Children in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers. 3.1 Analytic Approach

06/01/2004

Secondary analyses compare children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers to other children supported by TANF, and to other children in out-of-home care.

To further explore the types of services and needs that children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers may have, the study team conducted the secondary analysis to examine child well-being measures for these children relative to other reference groups. The study staff explored two dimensions with these comparison groups: the first relates to income differences, and the second to the type of caregiver.

Researchers examined income differences by comparing child-only cases, families receiving TANF, and low-income children who are not receiving TANF. The study staff also examined different caregiver arrangements by comparing child-only cases living with a relative caregiver to child-only cases living with a parent, children in non-TANF kincare, or children in foster care. Although there are many other unobservable differences between the groups, the underlying rationale for focusing on the two dimensions of income and caregiver arrangements was that these two factors, together and separately, influence service needs, service use, and child well-being.

Some of the key research questions that are answered by this analysis are:

  • What are the characteristics of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers?
  • What are the service needs of this population?
  • What are the rates of use of different services (e.g., food stamps, housing, health insurance, mental health care, child care)?
  • How do children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers score on measures of well-being?
  • How do these children compare to other low-income children (e.g., children supported by TANF but living with their parents, low-income children not receiving TANF)?
  • How do these children compare to other children in out-of-home care (e.g., children in foster care or non-TANF kinship care)?

For each survey, the following report sections provide a general overview of the data sources, a description of how researchers used survey measures to identify children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers and relevant comparison groups, the sample sizes of each group, and analyses. The discussion section summarizes what the two surveys can - and cannot - tell us about the well-being and service needs of children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers.

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