Understanding the AFDC/TANF Child-Only Caseload: Policies, Composition, and Characteristics in Three States. Introduction

02/01/2000

As Chapter 1 explained, states have been given broad flexibility in determining which policies apply to child-only cases. In addition, states have been given the opportunity to develop TANF policies that could have a bearing on child-only caseloads in the future. This chapter describes in more detail the TANF policies and practices in three states, California, Florida, and Missouri, and in the three counties visited, which are Alameda County, Duval County, and Jackson County.

This chapter draws on information from interviews conducted with state officials, county administrators, and county staff, supplemented with information from other published reports, as cited. The chapter begins with a brief description of the organizational and staffing structure in the three counties. Section III outlines the policies and practices in the three states that were identified earlier as affecting child-only caseloads - policies regarding sanctioning, aliens, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), non-parental caregivers, and time limits. Section IV discusses the key differences between TANF and other programs available to non-parental caregivers, and Section V discusses the interaction between TANF staff and child welfare staff. Section VI concludes with a discussion of how county welfare offices are handling a growing share of TANF cases comprised of child-only cases.