Introduction and Overview
In its report for the FY 1999 Appropriation for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Conference Committee added $5 million to the Policy Research account in the Office of the Secretary and directed in its report that the funding was to study the outcomes of welfare reform:
“The conference agreement includes $5,000,000 for a study on the outcomes of welfare reform. The conferees recommend that this study involve statespecific surveys and data sets, survey data on the impacts of state waiver programs, and administrative data such as Food Stamp, Social Security and Internal Revenue Service records. The study should measure outcomes in both low and high economic growth areas of the country. The conferees strongly urge the Department to submit its research plan to the National Academy of Sciences to provide guidance on research design and recommend further research. The conferees further expect an interim report to be submitted to the Appropriations Committees within six months.” (H. Rept. 105-825, page 1291)
The following report has been prepared by the Office of the Secretary, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in response to the requirement for an interim report. Except where otherwise noted, this report discusses only the welfare outcomes research agenda supported by the $5 million targeted appropriation. It does not attempt to address ASPE’s or the Department’s overall welfare research agenda, except to the extent that some projects were supported jointly by welfare outcomes funding and funds from other sources.
General Strategies for Understanding the Outcomes of Welfare Reform
Passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in August 1996 was a watershed event in the devolution of responsibility for social programs from the federal government to the states. As such, interest has been and remains high about the effects of welfare reform, and questions abound about what is known about the implementation of welfare reform, including state policy and spending choices. The Department acted early to create a research, evaluation and data strategy that would assure that the implementation of welfare reform and its effects would be documented. The infusion of Policy Research funding dedicated to studying welfare outcomes has been invaluable to our efforts to add to and enhance the information about welfare reform outcomes that will be available to the Congress and other interested parties.
There is a broad array of ongoing research about welfare reform being funded by the Department and other public and private funders. We have used the targeted Policy Research funds to fully fund some projects, to fund specific portions of some larger studies, and to co-fund with other federal and state agencies yet other projects. As a result our research, evaluation and data activities cover a wide spectrum of welfare outcomes policy interests.
Despite the breadth and scope of these efforts, from a research perspective it is still early and our knowledge is still quite limited in many areas.
- Analysis of all available sources of information shows that the employment of current and former recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has increased significantly.
- Examination of welfare reform waiver demonstrations and the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) March supplements suggest that welfare reform is having a positive effect on the earnings of some categories of recipients, but not uniformly.
- Data from four waiver evaluations in which the reform program succeeded in increasing mandatory work activities, employment and earnings suggest mixed effects on family income, depending on the generosity of benefit levels and earnings disregards.
- Evidence about impacts of welfare reform on health insurance status, child wellbeing and family structure, food security and hunger, and other family experiences is much less clear.
- Very little is known about lowincome families who do not become welfare recipients.
- Since welfare reform has been implemented in the context of a strong national economy, little is known about the effect of welfare reform in other economic circumstances.
In addition, there are many factors that limit what research can accomplish, including a wide variation in what is happening across states, between local sites, and even from workertoworker; the continuing evolution of state policies and devolution of state responsibilities; the difficulty in tracking people who may no longer be receiving any public benefits; and the confounding effects of other variables (such as the economy) in changing outcomes. Because of these factors, the ability of research, evaluation, and data to completely answer questions is always limited.
To optimize the potential that these targeted funds will increase the Department’s understanding of the outcomes of welfare reform, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) has created, often with other funding partners involved, a portfolio of studies and strategies. Careful attention has been paid to identifying on-going research, evaluation, and data activities which could be enhanced or modified, and to identifying activities being funded or planned by other entities that would help fill the knowledge gaps or provide jointfunding opportunities while avoiding unnecessary duplication. In keeping with the recommendations of the conferees, our plans include studies involving statespecific surveys and data sets and utilizing administrative data from other programs such as Food Stamps and Social Security records. In selecting our state and county grantees, in particular, ASPE has sought to measure outcomes across varied dimensions, including low and high economic growth areas of the country. ASPE has also provided funding to the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on National Statistics to convene a panel of experts to review data needs and methods for evaluating the outcomes of welfare reform. Our specific activities and plans in each of the recommended areas are summarized below.
Research Findings from “Leavers” Grants are Limited and Very Preliminary
The largest portion of our FY 1998 welfare outcomes funding went to partnering with states and counties through grants to study the experiences of people who left the TANF program (“leavers”). Similarly, our plans for FY 1999 call for the largest portion of welfare outcomes funding to go to new state/county grants, with an emphasis on families who have been diverted from welfare, and to continue support for selected FY 1998 grants.
Four of the FY 1998 ASPEfunded grantees — Arizona, Washington, San Mateo County in California, and Cuyahoga County in Ohio — have released interim reports that used linked administrative data sets to track families who left welfare in the second half of 1996. These interim reports provide interesting preliminary findings about former TANF recipients in the areas of employment, returns to TANF, and participation in other programs. Other grantees are expected to release interim reports within the next few months; and more detailed findings, including information gathered through survey data, will be presented in the final reports, forthcoming in late 1999 and early 2000.
Although it is difficult to compare findings across studies, comparisons among ASPEfunded studies are facilitated by the adoption of a common definition of the “leaver” study population as “all cases that leave cash assistance for at least two months.” (This definition excludes cases that re-open within one or two months, because such cases are more related to administrative “churning” than to true exits from welfare). Moreover, these four studies focus on using administrative data to track singleparent families leaving TANF in a similar time period — the third or fourth quarter of 19961.
The studies differ, however, in important areas of research methodology, such as how to operationalize some of the outcome measures (for example, three studies count anyone with earnings as employed, while the fourth — Cuyahoga County — counts as employed only those with earnings of $100 or more per quarter). Furthermore, the states differ in TANF policies (e.g., sanction policies, work requirements) and in underlying economic, social and demographic conditions. Finally, comparisons across studies are even more problematic when looking beyond the ASPEfunded studies, because of the many differences in study populations, time periods studied, sources of data, and research methodologies.
Interestingly, despite the many differences in studies, the preliminary findings from the four studies remain quite consistent, particularly in the areas of employment and recidivism.
- Employment. Between 50 and 60 percent of former TANF recipients found work immediately after leaving TANF, according to the four interim reports. Employment rates rose from less than 50 percent in the months before exit, to relatively stable rates of between 50 and 60 percent throughout the first year after exit, as shown in Figure 1.
Percentage of Leavers Employed, by Quarter
Over the 12-month period, some former recipients lost their jobs, while others found new employment, resulting in a cumulative employment rates of 68 to 82 percent, measured as those who were ever employed within the first 12 months of exit (see Table 1).
Table 1. Percentage of Leavers Employed Grantee Exit Qtr 1st Qtr post exit 2nd Qtr post exit 3rd Qtr post exit 4th Qtr post exit Ever Employed within 1 year Arizona 60.9 58.2 55.8 55.1 55.4 74.7 Cuyahoga Co. a/ 59.3 54.2 55.8 56.8 71.7 San Mateo Co. 50.5 49.6 49.9 48.4 50.3 82.3 Washington 55.0 52.0 52.0 52.0 52.0 68.2 a/ - Data not available
These employment rates are consistent with findings in many other leavers’ studies, although rates are somewhat higher in some studies. These higher rates are largely explained by methodological differences (e.g., the use of survey data and/or the restriction of the study population to leavers who do not return to welfare). While these employment rates are similar to employment patterns for AFDC leavers in the past, they indicate a substantial increase in the absolute number of families leaving welfare with earnings, given the large increase in case closings in the past few years.
