Children in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers. 3.3.2 Identifying Child-Only Cases and Comparison Groups


The SIPP began a new longitudinal panel in 1996, sampling some 80,000 individuals in four subgroups over 12 waves. Because study staff used the SIPP for a cross-sectional snapshot only, they used wave 9, which took place in late 1998. The survey is structured as a core set of questions asked in each wave, with special topical modules asked in only one or two of the 12 waves. Topical modules 2, 6 and 8 had the greatest number of relevant questions on child welfare, welfare reform, and other well-being questions. All were linked to wave 9 core question data. Thus, researchers created a database for each individual in the sample (adults and children, total = approximately 80,000) containing variables from core wave 9, and topical modules 2, 6, and 8.

To define the child-only population, for each child under age 18, staff determined whether he or she was living with a mother or father in the same household by using the person number of the mother and father for each child and the household ID. Staff then used the variable that flags a TANF recipient to further categorize children. Researchers created a variable to indicate whether a child's guardian or household reference person (2) received TANF, and checked whether the household reported receiving foster care payments. Combinations of these variables were used to define groups of children that paralleled the categories defined for the NSCAW analysis.

Table 3-10 summarizes the variables used to define each group. Note that no children in the SIPP met the definition criteria for the FOSTER group. The only households reporting receipt of foster care payments were in the KINCARE group, likely representing relative caregivers who are licensed foster care providers. The SIPP classification algorithm included 18 cases in which children lived with relative caregivers and the entire household received TANF in the TANFCOR group. Similar cases in NSCAW were classified in the KINCARE group, resulting in an unintended inconsistency between the two analyses.

Table 3-10.
Logic and Order of Comparison Group Creation
Kinship Foster Care Payments TANF Our Category N
Unweighted Weighted
Relative No Child or household TANFCOR 117 376,776
Parent No Child TANFCOP 420 1,438,519
Parent No Household TANFHH 694 2,333,692
Parent No No LOWINC 119 434,812
Relative Some No KINCARE 881 2,762,340
Other Yes No FOSTER 0 0
      OTHER 20,036 70,122,574

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