

Researchers used three complementary strategies to address the research questions:

  • a comprehensive review of literature to describe what is known about children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers, their well-being, and state policies and practices regarding these cases;
  • secondary analysis of data from two national surveys: the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation; and
  • case studies of five states to describe the service needs and well-being of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers from the perspectives of TANF agency staff, child welfare agency staff, and relative caregivers.

Endnote

(1) Of course, some caregivers in informal kinship care arrangements, and unlicensed caregivers in formal kinship care, may provide care with no public financial support. The fact that approximately 400,000 children are in child-only TANF with relative caregivers (DHHS, 2000), compared to the estimated 2.3 million children in kinship care (Billing et al., 2002) suggests that unpaid care is the most common of all financial arrangements.

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