- Recidivism. Data from two of the interim reports suggests that between 8 and 12 percent of leavers were receiving welfare again one quarter after exit, as shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Percentage of Leavers Receiving TANF Grantee 1st Qtr post exit 2nd Qtr post exit 3rd Qtr post exit 4th Qtr post exit Ever Receiving within 1 year Arizona a/ a/ a/ a/ 28.4 Cuyahoga Co. b/ b/ b/ b/ 36.7 San Mateo Co. 8.2 13.3 13.3 14.1 24.4 Washington 12.0 19.0 22.0 23.0 29.8
a/ - Arizona reported the percentage of leavers returning to TANF in each quarter, unlike San Mateo and Washington which reported the percentage of leavers receiving TANF in each quarter, regardless of when they returned.
b/ - Cuyahoga County reported the percentage of leavers who had ever received TANF during the first 12 months after exit; they did not report quarterly data.
Most of these re-enter in the third month itself, since cases that re-open after one or two months were excluded from the study population. The proportion of former recipients receiving TANF increased to between 13 and 19 percent at two quarters after exit, and then increased more slowly, reaching 14 to 23 percent one year after exit. The proportion that ever returned for at least one month over the first 12 months after exit is somewhat higher, ranging from 24 percent in San Mateo County to 37 percent in the more urban environment of Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) in Ohio. Again, these findings are in line with other analyses of administrative data.
- Other Program Participation. Finally, some of the interim reports provided some information about receipt of food stamps, Medicaid, and other work support programs with administrative data bases. The most complete set of findings was reported in Arizona; Westra and Routley (1999) reported that 41 percent of singleparent cases leaving TANF were receiving food stamps 12 months after exit, 53 percent of singleparent cases were receiving Medicaid at that same point, and 14 percent were receiving child care subsidies nine months after exit.
Interim reports from Cuyahoga County and San Mateo County suggested lower levels of program receipt, but differences in research methodology preclude direct comparisons.2 Further explorations of food stamp and Medicaid receipt are expected in the final reports. In addition, the final reports will include analysis of what happens to families leaving welfare a couple of years after TANF implementation (the early findings are from late 1996), including analysis of surveys that include additional measures of child and family wellbeing.
In addition, a number of states have undertaken nonASPEfunded projects to collect data on what happens to welfare recipients and former recipients over time, as welfare programs change and as program participants move into the job market and/or lose their welfare benefits. These studies vary substantially in terms of study design, cohorts, administrative data linkages, research topics, and response rates3. The ASPEfunded state/county grant projects are designed to improve the quality and consistency of approach of such research across states.
Among ASPE’s other projects, only one study, supported in part by welfare outcomes funds in FY 1998, has produced any results to date.4
Current and Planned Activities that Support Conferees’ Recommendations
State-specific surveys and data sets
1999 state diversion grants
On April 1, 1999, ASPE announced in the Federal Register the availability of FY 1999 funds and a request for applications from states and large counties to determine the status of TANF applicants and potential TANF applicants, individuals and families entering the TANF caseload and individuals and families who leave TANF. Through these grants ASPE hopes to support state efforts to gather a variety of information about diverted individuals and their families, including their economic and noneconomic wellbeing and participation in government programs. Of particular interest is learning about the degree to which TANF applicants are aware of their potential eligibility for Medicaid and other programs and services that are important in helping families make a successful transition to work5. Each grantee will be expected to use administrative records from multiple programs and/or other datagathering techniques to identify and conduct research into the experiences of the study population (as defined by the grantee) over time. A large number of applications were received from interested states and large counties by the May 17, 1999 deadline; approximately 4-6 grant awards are anticipated.
Update on 1998 “leavers” grants
In September 1998, ASPE awarded approximately $2.9 million in grants to study the outcomes of welfare reform on individuals and families who leave the TANF program, who apply for cash welfare but are never enrolled because of nonfinancial eligibility requirements (e.g., up-front job search, cooperation with child support enforcement, immunization) or diversion programs, and/or who appear to be eligible but are not enrolled. The grants were awarded to 10 states and 3 large counties or consortia of counties under a competitive announcement of availability of grant funds and request for applications, published in the Federal Register in May 1998. In addition, a grant was made to South Carolina, under a different grant announcement, to expand an on-going project to include a similar study of families leaving TANF.
The major purpose of the 1998 grants was to enable grantees to track and monitor how individuals and their families do in the first year after they leave welfare and to provide a foundation for longer follow-up. Grantees are using a combination of linked administrative data sets and surveys of samples of former recipients to monitor welfare outcomes. A large number of potential subgroup analyses were proposed by grantees, although their ability to carry them out will depend on sample sizes and survey response rates. Many grantees planned to stratify their samples based on their most important subgroups in order to assure sufficient sample size. The most common subgroups were based on reason for exit: sanctions, time limits, employment, and other. Several grantees planned to look at differences in outcomes for cases in urban versus rural areas. Many other proposed subgroup analyses were based on demographic characteristics such as age of recipient, age of youngest child, race or ethnicity, and prior education or work experience.
Through administrative and survey data states are addressing a number of important research questions in eight general topic areas including: employment and earnings, other income supports, health insurance, child care, child wellbeing, case closures and recidivism, barriers to selfsufficiency, insecurity/deprivation, and other topics. ASPE anticipates making approximately $1 million of (the $5 million) FY 1999 funding available to provide continuation funding to selected 1998 grantees. Brief descriptions of each FY 1998 grant project, including estimated project completion dates, are included in Appendix A. As noted above, interim reports, providing preliminary findings about former TANF recipients in the areas of employment, returns to TANF, and participation in other programs, have been released by four grantees as of midMay and are expected from the remaining grantees within another month or two. More detailed findings, including information gathered through survey data, will be presented in the final reports, which should be forthcoming from most grantees in late 1999 and early 2000. Two grantees (New York and San Mateo County) proposed a twoyear project period, with secondyear funding subject to grantee performance and availability of funds.
Update on 1998 state child indicators grants
Also in September 1998, grants totaling approximately $650,000 were awarded to 13 states for the purpose of developing and monitoring indicators of children’s health and wellbeing. The overall aims of this project are to: (1) promote state efforts to develop and monitor indicators of the health and wellbeing of children as welfare reform and other policy changes occur; and (2) help to institutionalize the use of indicator data in state and local policy work. In relation to welfare monitoring, the purpose is to help states focus on areas where children’s wellbeing may be affected — positively or negatively — by welfare policies. The competitive announcement published in the Federal Register in June 1998 encouraged states to work on indicator strategies for monitoring the health and wellbeing of children whose families leave the welfare rolls. States plans include using statespecific administrative and survey data to measure and monitor their indicators. ASPE anticipates making continuation funding available in FY 1999 on the basis of state advancements in indicator work during the first year and their identified goals, objectives and strategies for advancing their work during the second year. A large number of the grantees are in the early stages of indicator development and spent the first year conceptualizing the indicators, in anticipation of future measuring and monitoring. A brief descriptions of each child indicators grant project is included in Appendix B.
Survey data on the impacts of state waiver programs
State welfare reform waiver studies are an integral part of the on-going welfare reform and social sciences research and evaluation agenda supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) under section 1110 and section 413(h) of the Social Security Act, as amended. A central focus of ACF’s overall welfare reform research and evaluation strategy is to develop reliable, credible information about how different strategies are working in order to inform the flexible state policy choices permitted under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Moving families from welfare to work, persistence and progression in employment and the wellbeing of children are major focal areas. In addition to examining the impacts of welfare reform on families and children, issues affecting the affordability and quality of child care and labor force attachment for lowincome families are central topics. Similarly, studies have been initiated to increase understanding of the effects of transitions in health and human services on other special populations — teens, Native Americans, victims of domestic violence, and rural populations among others.
