Status Report on Research on the Outcomes of Welfare Reform, 2002. Rallying the Armies of Compassion


State and Local Contracting for Social Services Under Charitable Choice

Recent studies have identified considerable variation in state and local government officials' understanding and implementation of the Charitable Choice (CC) provisions of the 1996 welfare reform law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. However, there has yet to be a close examination of the ways in which CC has affected social service procurement policies, practices, and decisions at the state and local level. This project will examine the varying ways in which CC is interpreted and implemented by state and local government officials in the four program areas affected - the TANF, Community Services Block Grant, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Department of Labor's Welfare-to-Work grants programs. In particular, the project will focus on those government officials - typically staff in state and local contracts offices - who serve as "gatekeepers" in the award and management of contracts and grants. The study also will examine those 19 states that have appointed "faith community liaisons" to oversee efforts to reach out to faith-based organizations and encourage them to enter into financial and other types of collaborations with the state. This focus will help identify the impact of faith community liaisons on state contracting decisions and outcomes.

Ongoing Support to the New Immigrant Survey

Study of the status of children in newly arriving immigrant families is ensured through our support for the New Immigrant Survey. The National Institutes of Health (NICHD and NIA), along with ASPE, the INS, and the National Science Foundation, have funded the New Immigrant Survey, a large, longitudinal survey of newly arriving immigrants beginning in 2002. ASPE's contribution will continue to help ensure that comprehensive and relevant data are collected and analyzed about program utilization, health and economic status, and other characteristics over time among newly arriving immigrant families in different states. In particular, ASPE's support will ensure that the study focuses on how children in these families are faring.

Support for the NGA Re-Entry Leadership Project

Effecting state systems change for prisoner re-entry through strategic planning and implementation is the objective of this project. Under this project the NGA would select a number of states to receive funding and technical assistance around the development and implementation of a strategic plan for prisoner re-entry. Plans would have to include coordination around health and human services issues for the returning prisoners and their children and families.

Study of Children in TANF Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers

The proportion of child-only TANF cases has continued to grow, representing over a third of the total TANF caseload by FY 2000 (782,000 cases). While the number of child-only cases reached its peak in FY1996, the subsequent decline of the child-only caseload was at a slower rate than the overall caseload. These are cases where only the children in a family/household are receiving TANF benefits, and the adults in the household are not eligible for TANF. The purposes of this study are to: (1) systematically review and analyze existing data and studies to describe the service needs and well-being of children who are receiving TANF assistance and being cared for by non-parent relatives who are ineligible for TANF; (2) describe whether states have established any goals or outcomes related to children in these child-only cases, and if so, what strategies are being employed to achieve those outcomes; and (3) better understand how such cases are handled at the local level, and the degree to which the service needs and the well-being of children in these families are taken into account.