Use of TANF Work-Oriented Sanctions in Illinois, New Jersey, and South Carolina. Study Limitations


This study was designed to increase our understanding of how and how often work-oriented sanctions are used. As is true of many studies of its kind, this study suffers from several important limitations. First, the study uses data that was collected for other purposes. While some comparable administrative data is available for all the states, some data of interest is available for only one or two states. More importantly, because the study states were selected based on the availability of data they do not represent the full range of state experiences in using TANF work-oriented sanctions. Because information on the use of sanctions is scant, we have no way of knowing how well their experiences represent the experiences of other states. Second, because we do not have data that compares the experiences of recipients who have and have not been subject to a sanction or have been subjected to different sanction policies, we cannot answer important questions about the effectiveness of sanctions in general or the relative effectiveness of different types of sanctions. Finally, because our site visits were conducted to only two local sites and we conducted interviews with a limited number of program staff, we cannot be certain that we captured all important aspects of how sanctions have been implemented at the local level.

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