This section presents a general overview of the results of our inquiries into formal state diversion programs and activities. Subsequent chapters address these results in more detail.
As illustrated by Table I-1, 31 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (4) from which we were able to gather information on diversion programs and activities have implemented at least one diversion activity in at least part of the state. Twenty states are operating lump sum payment programs with three additional states planning to implement such programs in 1998. Seventeen states are operating lump sum payment programs statewide, two states are operating them less than statewide and in one state, although the state law allows lump sum payment programs, counties have the discretion to decide whether or not to operate such a program.
|State||Lump Sum||Alternative Resources15||Job Search|
|District of Columbia||6||18|
|New Jersey||10||10, 18|
Seven states are using an aggressive approach to help potential TANF recipients identify alternative resources that may ameliorate their need for TANF benefits. Sixteen states require TANF applicants to engage in active job searches before their application for assistance is approved. In 15 of those 16 states, applicant job search is mandatory statewide while in the one remaining state the requirement has only been implemented in a few counties.(5)
As Table I-2 illustrates, most states that are operating diversion programs have implemented only one of the three formal diversion activities examined for in this study. In 12 states, lump sum payment programs are the only diversion activities in place while in 10 states, the only diversion activities in place are mandatory applicant job searches. There are no states in which the exploration of alternative resources is the only formal diversion activity. With respect to the states that have implemented just two of the three formal diversion activities, the states' choices are distributed fairly evenly among the three combinations: three states have lump sum payment programs and alternative resources; one state has alternative resources and mandatory applicant job search, and two states have lump sum payment program and mandatory applicant job search. Only three states, Idaho, Maryland, and Wisconsin have implemented all three formal diversion activities. In these states, all three diversion activities have been implemented statewide.
TABLE I-2. COMBINATIONS OF STATE DIVERSION ACTIVITIES (n=51)
|No Diversion Activities (20 States)|
District of Columbia
|Only One Diversion Activity (22 States)|
|Alternative Resources||Mandatory Applicant Job Search
|Only Two Diversion Activities (6 States)|
|Lump Sum and Alternative Resources
|Alternative Resources and Mandatory Applicant Job Search
|Lump Sum and Mandatory Applicant Job Search
|Three Diversion Activities (3 States)|
Table I-3 suggests a few interesting regional patterns (6) in terms of which states have chosen to pursue which of the three formal diversion activities. The West Region has the greatest concentration of both lump sum payment and job search requirements with almost 60 percent and almost 40 percent of the states in this region respectively establishing these programs. The South Region shows a similar concentration of both lump sum payment and job search requirements with almost 60 percent and 40 percent of the states in this region respectively establishing these programs. By contrast, the Midwest Region shows less of a dichotomy between these two activities with almost 50 percent of the states in this region establishing lump sum payment programs and almost 50 percent establishing job search requirements. Finally, the Northeast Region shows the lowest concentration of lump sum payment and job search requirements with just 10 percent of the states in this region establishing either of these programs.
|State||Lump Sum||Alternative Resources14||Job Search|
|East North Central Subregion|
|West North Central Subregion|
|Middle Atlantic Subregion|
|New Jersey||9||9, 17|
|New England Subregion|
|East South Central Subregion|
|South Atlantic Subregion|
|West South Central Subregion|
One explanation for this regional pattern with respect to lump sum payment diversion could be the fact that Utah and Virginia both had lump sum programs in place relatively early, i.e., 1993 in Utah in the West Region and 1995 for Virginia in the South Region. It is difficult to speculate why states in the Northeast Region have not pursued diversion programs to the extent that the other three regions have. One possible explanation is that several of the states in this region (most notably Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut) implemented comprehensive reforms prior to the implementation of PRWORA and have not changed the directions of their reforms since PRWORA was passed.
The subregional(7) configurations also presented in Table I-3 suggest a few patterns that add precision to the regional analysis. For example, in the South Region, the states with lump sum payment programs and job search requirements are clearly concentrated in the South Atlantic Subregion; this subregion includes Virginia. In addition, Kentucky, the only state with lump sum in the East South Central Subregion, borders on Virginia. To the extent that states look to neighboring states for policy innovations, Virginia's early establishment of lump sum payment diversion may explain this subregional pattern, at least with respect to lump sum payments.
In the Midwest Region, the states with lump sum and job search requirements are clearly concentrated in the West North Central Subregion - this subregion borders on the Mountain Subregion of the West Region. Given that both subregions of the West Region have the highest concentrations of lump sum and job search requirements, this proximity may explain this subregional pattern.