Status of Research on the Outcomes of Welfare Reform, 2000. Research Uses of Emergency TANF Report Data


ASPE undertook three related projects using the newly available source of welfare reform data collected through the Emergency TANF Data Report (ETDR): (1) working with the Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, to improve the collection, storage, and release of these data; (2) doing cross-sectional analyses using all data from all states; and (3) assessing the feasibility of creating a longitudinal database using data from individual states. First we had to resolve technical issues associated with cheaply storing and transferring the large amounts of data required for a comparative analysis of AFDC and TANF, and then build an archive of TANF data for researchers, which is expected to be available on the Internet. Cross-sectional analyses compared AFDC and TANF using a "before vs. after" welfare reform notion, analyzing similarities and differences in the caseloads. Finally, we explored the research potential of developing a longitudinal data set, preferably combined with additional linked data sets for more in-depth analyses. Longitudinal analyses in this early phase of administrative data reporting focused on short-term outcomes, including changes in work participation, child care use, Medicaid, and household composition (especially to child-only cases and conversion of two-parent to one-parent cases). This feasibility work lays the groundwork for creation of state longitudinal databases.