Children in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers. 3.2.1 Data Overview


The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) makes available for the first time longitudinal data on children and families involved in the child welfare system. Data are collected from first-hand reports from children, parents, and other caregivers, as well as reports from caseworkers, teachers, and data from administrative records. This is the first national study that examines child and family well-being outcomes in detail and seeks to relate those outcomes to their experience with the child welfare system and to family characteristics, community environment, and other factors. The NSCAW sample, which represents the population of children and families that encounter the child welfare system, includes more than 5,400 children (ages 0 to 14) from 97 child welfare agencies nationwide.

Because NSCAW's sample is drawn from children who have been investigated for maltreatment, it does not represent the larger population of children supported by TANF.

It is important to note that children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers in the NSCAW sample are not representative of all such children, since many children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers have no contact with the child welfare system. However, for those children represented by this sample, NSCAW data allow analyses of child performance on standardized measures of well-being, and the interaction of these children with other service systems, such as the TANF program, Medicaid, housing assistance, and others.

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