Welfare reform waiver studies are part of this broad agenda. Prior to TANF, 43 states were granted waivers to demonstrate new approaches in welfare with agreements to conduct rigorous evaluations using random sample study designs. By comparing the experimental and control groups over time in the welfare reform waiver studies, the causal effect of a state’s reform effort on such key outcomes as welfare dependency, employment and earnings, total family income, and family structure can be reliably determined. Similarly, studies begun as state waiver demonstration evaluations prior to TANF which have been modified continue to be of interest. This mix of evaluations will allow the Department to examine the process of, and in some cases the impacts related to, implementing a variety of state approaches to welfare reform, including policies related to work and personal responsibility and time limiting assistance.
Given the breadth of policy choices available to states under the TANF program without waivers, and the fact that 23 welfare reform waiver studies are being supported with other Department funds, ASPE determined that significant new investments in waiver studies are not necessary at this time. The grant awarded to South Carolina (mentioned above and described in Appendix A) in 1998 to determine the status of TANF recipients after they leave the TANF caseload is an expansion of its welfare reform waiver study. Four other states (Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin) that received 1998 grants to study the status of TANF recipients after they leave the caseload are also conducting waiver studies.
Use of administrative data (such as Food Stamp, Social Security and Internal Revenue Service records)
Social Security Summary Earnings Records
Plans are being developed to transfer FY 1999 welfare outcomes research funds to the Bureau of the Census for the purpose of obtaining a national sample of adult AFDC recipients and tracking the pre- and postemployment outcomes under TANF using matched Social Security Summary Earnings Records. Tracking the post1996 employment experience of adults who received AFDC benefits in 1996 offers a means of assessing how well the welfare reform legislation goals of substituting employment for entitlement to cash benefits for adult caretakers of dependent children are being met. One means of carrying out such tracking is to follow the post1996 earnings of a nationally representative sample (or samples) of adults who received AFDC benefits in 1996. Ideally, this project will produce a descriptive study of the employment outcomes for a sizable national sample of preTANF adult AFDC recipients and address the role of policy differences in affecting outcomes and to what extent the observed outcomes are the result of TANF and to what extent they reflect labor market conditions.
Update on using Food Stamp administrative data
In 1998 ASPE contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to assess the potential for using food stamp administrative data to look at welfare “leavers” and nonparticipants at the national level. Historically, almost all of the households that received AFDC/TANF also participated in the Food Stamp Program. As reported in “Characteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF Recipients: JulySeptember 1997,” approximately 85 percent of TANF families received food stamp assistance during that period, which is consistent with previous levels under the AFDC program. (By contrast, households with AFDC/TANF constituted just 35 percent of all food stamp households in 1997.) Since the overlap between AFDC/TANF and food stamp participation is so great, the potential for using Food Stamp Program administrative data to examine the status of TANF recipients after they leave the TANF caseload is an important avenue to explore.
After extensive discussions with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service concerning case information in the National Integrated Quality Control System (NIQCS) and state food stamp administrative records, it has become clear that significant technical obstacles must be overcome in order to use food stamp administrative data to look at welfare leavers and nonparticipants. For example, welfare “leavers” must be observed at two points in food stamp records — at a point when they are receiving both AFDC/TANF and food stamps, and at a point when they are receiving just food stamps. Since the NIQCS information is based on a pointintime review of food stamp participation, rather than a longitudinal look, one approach would be to merge state case record data with the NIQCS files to create a sample for review. However, it was ultimately determined that merging such data would not be feasible for several reasons, not the least of which was the burden that would be placed on state agencies to identify and retrieve relevant case records.
Therefore, the project, still in the conceptual design stage, will explore various other ways in which the food stamp data can be used to look at outcomes regarding employment and continued participation in other programs. This could include various analyses depending on their feasibility, such as an assessment of whether TANF leavers and nonparticipants in the FY 1998 grantee states and counties are representative of leavers and nonparticipants in the rest of the country. Another example of potential analysis under this study is a simulation of changes in TANF participation rates among those who are income eligible and on Food Stamps.
Update on linked state administrative data
The FY 1998 state and county grantees studying the outcomes of welfare reform are making significant use of administrative data available to them. They are using a combination of linked administrative data and surveys to study welfare reform’s outcomes on families leaving the TANF program. For virtually all of these (see Figure 2), the administrative data sets to be used include TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and some type of wage records.
Administrative Data Used to Study TANF Leavers
Number of Grantees Using Data Source
Source: Grantee revised work plans, as of 1/99.
Most of the wage records will come from the Unemployment Insurance system, though at least two will use their State Department of Revenue records. Child welfare, child support, and JOBS or JOBS successor data will be analyzed by about half the grantees. Other administrative data sets used by fewer grantees include child care subsidies, general assistance, SSI, substance abuse services, publicly funded mental health services, WIC, housing assistance, vocational education, school attendance, emergency services, and JTPA data. Some grantees will be linking fullcaseload samples, while others will link only subsamples. Some plan to use longitudinal data reaching back as far as 10 years, while others will include data only from 1997 forward.
Outcomes in both low and high economic growth areas
State proposals for grants under both the leavers and child indicators solicitations were evaluated along many dimensions to ensure the collection of information on welfare outcomes from a variety of disparate sources. For example, grants were awarded to large urban areas and rural states (Los Angeles County and West Virginia); to states with large and virtually nonexistent immigrant populations (Florida and Vermont); and to states whose welfare benefit levels varied greatly in relation to poverty guidelines (18 percent of poverty in South Carolina and 66 percent of poverty in Alaska). ASPE also attempted to include a wide range of economic conditions among the grantees.
Despite the generally widespread and sustained period of economic growth throughout the country, ASPE considered several different measures of economic conditions as proxies for low and high growth economic areas. Among those measures for which state data are available were the unemployment rate, the rate of employment growth, and changes in the “not employed” (unemployed plus “not in the labor force”) rate. Ultimately the Change in Employment/ Population Ratio was determined to be a good measure for purposes of studying welfare outcomes. This ratio compares job growth to population growth in a state — a positive change in the ratio means that the number of new jobs is growing faster than the population (including but not limited to new job seekers); a negative change in the ratio means that the population is growing faster than the number of new jobs. ASPE also examined changes in the employment/population ratio over three time periods — 19961997 (the most recent period for which data were available when grant applications were being evaluated in 1998), 19951997, and 19941997. Given the wide variation in small states’ performance from year to year, ASPE concluded that using the threeyear average would be a more stable and reliable measure of actual state performance.
Figure 3 displays the percent changes in the Employment/Population Ratio from 19941997 for all states. Of a total of 23 leavers and/or child indicators grantees, ten states (Maine, Washington, Missouri, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Georgia and California) are among the top third in performance on the Employment/Population Ratio, with a positive ratio of 3.0 or greater. Seven states (Delaware, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota, Alaska and Iowa) and the District of Columbia, had negative ratios, and are among the bottom third of performers.
Percent Change in Employment/Population Ratio, 1994 - 1997
Note: An “L” next to the state name denotes receipt by the state or some counties of a grant to study welfare outcomes (“leavers”); a “C” denotes a state receiving a grant to develop child indicators.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Unemployment Statistics, Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, annual, (data available online at http://stats.bls.gov/).
