Final Synthesis Report of Findings from ASPE "Leavers" Grants. Chapter Summary


The ASPE-funded leaver studies include a number of different measures of child well-being. These include measures of health insurance coverage and health, school and other behavior, interaction with child welfare services, and contact with absent parents. One-tenth to one-quarter of leaver families have uninsured children, although reports of children in poor or fair health are generally low, ranging from 5 to 10 percent. While the measures of child behavior are varied, most studies that compare behaviors pre- and post-exit find that the majority of leavers report child behavior is better after exit. Rates of interaction with child welfare services range from 1 to 13 percent, including reports of abuse/neglect and foster care services. There is little evidence on whether the percentage of families involved in child welfare services changed after exiting TANF.

 The studies also report on the use of child care, types of arrangements, and use of government subsidies. The findings show that a substantial percentage of leaver families rely on parental care. For those using non-parental care, relatives and siblings of the child are by far the most common sources of care for children. The studies also report that many families are not paying for care (i.e. using unpaid modes of care), and about 15 to 25 percent use government child care subsidies.


45Risk behaviors include being suspended, expelled, dropping out of school, getting in trouble with the police, having a drug or alcohol problem, doing something illegal to get money, or getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant.
46Massachusetts includes all children, even those living with both biological parents, in reported figures. Therefore, the 39 percent of children with frequent visits includes some percent of children living with both parents. This percentage is not reported, but in roughly 20 percent of leaver households, there is a spouse/parent present.
47South Carolina, Illinois, and Iowa include some information about child care quality and parental satisfaction with child care arrangements.
48The District of Columbia and Massachusetts also report child care arrangements used by employed leavers, but the categories of care reported make it difficult to compare these studies to the others. Their findings are excluded from this discussion.
49South Carolina's percentage may be lower because it asks about all school-age children, while Arizona and Missouri restrict their findings to children ages 6 to 12.
50To facilitate comparisons across studies, we computed the share of children in each type of care arrangement out of all children in non-parental care.
51The high percentage of families using Head Start centers in Georgia may be a combination of families using Head Start or other center-based care.