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


  • The reasons why a child comes to reside with a non-parental caregiver vary widely; major reasons include desertion, substance abuse, incarceration, child abuse, and neglect on the part of the parent.
  • Most focal children have resided with one caregiver while receiving TANF; however, a substantial proportion residing with a non-parental caregiver (from 35 to 43 percent) have resided with multiple caregivers, usually their parents, while receiving TANF.  A significant proportion of parental child-only cases had once been regular TANF cases (21 to 53 percent).