Iowa's Limited Benefit Plan. VII. CASE STUDIES OF LBP FAMILIES: PARENTS TELL THEIR STORIES

05/01/1997

The LBP Survey produced information on how families that have been assigned to the LBP are affected by the loss of cash benefits. Quantitative data from a highly structured survey cannot, however, capture the nuances and richness of the experiences of these families. Consequently, the study design included less structured, in-depth interviews with the LBP Survey respondent in each of 12 purposefully selected families so that these parents could tell their stories in their own words. The goal of the case studies was to understand more fully how these parents came to be on the LBP and how they coped with the loss of benefits. We wanted to know how these parents made decisions; what strategies they chose for responding to their situations; how they accessed the resources of family, friends, churches, and social service agencies; what effects the LBP had on them and their children; and what efforts they made to obtain, retain, or improve their employment situations.

This chapter has five sections: Section A describes the methodology of the case studies. Section B presents six family vignettes, two from each of three "coping" categories. Section C highlights three common themes among the 12 case-study families: (1) meeting basic needs; (2) changes in dependence; and (3) linkages with noncustodial parents. Section D examines the entry of these families into the LBP and their plans to reapply for FIP benefits. Section E summarizes the major findings from the case studies.