Guidance from the National Academy of Sciences
As directed by the conferees, ASPE funded the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1998 to conduct a Panel Study to evaluate the design of current, proposed and future studies of the effects of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 and make recommendations on further research. Through a combination of workshops, quarterly panel meetings and written reports, the NASappointed panel of experts continues to: (1) review our existing research efforts on the effects of welfare reform; (2) examine the appropriate data sources, research designs and statistical methods for analyzing welfare reform outcomes; and (3) identify research gaps and data needs for the continued study of welfare reform.
Funding of the National Academy of Sciences Expert Panel will continue in 1999 as part of ASPE’s overall research strategy for studying welfare outcomes. Over the course of this 30-month Panel Study, the Academy will continue to conduct workshops and will publish both an Interim Report and a Final Report. The Interim Report, due this summer, will contain a summary of the Panel’s first workshop as well as the Panel’s early recommendations on the Department’s welfare reform research plan. The Final Report will document the Panel’s comprehensive list of final recommendations on welfare outcomes research.
The projects supported by the targeted Policy Research funds are critical for understanding the outcomes of welfare reform and the Department is committed to advancing its welfare outcomes research data base. The research, evaluation and data activities supported by these funds are also crucial to the Department’s ability to respond to questions about the outcomes of welfare reform. The Administration for Children and Families and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in particular, have contributed both financial and intellectual resources to enhance these efforts. Substantial support for the state and local grant projects was also provided by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Labor.
Projects proposed to be funded by the $5 million FY 1999 appropriation are summarized in the next chapter. The final chapter of this report provides an update on projects funded by the $5 million FY 1998 appropriation. Details on the 1998 state and county grants awarded for welfare “leavers” projects are included in Appendix A. Descriptions of the grants awarded to advance states’ child indicators initiatives are included in Appendix B.
1 Arizona’s interim report provided information on families who left welfare in the first (calendar) quarter of 1998; the data shown for Arizona in Tables 1 and 2 are on families who left welfare in the fourth quarter of 1996, and were provided to ASPE in a supplemental report. The data shown for San Mateo County and Washington in Tables 1 and 2 are also for the fourth quarter of 1996. The data shown for Cuyahoga County are for welfare leavers in the third quarter of 1996. The Cuyahoga County and Washington interim reports reflect families who left welfare prior to TANF implementation, which occurred in October 1996 and January 1997, respectively. Arizona implemented TANF in October 1996 and San Mateo County in November 1996, and reported data for the fourth calendar quarter of 1996.
2 For example, some of the studies appeared to have reported receipt of food stamps and Medicaid among leavers who did not return to TANF, while others looked at all leavers. Also, some studies reported Medicaid receipt for adult leavers, while others examined receipt for children, who are more likely to receive Medicaid. In a statefunded report of survey findings, for example, researchers in Washington state reported that 44 percent of adult leavers and 64 percent of their children were covered by Medicaid three months after exit.
3 The General Accounting Office examined 17 reports based on studies conducted or sponsored by states of families who left the AFDC or TANF rolls during or after 1995 and summarized the findings of seven of those studies in a report WELFARE REFORM: Information on Former Recipients’ Status (GAO/HEHS-99-48) in April 1999. In addition, the Urban Institute summarized the findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment and other determinants of wellbeing from 11 state studies of leavers in May 1999 (Where Are They Now? What States’ Studies of People Who Left Welfare Tell Us, a product of Assessing the New Federalism, Series A, No. A-32).
4 Preliminary analyses of Los Angeles County administrative data and the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show that the participation rate of immigrants in a wide array of benefit programs has declined more precipitously than the rate of citizens, even prior to implementation of new immigrant eligibility restrictions. Additional information on that study, “Understanding the Impact of TANF and Other Laws on Immigrant Families,” can be found in the third chapter of this report.
5 Separately funded research recently released by the George Washington University Center for Health Policy Research found that formal strategies to divert families from welfare are an increasingly common aspect of states’ efforts to shift to a workoriented assistance system. More than half the states have instituted formal programs to avoid enrolling families in welfare programs by finding other ways to assist them, or by requiring workrelated activities at a much earlier point in the application process. The researchers also reported an increasing awareness and concern that the implementation of aggressive state welfare reform efforts can lead to decreased access to other public benefits such as Medicaid.
Projects Proposed to be Funded by the $5 Million FY 1999 Appropriation to Study Welfare Outcomes/Leavers
Following are descriptions of projects ASPE plans to fund in FY 1999 from the targeted appropriation to study welfare outcomes.
Major Projects Planned for Continuation
National Academy of Sciences Panel Study on Welfare Outcomes
To gain further insight on the DHHS welfare outcomes research plan, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) plans to continue funding the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Expert Panel in 1999 to evaluate the design of current, proposed, and future studies of the effects of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. The continuation of this Panel Study will assist the Department in: (1) reviewing our existing research efforts on the effects of welfare reform in the context of other efforts; (2) examining the appropriate data sources, research designs and statistical methods for analyzing welfare reform outcomes; and (3) identifying research gaps and data needs for the continued study of welfare reform. Over the course of this 30-month Panel Study, the Academy will continue to conduct workshops and will publish both an Interim Report and a Final Report. The Interim Report will contain a summary of the Panel’s first workshop as well as the Panel’s early recommendations on the Department’s welfare reform research plan. The Final Report will document the Panel’s comprehensive list of final recommendations on welfare outcomes research. The Interim Report is expected in the summer of 1999; project is expected to be completed by March 2001.
Continuation of 1998 Grants to Study Welfare Outcomes
Last year, $2.9 million in grants was awarded to 13 states and counties to study the outcomes of welfare reform by tracking families leaving the TANF program. Two of the grantees were funded for the first year of proposed twoyear projects. Secondyear funding of these two projects is a high priority. In addition, there are important benefits to be gained from providing continuation funding for other selected grants. Such additional funds would be used to examine earnings and employment data over a longer period, to administer surveys to additional cohorts, or to fund additional data linkages or analyses of administrative data. Funding decisions will take into consideration the quality of interim reports, progress to date, and our interest in the proposed follow-up work, providing an incentive for higher quality work among existing grantees.
Advancing States’ Child Indicators Initiatives
Grants of approximately $50,000 each were awarded to 13 states in September 1998 for developing and monitoring indicators of children’s health and wellbeing. The overall aims of this project are to: (1) promote state efforts to develop and monitor indicators of the health and wellbeing of children as welfare reform and other policy changes occur; and (2) help to institutionalize the use of indicator data in state and local policy work. In relation to welfare monitoring, the purpose is to help states focus on areas where children’s wellbeing may be affected — positively or negatively — by welfare policies. States are encouraged to work on indicator strategies for monitoring the health and wellbeing of children whose families leave the welfare rolls. States which received awards in FY 1998 will be eligible to apply for continuation funding in FY 1999, which will be awarded to states on the basis of their advancements in indicator work during the first year and their identified goals, objectives and strategies for advancing their work during the second year. A description of each state’s project to advance child indicators initiatives can be found in Appendix B.
Research Technical Assistance on State Child Indicators Initiatives
Secondyear continuation funding is planned for researchers at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago to coordinate research technical assistance to the states receiving the child indicators grants. Chapin Hall will continue to work with state and federal staff to develop or enhance the capacities of these states in creating children’s health and wellbeing indicators and in using indicator data to inform policy formulation and implementation. This technical assistance effort emphasizes collaborative work among the states and peertopeer assistance efforts. Research technical assistance is being provided, for example, on conceptual and methodological issues in identifying and measuring appropriate sets of child health and wellbeing indicators within and across states; ways of creating or using survey and administrative data and of combining several data approaches; and ways to involve state policy makers who can help institutionalize data systems for measuring and tracking child indicators and establish procedures for using indicator information to inform policy deliberations.
