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


Very few surveys covered this topic. Only the WES, Alameda, and YFC surveys contained questions that covered various types of community services. The WES survey asked whether any of the following services were available, and whether the respondent used any of them during the past year; a community family health service, a bank or credit union; an organized summer recreational program; a community day care or after-school program; a literacy, GED, or tutoring program; and an employment office.

The Alameda survey asked a much longer battery of questions on whether the respondent needed any of the following services: assistance with physical health, help with an emotional or mental health problem, help with an alcohol or drug problem, help with combating physical violence in the home, prenatal care, assistance with managing money or paying utility bills, help getting or keeping a job, child care, help finding housing, assistance with paying rent, low-cost attorney services, help with transportation, free or inexpensive clothing or goods, and free or reduced priced meals for their children at school or Head Start. Three follow-up questions asked whether the respondent knew where to go for the service, whether he or she actually received the service, and where the respondent went for each item.

The YFC Community Survey asked a shorter battery of questions on whether the following services were available in the respondents community: career or job counseling; counseling or treatment for alcohol or drug abuse; counseling to help with other personal or family problems; health clinics or places for emergency health care, birth control, or family planning services; referrals or help finding needed assistance; help preparing for a GED; a place to improve reading, math, or other subject skills; and a place for recreational activities.

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