The surveys were conducted by telephone from the MAXIMUS Survey Research Center in Reston, Virginia, using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). Contact information on the 1,493 families was obtained from the automated systems of the South Carolina Department of Social Services and was loaded onto the CATI system.
In addition, an on-site MAXIMUS staff member at one of the SCDSS county offices searched the SCDSS databases for contact information on sample members who were still receiving any type of public assistance. Toward the end of the survey, field-based survey efforts were conducted to locate sample members in their neighborhoods and to encourage them to complete the survey.
The objective of the study was to complete telephone interviews with 1,120 families, representing 75% of the total sample. The survey process was terminated when this objective was achieved, and the response rates did not vary greatly among the three sampling strata, as shown in Table I-1.
The SCDSS also compiled administrative records data on the welfare and food stamp histories of the families in the survey sample. The information included the number of months that recipients had received benefits in the past ten years and the number of spells of benefit receipt.