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

12/01/2000

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.