While case study research is not sampling research, selecting cases must maximize what can be learned with available time and resources. Study staff reviewed data on caseload size, stability, and level of attention to relative caregiver cases as documented in state TANF plans or reported by regional staff. Staff selected states for the in-depth analyses based on
- existence of a substantial proportion of child-only cases with relative caregivers, either as a proportion of child-only cases or of the overall TANF caseload;
- existence of documented efforts to address the needs of this population;
- lack of extensive previous research within the state;
- willingness to participate in the study; and
- regional diversity (as possible).
Based on these factors, five states were selected to participate in this study: Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin. Within states, study staff selected two counties for examination, based on
- distribution of child-only cases;
- urbanicity of county;
- role of the caseworker within relative caregiver cases;
- collaboration efforts with child welfare services;
- efforts to improve services for children receiving child-only benefits;
- efforts to assess the well-being of children receiving child-only benefits;
- county tracking and oversight system for child-only cases; and
- attempts to conform county policies and initiatives to state policies and initiatives.