HHS funded this study to answer three key research questions:
- What are state policies and practices regarding child-only cases?
- What are the characteristics of the child-only caseload?
- What is the relationship between state policies and caseloads?
To answer these questions, The Lewin Group (TLG) interviewed state and local staff, examined national data and administrative data in three states, and conducted a case file review in three counties. These questions and the methods and data sources that were used to answer these questions are summarized below.
What are State Policies and Pactices Regarding Child-Only Cases?
HHS was interested in learning about state policies enacted with regard to child-only cases. Additionally, the implementation of these policies is important as well. TLG conducted interviews with state officials in California, Florida, and Missouri, and administrators and eligibility workers in Alameda, Duval, and Jackson counties. The focus of the interviews was to understand state policy choices, operational practices, and perspectives on trends and changes in the TANF child-only population. Results from these interviews are summarized in Chapter 2.
What is the Relationship Between State Policies and Caseloads?
Certain composition data can be linked directly with state policies. For example, states that sanction by reducing the benefit levels or closing the case, but not removing the adult, will not have sanctioned cases in their child-only caseload. Other policies and practices may indirectly affect the caseload. Chapter 3 links the results from the data analysis with information that was learned from interviews with state and county officials and county eligibility workers.