Welfare Reform and the Health and Economic Status of Immigrants and the Organizations that Serve Them
This project, through a grant to the Urban Institute jointly funded by ASPE, the Department’s Administration for Children and Families and Health Care Financing Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice (Immigration and Naturalization Service), is being continued to deepen our understanding of the impact of recent changes in Federal laws on immigrant families and children by conducting a largescale study of immigrants and their communities in Los Angeles and New York City. A commitment of ASPE funds will ensure full funding for the third and final year of this project.
Major New Projects
Grants to Study Welfare Reform Outcomes, with an Emphasis on Diversion
On April 1, 1999 ASPE announced the availability of funds and request for applications from states and large counties to determine the status of TANF applicants and potential TANF applicants, individuals and families entering the TANF caseload and individuals and families who leave TANF. Through these grants ASPE hopes to support state efforts to gather a variety of information about individuals and their families who are formally or informally diverted from TANF, including their economic and noneconomic wellbeing and participation in government programs. The Department is interested in learning about the degree to which TANF applicants are aware of their potential eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs and services that are important in helping families make a successful transition to work. Each grantee will be expected to use administrative records from multiple programs and/or other datagathering techniques to identify and conduct research into the experiences of the study population (as defined by the grantee) over time. It is anticipated that approximately 4-6 grants of between $200,000 to $250,000 each will be awarded; a large number of interested states and large counties submitted applications by the May 17, 1999 deadline.
Tracking Employment Outcomes Under TANF Using Matched Social Security Summary Earnings Records
The welfare reform legislation of 1996 was intended to promote independence by substituting employment for entitlement to cash benefits for adult caretakers of dependent children. Tracking the post1996 employment experience of adults who were receiving AFDC benefits in 1996 offers a means of assessing how well the legislation is meeting its intended goals. One means of carrying out such tracking is to follow the post1996 earnings of a nationally representative sample (or samples) of adults who received AFDC benefits in 1996. A number of ongoing Bureau of the Census demographic surveys identified nationally representative samples of AFDC adult recipients in that year and have been or shortly will be exactmatched to Social Security Summary Earnings Histories. (The three major surveys which both identified 1996 receipt of AFDC benefits by adults and have been or will be matched to SSA earnings records are the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the March 1997 Current Population Survey, and the Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD) baseline survey.)
Under this project, funds would be transferred to the Bureau of the Census to update these earnings histories subsequent to calendar year 1996 and track the presence and amount of annual earnings of 1996 adult AFDC recipients. Depending on the survey, various demographic and personal characteristics related to employment outcomes should be available. For example, age, race, educational attainment, and number and age of dependent children should be available from all three surveys. Details on health status, functional and work limitations, work history, current school enrollment and job training, as well as information on the health of minor children of the adult recipient, may be available from some surveys. Consideration will be given to combining the sample sizes from the three surveys to assess employment outcomes by age of recipient, by race and Hispanic origin, by principal levels of educational attainment, by current enrollment status, by presence of children under age two, by presence of healthrelated work limitations, living arrangements, work experience, etc. Efforts will also be made to disentangle policy and labor market effects on observed outcomes.
Iowa State Feasibility Project
Senate Report language to the FY 1999 Appropriations bill expressed the need to develop a mechanism to provide Statebased or multistate information, particularly in less densely populated areas. Iowa State University has been working with the Census Bureau to develop an approach for statelevel surveys that are relevant for local welfare program design, implementation, and evaluation and can be integrated into the Bureau’s Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD). The Bureau of the Census is currently supporting work by Iowa State University to explore the feasibility of extending and expanding the SPD to capture statelevel reliable samples for use in exploring the outcomes of federal and state policies, as well as local economic conditions of lowincome families. ASPE funding would support further feasibility work on the extended survey in response to Census Bureau findings, including questionnaire design and the development of a dualframe methodology for defining a sampling frame. Given the need for statespecific questions and data, but desire for a national framework, we believe this is a promising approach.
RAND’s Los Angeles Study of Families and Communities (LASFC)
The LASFC is a fouryear longitudinal survey of children, their families, and their neighborhoods in Los Angeles. While designed to answer broader research questions about the effects of neighborhoods on children, the study offers an opportunity to examine the effects of welfare reform at the neighborhood level. The study design includes both extensive household surveys and collection of detailed longitudinal information on neighborhoods through interviews with families, key informants, and service providers, on-site observation, and extensive administrative data. ASPE support would be used to help supplement the household survey to obtain richer data on the dynamics in health insurance coverage (and perhaps health status) among children and families over the study period.
Follow-up on the Wisconsin Project for Tracking Former Welfare Recipients
ASPE expects to provide funding to the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of WisconsinMadison as a follow-on to a recently completed administrative data study of former welfare recipients. Early findings from the first year of the study, which address the outcomes of those who left welfare prior to both the enactment of TANF and the implementation of Wisconsin Works (also known as W-2, Wisconsin’s replacement for AFDC), show that almost half (47.8 percent) of AFDC recipients in 1995 left welfare for at least two consecutive months between August 1995 and July 1996, but 30 percent later returned. About half of those who left had incomes greater than their foregone AFDC benefits and those who left AFDC were more likely to have incomes above the poverty level than those who stayed. Those who left and did not return were less likely to be poor than those who returned; however, most families who left remained poor and only a small fraction had incomes above 150 percent of poverty. This followup study will allow the Institute to track the outcomes for women in the first study further and to begin tracking the outcomes of a second group of women who left AFDC closer to the time of the implementation of Wisconsin Works. As in the first year, the continuation analysis will be conducted using linked administrative data from the state of Wisconsin including: (1) AFDC data, Food Stamp data, and Medicaid data from the Client Assistance for ReEmployment and Economic Support administrative database (CARES), and (2) earnings and employment data from the Unemployment Insurance records database (UI). By documenting the employment outcomes of former recipients who were exposed to the comprehensive welfare reform programs in Wisconsin, this follow-up project will offer a useful analysis of the wellbeing of individuals who left welfare during a time of immense policy change.
Research Grants on Welfare Outcomes
ASPE plans to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit researcherinitiated proposals to study important questions related to the outcomes of welfare reform. Issues to be studied could include: entry effects, diversion programs, and access to other support benefits (e.g., food stamps and Medicaid). While participation in incometested programs is declining, need appears to remain strong. Some have argued that participation is down because of time limits, work requirements or increased stigma. This set of research would explore the reasons families with children are not applying or re-applying for assistance in time of need. George Washington University/Urban Institute researchers recently reported in “Diversion as a WorkOriented Welfare Reform Strategy and its Effect on Access to Medicaid” that the implementation of aggressive state welfare reform efforts can lead to decreased access to other public benefits such as Medicaid. ASPE wants to stimulate further research on what happens to cases that are diverted or otherwise do not participate.
Other New Projects
Trends in the Demand for Assistance Services
People being removed from public assistance who have not found jobs or achieved selfsufficiency may become clients of emergency services such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters. In some cities, there are welldeveloped networks of private human services providers that collect data about their clients. A case study of demand for private emergency services in such a city or cities could directly address the question of what is happening to nongovernmental human services providers and indirectly address the question of what is happening to former, current, and potential welfare recipients who may be among the clients of emergency services. By examining policy changes and economic factors along with changes in the demand for other providers of human services, it will be possible to determine if any cost shifting is taking place from government to these other providers.
