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


Consistent participation data for the different federal and state programs are difficult to obtain, with data covering different periods and different units (number of children or number of families). For example, the foster care estimates in Exhibit 2.7 represent the number of children in foster care, while the TANF estimates represent the number of cases with non-parental caregivers. In addition, the foster care estimates represent caregivers that are relatives and non-relatives. Still, the participation estimates suggest that in Florida and Missouri, non-parental caregivers are more likely to receive assistance from TANF rather than foster care. In California, the data are inconclusive. As will be seen in Chapter 3, California non-parental caregivers make up a smaller portion of the TANF caseload than in the other states.

Exhibit 2.7
Participants in Foster Care and State Programs
State Title IV-E Foster Carea/ Foster Careb/ State Alternative Programs TANF Non-Parental Caregiverse/
California 61,805 110,544 n/a 38,417
Florida 6,147 23,379 3,965c/ 28,889
Missouri 4,826 n/a 275d/ 8,015
a/  Green Book. Average monthly number of children, 1996.

b/  The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). ACF. Represents number of children as of September 1997. These figures are substantially higher than the Green Book estimates because they include the children who are not eligible for federal funding (primarily because they were not from AFDC-eligible homes), but are eligible for state foster care.

c/  Total children as of September 1999.

d/  Total cases as of September 1999.

e/  Estimates are average monthly estimates for fiscal year 1997.

Not surprisingly, the state alternative programs have fewer participants owing in part to the newness of the programs. The levels will undoubtedly increase as the states conduct more outreach and relative caregivers learn of the programs; in Missouri, recent changes broadening eligibility may increase participation.(13)

Note that participants in Florida's Relative Caregiver Program are included in TANF caseload estimates, while participants in Missouri's Grandparents as Foster Parents are not because of the different funding sources discussed above. As of the time of this report, California had not decided how they would classify Kin-GAP participants.