Children in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers. 2.8 Discussion

06/01/2004

Child well-being is one of the concerns of programs serving children and families (e.g., TANF and child welfare). Policy makers need timely data about the status of children, specifically for those children in child-only cases as the proportions of these cases continue to rise nationally.

Much more information is needed on the status of children in TANF child-only relative caregiver cases. The well-being of these children is currently unknown and typically unmonitored. The service needs of these children may differ from standard TANF services (e.g., food stamps, child care benefits, transportation) that often address the needs of the caregiver more than of the child. To date, attention has been given to the needs of the caregiver (both parental and nonparental) toward a goal of stable placement for the child. While this is a worthy and critical goal, the service needs of children, specifically those removed from their homes and placed in relative care, go far beyond a residence. Accordingly, the next chapter analyzes the data from the two national surveys in an attempt to increase our knowledge about the service needs of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers.

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