The Working Poor Population: Data Analysis on Definitions, Composition and Outcomes
With welfare reform we are likely to see not only an influx of lowskilled workers into the labor market, but also growth in the working poor population. While much overlap exists between the working poor population and the lowwage/lowskilled worker population, some important distinctions remain. This proposed data analysis project would examine the distinctions between the working poor population and the lowwage/lowskilled worker population (e.g., education level, skill level, family size, household composition, gender, marital status, industry of employment and hours/level of employment). It would also compare the different definitions of the working poor population based on variations in the definition of worker, the poverty threshold, and total income. For example, the working poor population could include workers who are neither lowskilled nor lowwage, but are not able to financially support their families due to family size, household composition, and/or the total number of workers in the family unit. This project would also include analyses of other characteristics/“outcomes” of the working poor, such as fringe benefits associated with employment and welfare services used in conjunction with employment.
Rural Working Poor
This project would help us understand welfare outcomes in a rural environment by studying the individual and labor market characteristics of the rural working poor population and the impacts of various economic and public policy developments. It would update, using 1997 Census data, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) project from 10 years ago (based on 1987 Census data), which found that 70 percent of rural poor families who were not ill, disabled, or retired were people who worked all or part of the year. The study could also examine the impacts on the rural working poor of various economic events and policy changes that have occurred since the earlier study, including welfare reform and economic recession and expansion. In addition, it would contrast the differences between the rural and urban working poor in terms of individual characteristics, job prospects, and labor market factors.
Research Uses of Emergency TANF Data Report
ASPE anticipates undertaking three related projects using the newly available source of welfare reform data collected through the Emergency TANF Data Report (ETDR): (1) working with the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, to improve the collection, storage, and release of these data; (2) doing crosssectional analyses using all data from all states; and (3) assessing the feasibility of creating a longitudinal database using data from individual states. The first step would be to resolve the technical issues associated with cheaply storing and transferring the large amounts of data required for a comparative analysis of AFDC and TANF and then building an archive of TANF data for researchers. Second, crosssectional analyses would compare AFDC and TANF using a “before vs after” welfare reform notion, analyzing similarities and differences in the caseloads. Finally, a single state with good data would be selected to explore the research potential of developing a longitudinal data set, preferably combined with additional linked data sets for more indepth analyses. Longitudinal analyses in this early phase of administrative data reporting would focus on shortterm outcomes, including changes in work participation, child care use, Medicaid, and household composition (especially to childonly cases and conversion of twoparent to oneparent cases). If successful, this feasibility work will lay the groundwork for more extensive creation of state longitudinal databases.
Welfare Outcomes Grants Technical Assistance Contractor
Contractor support may be needed to support ASPE staff in working with the 14 grantees awarded welfare outcomes grants in fiscal year 1998, as well as the additional grantees expected to be awarded grants in fiscal year 1999. Activities could include gathering the various grantees together for national planning meetings (including providing experts to present technical assistance to the grantees and handling meetingrelated logistical matters), providing technical assistance, working with them to enhance research quality and comparability across grantees, and synthesizing the FY 1998 state and county grantees’ findings into a publishable report.
Update on Projects Funded by the $5 Million FY 1998 Appropriation to Study Welfare Outcomes/Leavers
National Panel of Experts on Data Required to Evaluate Welfare Reform
As part of its overall research strategy for studying welfare outcomes, ASPE is currently conducting a Panel Study with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate the design of current, proposed and future studies of the effects of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. Through a combination of workshops, quarterly panel meetings, and written reports, the NASappointed panel of experts continues to:
- Review our existing research efforts on the effects of welfare reform;
- Examine the appropriate data sources, research designs and statistical methods for analyzing welfare reform outcomes; and
- Identify research gaps and data needs for the continued study of welfare reform.
To gain further insight on the Department’s welfare outcomes research plan, ASPE will continue to fund the National Academy of Sciences Expert Panel in 1999.
Estimated Completion Date: Interim report Summer 1999; project completed March 2001.
Grants to States and Counties to Determine the Status of TANF Recipients After They Leave the TANF Caseload, Eligible Families who are Diverted Before Being Enrolled, or Eligible Families Who Fail to Enroll
ASPE awarded approximately $2.9 million in grants in September 1998 to study the outcomes of welfare reform on individuals and families who leave the TANF program, who apply for cash welfare but are never enrolled because of nonfinancial eligibility requirements or diversion programs, and/or who appear to be eligible but are not enrolled. The grants were awarded to 10 states and 3 large counties or consortia of counties under a competitive announcement published in the Federal Register in May 1998. In addition, a grant was made to South Carolina, under a different grant announcement, to conduct a similar study of families leaving TANF. Funding for these projects was supplemented with interagency transfers from the Departments of Agriculture and Labor, and the DHHS Administration for Children and Families.
The major purpose of the grants is to enable grantees to track and monitor how individuals and their families do in the first year after they leave welfare and to provide a foundation for longer follow up. Grantees are using administrative data, survey data, or a combination of both types of data to address a number of important research questions, grouped into eight general research topic areas: employment and earnings, other income supports, health insurance, child care, child wellbeing, case closures and recidivism, barriers to selfsufficiency, insecurity/deprivation, and other topics. Interim reports have been released by four of the grantees; others are expected within the next few months. Final reports are due at the end of the project period, which varies from 12 to 17 months for most grantees. Three grantees proposed a twoyear project period, with secondyear funding subject to grantee performance and availability of funds.
Brief descriptions of each project, including estimated completion dates, are included in Appendix A.
Creating a Database for Research from Closed and Diverted Cases
ASPE funded a grant to South Carolina1 to allow the State to contract for a continuation and expansion of the follow-up study of families leaving TANF. The information resulting from their expanded data collection effort will be linked to their existing administrative data archive to create a rich database for research on closed or diverted cases. This project is described in Appendix A and is counted as the 14th state grant to study the outcomes of welfare reform on individuals and families who leave the TANF program, who apply for cash welfare but are never enrolled because of nonfinancial eligibility requirements or diversion programs, and/or who appear to be eligible but are not enrolled.
Estimated Completion Date: April 2003
State Indicators of Children’s Health and WellBeing
Grants were awarded to 13 states in September 1998 for developing and monitoring indicators of children’s health and wellbeing. The overall aims of this project are: (1) to promote state efforts to develop and monitor indicators of the health and wellbeing of children as welfare reform and other policy changes occur; and (2) to help to institutionalize the use of indicator data in state and local policy work. In relation to welfare monitoring, the purpose is to help states focus on areas where children’s wellbeing may be affected — positively or negatively — by welfare policies. States are encouraged to work on indicator strategies for monitoring the health and wellbeing of children whose families leave the welfare rolls.
Each state was required to form a partnership of state government agencies with responsibilities for addressing children’s issues. At a minimum, the partnerships were to include the state welfare agency and state agencies and councils with lead responsibilities for children’s programs. Technical assistance has been provided for states to work with one another, research and policy experts, and federal staff. The Department’s Administration for Children and Families also provided funding for this project. Short descriptions of each state’s project can be found in Appendix B. States which received awards in FY 1998 will be eligible to apply for continuation funding in FY 1999, based on their advancements in indicator work during the first year and their identified goals, objectives and strategies for advancing their work during the second year.
Estimated Completion Date: The twoyear project period ends in September 2000, although it is anticipated that the states will continue their indicator efforts beyond that time. Quarterly progress and annual summary reports will be submitted throughout the project period.
