Performance Improvement 2005. Effects of the 1996 Welfare Reform Legislation on Families with Children on Reservations: What Have We Learned and What Questions Remain Unanswered?

01/01/2005

The overall purpose of this project was to monitor and document the implementation, and assess the impact of, welfare reform on American Indian families and reservations in Arizona caused by the evolving State and tribal responses to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Approach: A longitudinal study, collecting extensive descriptive data and process information on the implementation of tribal TANF by Indian tribes in Arizona. The study included four waves of interviews with a sample of 373 current and former TANF recipients, from three tribes, to document and track the effects of the program on the lives of the Indian families. Overall, the study reports marginal improvements in employment and hardship-related issues: (1) Employment rates among the respondents in the research sample increased from 12 percent to 15 percent, and the adjusted average income from employment increased form $519 to $749. (2) Lack of paid job experience dropped substantially from 46 percent to 25 percent, while the percentage of respondents participating in education or job training dropped from 57 percent to 27 percent. (3) Respondents in the research sample who could not afford to buy food dropped from 49 percent to 35 percent; and the percentage of these respondents receiving welfare benefits, including TANF, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income, and Tribal General Assistance, dropped from 93 percent to 86 percent. The proportion of respondents who were divorced, separated or widowed dropped from 36 percent to 29 percent. The proportion of never married mothers, however, did not change.

PIC ID: 6832; Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation; Federal Contact: Faris, Hossein, 202-205-4922; Performer: Washington University, School of Social Work, St. Louis, MO

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