Survey Design for TANF Caseload Project: Summary Report and Recommendations. FAMILY BARRIERS


We now turn to family-level characteristics of TANF recipients that could potentially function as barriers to employment and self-sufficiency. These characteristics emerge in the context of the family environment, including the TANF recipient’s children, partner, or spouse or other household members such as elderly parents. We include in this area, family-level problems that could interfere with a recipient’s ability to go to work, look for work, or attend school or job training. Subtopics include caring for a family member with a disability or serious health problem, difficulty obtaining or using child care during the recipient’s work or school hours, domestic violence, and the presence of a family member involved in criminal activity.

Table V.1 summarizes our recommendations and priorities for measuring family barriers in the survey of TANF recipients. The estimate of total time to administer all the “A”-rated items in the family barriers domain, as indicated in Table V.1, is nine minutes.


Family Barriers Number of Items Past Survey(s) Estimate of Time (minutes) Priority Rating
Family Member with Disability/Health Problem
Respondent has child with a health, behavioral behavioral or other need that limits his/her activity 6 SPD, WES, NE; IL; CW 1.0 A
Respondent has child with vision, hearing, or other conditions that require special aids 6 SPD 1.0 C
Child’s condition interferes with Respondent’s ability to work or attend training 2 NE .50 A
Respondent’s children have no health insurance 1 MO; NE; IL; IA; WES .25 A
Respondent has other family member with disability/other special needs 1 NE .25 B
Other family member’s disabling condition interferes with Respondent’s ability to work or attend training 1 NE .25 B
Problems with Child Care
Due to a problem with child care:
  • Unable to look for work/training program
1 WES; CW .25 A
  • Unable to take job/participate in training
1 WES; MO; AC; IL; CW .25 A
  • Was late for work/school/training
1 WES .25 A
  • Was absent from work/school/training
1 WES .25 A
  • Had to quit job or training activity
1 WES; MO; NE; AC .25 A
The following child care situations prevent Respondent from working or looking for work:
  • Getting care for infants
1 MO .25 A
  • Getting care for sick kids
1 MO .25 A
  • Getting care for disabled kids
1 MO .25 A
  • Getting care for kids after school
1 MO .25 A
  • Getting care during breaks / summer
1 MO .25 A
  • Getting care for kids in early  mornings or evenings
1 MO .25 A
Respondent concerned about...
  • Provider is too far away
1 WES; NE .25 B
  • Child care too costly
1 WES; NE .25 A
  • Can't find child care when needed/during work hours
1 WES; NE; AC .25 C
  • Quality of available child care
1 WES .25 A
  • Child care not dependable
1 WES .25 A
Respondent has no relatives who could help out with child care 1 WES .25 C
Afraid caretaker would harm child 1 WES .25 A
Rate the quality of child care you use 1 AC; CW .25 C
Has any child had an accident, injury, poisoning in child care? 1 IA; AC .25 C
Is any child under 12 in self-care? 1 AC .25 B
Number of different current child care arrangements 1 IA; WES .25 C
How much does Respondent pay for child care? 1 WES; NE; AC; IA .25 B
Receive child care subsidy 1 NE .25 A
Ease or problems getting child care subsidy 1 NE .25 B
Domestic Violence
Severe physical abuse 9 WES; NE; AC; IA; CW 1.25 A
Sexual abuse 1 WES; NE; AC; IA; CW .25 A
Serious threats 1 NE; IA; CW .25 C
Serious threats 3 WES .75 A
Abusive control 1 WES; NE; IA; CW .25 A
Emotional abuse or verbal humiliation 1 NE; IA; CW .25 C
Stalking 1 CW .25 B
Interference or harassment at work 2 WES .50 A
Who committed abuse (partner versus stranger)? 1 WES; NE; AC; IA .25 B
Whether relationship interferes with Respondent’s ability to work or attend job training 1 NE .25 A
Family Member with Criminal Involvement
Family member or close friend in jail in past 12 months 1 WES .25 C
Someone close to Respondent died or was killed 1 WES .25 C
Respondent lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem 1 WES .25 C
Respondent lived with people she wished didn't live there 1 WES .25 C

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