Technical Assistance for State Indicators of Children’s Heath and WellBeing
The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago was awarded funding in September 1998 to coordinate technical assistance for the state children’s indicators grantees. Chapin Hall is being funded to convene grantee meetings, to promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge among states, and to organize and coordinate technical assistance from a network of experts from a variety of organizations. Assistance is being provided on issues in conceptualizing and measuring children’s indicators and institutionalizing the use of indicators in policy processes.
Estimated Completion Date: September 2000
Evaluating the Feasibility of Using Food Stamp Administrative Data to Track Welfare Leavers
Mathematica Policy Research is continuing to explore various ways in which Food Stamp Program administrative data can be used to look at welfare leavers and nonparticipants. This could include various analyses depending on their feasibility, such as an assessment of whether TANF leavers and nonparticipants in the 1998 grantee states and counties are representative of leavers and nonparticipants in the rest of the country. Another example of potential analysis under this study is a simulation of changes in TANF participation rates among those who are income eligible and on Food Stamps both before and after welfare reform, looking at the characteristics of the caseload, program parameters, and economic conditions.
Estimated Completion Date: Fall 1999
Evaluation of New Jersey Substance Abuse Research Demonstration
This evaluation will provide important information about the effectiveness of a type of intervention several states are experimenting with to move substance abusing welfare clients toward selfsufficiency. The intervention New Jersey is implementing includes screening of welfare recipients for substance abuse problems, treatment referral mechanisms with enhanced case management, and substance abuse treatment coordinated with employment and training or vocational services. The evaluation will, using a random assignment model, compare two models for providing such services, looking at outcomes in several domains including employment and family selfsufficiency, substance use and associated behaviors, child development and family functioning, and child welfare involvement. The intervention being evaluated is intended to improve the postwelfare prospects of TANF recipients with substance abuse problems. The evaluation is being conducted in two New Jersey counties (Essex and Atlantic).
The grantee, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, will produce three products resulting from the evaluation which are intended for use by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the state to disseminate information about the project. These include: (1) a descriptive profile of the population served by New Jersey’s welfaretowork program, including how many have substance use disorders as well as other barriers to selfsufficiency; (2) an implementation report describing the difficulties encountered and lessons learned about implementing these services, as well as issues to be considered in establishing substance abuse interventions in welfare contexts; and (3) an outcomes report describing outcomes for participants and controls 12 months posttreatment. ASPE and ACF have provided support for this project. Other aspects of the evaluation are being funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Department’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Estimated Completion Date: Random assignment of clients to the intervention models is to begin April 1999. An outcomes report is expected in 2001.
Welfare Reform and Its Implications for Persons with Disabilities
This project is a supplement to an ongoing fouryear study of the implications of welfare reform for lowincome families living in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio. Funds are being used to explore how welfare reform is affecting the lives of a particularly vulnerable subset of the welfare population — adults and children with disabilities. This will be accomplished by conducting longitudinal case studies of families with members with disabilities receiving TANF and through a broader survey effort. The purpose of the data collection efforts is to better understand how recent work participation requirements and time limits under welfare reform are affecting service utilization, family member’s health and development, support networks, parenting, and child care arrangements.
This project is part of a broader study being undertaken by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Pennsylvania State University, Harvard University, University of Chicago, University of TexasAustin, and the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill. It has been jointly funded by ASPE, ACF, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). The Department’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is the primary funder of the broader study, along with several private foundations.
Estimated Completion Date: A first year report on the ethnographic case studies is due in December 1999; results from the longitudinal survey will be available pending the completion of data collection and analysis.
Understanding the Impact of TANF and Other Laws on Immigrant Families
ASPE, ACF, the Department’s Health Care Financing Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service are providing support to deepen our understanding of the impact of recent changes in Federal laws on immigrant families and children by conducting a largescale study of immigrants and their communities in Los Angeles and New York City, through a grant to the Urban Institute. Field work begin in the spring of 1999. Preliminary analyses of Los Angeles County administrative data and the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show that the participation rate of immigrants in a wide array of benefit programs has declined more precipitously than the rate of citizens, even prior to implementation of new immigrant eligibility restrictions. Obtaining primary data on immigrant families in Los Angeles and New York City should begin to help us better understand the causes of these declines. Funds were also used to support updating the TRIM modeling program2 to include parameters about immigrants, and as a subset, refugees and nonrefugees using 1995 data as a baseline. The updated model has already been used to estimate the rate of participation in the Medicaid program by immigrants.
Estimated Completion Date: Fall of 2000.
Disaggregating the TANF ChildOnly Caseload in Three States
Nearly a quarter of all TANF cases are “childonly” assistance units in which there is no adult recipient, compared to a decade ago when only 12 percent of cases were of this type. Childonly cases include households in which the child(ren) is living with adults who are not their parents, as well as cases where the parents are in the household but ineligible for benefits. Today, there are wide variations among the states with regard to childonly cases: they make up approximately 40% of Alabama’s caseload but only 8 percent of Maine’s caseload. Currently there is only a limited understanding of the causes of the growth in childonly cases, the dynamics of these cases and how they differ from cases with adult recipients, and how the characteristics of families differ. It is expected that such cases are likely to remain TANF recipients for longer periods of time than other cases. The interactions between state policies and the formation of childonly cases will be among the issues examined, as will exit issues, such as when do such cases exit the TANF rolls and why, and how do exits of childonly cases compare to exits for other cases.
This study, conducted by the Lewin Group under contract to ASPE, is using administrative data, case file reviews, and interviews with case workers and policy staff in three states (California, Florida, and Missouri) to examine policy and programmatic issues regarding childonly cases. The study is designed to obtain more detailed information about the make-up and trends in the childonly population in these states. The study will concentrate on Alameda County in California and Kansas City in Missouri; the focus in Florida remains to be determined.
Estimated Completion Date: Site visits will be conducted during the summer of 1999 and a report is expected by the end of 1999.
Archiving of AFDC Data
This project is organizing into a data archive the Characteristics Surveys of AFDC Recipients (that were carried out every two years from 1967 through 1979) and the annual AFDC Quality Control administrative data (collected from 1982 through 1996). These data will allow comparisons between the TANF program and its predecessor AFDC program to see what changes have occurred. The Urban Institute will make these data files consistent, as well as clean up, document, and publish these data on the Internet for use by researchers wishing to compare the new world of welfare reform with the old world of AFDC, among other uses.
Estimated Completion Date: October 1999
1 The Administration for Children and Families is funding two separate implementation studies in South Carolina — one on substance abuse and the other on re-location of families from economically depressed areas in the state.
2 TRIM is a computer model used to simulate welfare caseload changes resulting from changes in various policy variables.
Appendix A: 1998 State and County Grants Awarded for Welfare Leavers Projects
The grants awarded to states and counties to study the outcomes of welfare reform on individuals and families who leave the TANF program, who apply for cash welfare but are never enrolled because of nonfinancial eligibility requirements or diversion programs, and/or who appear to be eligible but are not enrolled have several attributes in common. All were funded under a competitive announcement of availability of grant funds, and the major purpose of all the grants is to enable grantees to track and monitor how individuals and their families do in the first year after they leave welfare and to provide a foundation for longer follow up.
In their project descriptions, all 14 grantees proposed to use a combination of linked administrative data and surveys to study welfare reform’s outcomes on families leaving the TANF program. Each study is expected to include at least two cohorts. All grantees plan to track leavers in linked administrative data for both cohorts. All grantees proposed to survey sample members, generally drawn from the second cohort. Most surveys are expected to take 20-30 minutes. Proposed sample sizes are generally between 600 and 1,200 completed interviews. With one exception, grantees proposed to conduct a mixed mode survey, with first contact made by telephone when a working telephone number was available. All funded proposals agreed either to provide a public use file, to provide limited access to project datasets through some form of research review process, or both.
