Families on TANF in Illinois: Employment Assets and Liabilities. Research Objectives


This study was designed to describe the characteristics, circumstances, and job readiness of single-parent TANF families in Illinois and, more specifically, the heads of these families (i.e., the adult grantees). Three main questions and a number of related subquestions guided the research and structure of this report.

  1. What are the welfare and employment experiences of TANF recipients? What percentage of current single-parent TANF cases are long-term welfare recipients? What is their status with respect to time limits and sanctions? What is the employment history and current employment status of heads of TANF cases? What are the characteristics of their current or most recent jobs? What are their earnings and total household income?
  2. What assets and liabilities do TANF recipients bring to the labor market? What human capital for employment do the heads of TANF cases possess? How prevalent among them is poor physical or mental health? What other personal and family challenges do they face that may be liabilities for employment? What logistical or situational challenges to employment do the heads of TANF cases face?
  3. What are the effects on employment of the number and type of liabilities? How common among the heads of single-parent TANF cases are multiple liabilities for employment? How do those liabilities, separately and in combination, affect the employment of such individuals?

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