Survey Design for TANF Caseload Project: Summary Report and Recommendations. Common Measures Used, Pros and Cons


In both the WES and the CalWORKS Prevalence Project, having a child with a health problem was defined as having at least one child in the family with a physical, learning, or emotional problem that limited his or her activity. Three questions are asked: (1) does the respondent have a child who meets this definition; (2) the name of the condition or problem; and (3) does the childs condition interfere with the respondents work or regular activities. The WES also asks a series of questions related to special behavioral problems (feeding, sleeping, crying) that may be present in any infants in the home.

The Nebraska survey asks whether the respondent has a child with health, behavioral, or other special needs. It also asks whether the respondent has an elderly, disabled, or sick family member or friend the respondent is caring for. If the respondent answers affirmatively to either question, he or she is then asked whether the situation caused the respondent to lose a job or be prevented from working or attending training activities.

The SPD asks several questions about childrens health and disability. The respondent is asked about the childs general health; whether the child has a developmental or learning disability; whether the child has a health condition that makes it difficult to do things appropriate for his or her age; whether the child has any limitation in his or her ability to do regular school work because of a physical, learning, or mental health condition; whether the child has received any special education services in the past year; and whether anyone has told the respondent that the child has an emotional or behavioral problem. Six additional questions ask about the childs difficulty with vision, hearing, and the need for special aids.

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