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


This study examined the child-only policies and practices in California, Florida, and Missouri and found a range of policies that could influence the size and composition of child-only cases, including the following:

  • With the exception of sanctioned cases in some states, child-only cases are not subject to time limits, nor are child-only caregivers required to work or participate in employment-related activities.  The caregivers generally do not have access to employment-related services.
  • Non-parental caregivers are subject to fewer requirements and receive less money and support services than foster care parents.  There is very little interaction between the TANF workers and the CPS or foster care staffs in the three counties visited.
  • Newly created relative care programs in all three states offer higher payments than TANF, require legal guardianship or court supervision of the child, and some level of background review, licensing, and/or training for the caregiver.  States are using some combination of TANF, MOE, and state and local funding to support these programs.
  • At the time of this study, no special plans were being made to serve the child-only cases in the counties visited, within the scope of the regular TANF program.  While they make up an increasing proportion of the TANF caseload (68 percent in Duval County), child-only cases are perceived as easier to work than regular cases.