A large number of potential subgroup analyses were proposed by grantees. Grantees plan to use administrative data, survey data, or a combination of both types of data to address a number of important research questions. For the purposes of this summary, these research questions are grouped into eight general research topic areas: employment and earnings, case closures and recidivism, other income supports, health insurance, child care, child wellbeing, barriers to selfsufficiency, insecurity/deprivation, and other research topics. Each of these topics is discussed below, followed by a description of each of the 14 projects.
Employment and Earnings
Almost all grantees plan to use a combination of administrative data and survey data to examine such issues as employment status, quarterly earnings, wage levels, hours worked, and types of jobs or occupations. In addition, 10 of the 14 grantees include questions on fringe benefits on their surveys, and several include questions about jobrelated training. Figure A-1 shows, by employmentrelated topic area, the number of grantees using survey and administrative data to study each topic.
Case Closures and Recidivism. Case Closures and Recidivism
All grantees are using administrative data to study the reason for case closure, as shown in Figure A-2. In addition, 9 of the 14 grantees are including survey questions about the recipients’ explanation for why the case closed. Likewise, all grantees are using administrative data to study returns to TANF, with most grantees proposing survey questions about the reasons for such returns.
Other Income Supports
Almost all grantees plan to study receipt of food stamps and child support, through administrative data, survey data, or a combination of both. All states and counties also ask questions about resources from family members. Other types of income supports specifically addressed in proposed surveys or proposed research plans include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), general assistance (GA), housing assistance, energy assistance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). See Figure A-3 for the number of grantees examining the various income supports using either administrative or survey data.
Figure A-4 shows that all grantees plan to use administrative data to examine Medicaid coverage, and most grantees also include questions about Medicaid and employerprovided health insurance on their surveys. Only four grantees, however, specifically discussed examining use of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — two through administrative data, and two through surveys. Over half the grantees plan to ask former recipients if adults and children in the family have some type of health insurance coverage.
Figure A-5 shows that most (12) of the grantees proposed including survey questions about the child care used by families after they leave welfare. Typical questions focus on the type of provider used, the parents’ awareness and use of subsidies and child care costs. Half (7) of the grantees also ask parents about their perceptions of child care quality. In addition, six grantees are linking TANF records to the state or county subsidized child care data system, as another source of information about the type and cost of care, as well as the use of subsidies.
Almost all grantees proposed to study some indicators of child wellbeing, as shown in Figure A-6. The most common source of administrative data is the child welfare system (i.e., data on child abuse and neglect, foster care, or both). In addition, most grantees are proposing to include some type of survey questions about children’s living arrangements and/or interactions with the child welfare system. Nine grantees also plan to examine some measure of child health status (typically through a survey question), seven grantees plan to ask questions about children’s school attendance, and five grantees plan to include questions addressing child behavior.
Barriers to SelfSufficiency
All grantees proposed to examine barriers to selfsufficiency. Primarily through survey questions, grantees will be gathering data about such subjects as disability, maternal depression, substance abuse, illiteracy, domestic violence, and lack of education/skills. In a few instances, administrative data are available. Illinois, for example, will use administrative data on publicly funded substance abuse services, and Washington and Wisconsin have administrative data related to domestic violence. As Figure A-7 shows, most include specific questions about barriers related to lack of transportation and lack of child care.
Deprivation or Insecurity
Figure A-8 shows that, for the most part, grantees are planning to use survey questions to query whether former recipients encounter severe problems in meeting basic needs. These include issues associated with hunger, access to health care, use of emergency services, and housing problems (homelessness, lack of money to pay rent or living with relatives). Two grantees, Georgia and Missouri, have access to administrative data on food pantries/food banks to examine deprivation issues.
Other Research Topics
Half of the grantees are surveying former recipients about their attitudes toward TANF or welfare reform. Additionally, Figure A-9 shows that five are surveying former recipients about their attitudes toward work. Many grantees also are including survey questions to probe for recipients’ awareness of transitional child care (TCC) benefits and transitional Medicaid benefits. Finally, 12 of the 14 grantees are surveying individuals that leave TANF about changes in household composition after program exit, such as birth of a new child. Over half explicitly ask about changes in marital status, and about half use administrative and/or survey data to examine changes in household residence.
This project, the TANF Cash Exit Study, involves cohorts from the last calendar quarter of 1996 and the first calendar quarter of 1998, with administrative data from multiple systems for both cohorts and a sample survey of 800 cases from cohort two. Arizona has waivers which allow for 24 months of transitional child care and Medicaid. The project is looking at whether people are taking advantage of these benefits and the reasons why or why not. Arizona has also recently implemented progressive sanctioning, ending in fullfamily sanctions. They are interested in learning whether these sanctions are succeeding in motivating participation or employment. The project is being run by the Research and Reporting Office of Maricopa County.
Estimated Completion Date: The draft interim report has been submitted and is expected to be available very soon. It will include preliminary results from their administrative data analysis covering 12 months of data for October - December 1996 and six months of follow-up data for the January - March 1998 cohort. Their survey instrument has been finalized and piloted; administration of the final instrument was scheduled to begin in March. The end date for the project is August 1999.
Cuyahoga County, OH
This project, conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), will provide an addition to MDRC’s Urban Change project with a focus on leavers. Cohorts will be drawn from the third calendar quarters of 1996 and 1998. The project will include analysis of up to ten years of full population administrative data developed for the Urban Change project, as well as a small mixedmode sample survey drawn from cohort two and surveyed between July and December 1999. This project and the Los Angeles project, also by MDRC, will effectively be a twosite study that will allow comparisons while controlling for study design.
Estimated Completion Date: A draft interim report based on the administrative data for the first cohort was submitted in late April 1999, and should be available soon. The final report is expected in June 2000.
District of Columbia
This project is being managed by the Urban Institute, with subcontracts for a survey and focus groups. They will use administrative data on TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid and foster care from their current integrated system, eliminating the need for difficult linking. This administrative data is available over time going back to 1992. In addition, there will be a series of focus groups with members of the first cohort of welfare leavers (those who left in the first quarter of 1997) and a mixed modesurvey of the second cohort (cases that exited in the fourth quarter of 1998). Approximately 675 families will be surveyed nine months after exit, between July and September 1999.
Estimated Completion Date: Uncertain. The project was delayed in start-up by about four months because the District’s contract with the Urban Institute was not signed until February 1999.
Florida is looking at all three populations listed in the program announcement: those who leave the WAGES (Work and Gain Economic SelfSufficiency) system, those who are diverted (informally, by withdrawing voluntarily or failing to complete the application process), and those who appear to be eligible but do not enroll. The project involves both administrative data linking and a very large telephone survey effort (15,000 households both from statewide and across four geographic regions). ASPE funds are supporting 10,000 of the 15,000 interviews, including all of the interviews for cases of diversion and the eligible but not enrolled. Findings from the statefunded surveys were released by Florida’s subcontractor, Florida State University, in March 1999.
Estimated Completion Date: February 2000.
This project assessing the impact of welfare reform on women leaving TANF in Georgia will add a new component to a larger ongoing study. The current effort involves two cohorts: a sample of 2,000 leavers from January to October 1997 tracked in administrative data; and a telephone survey of 200 leavers per month from July 1998 to June 2001, for a total of 7,800. ASPE funding will allow the state to add a twowave survey of sanctioned cases, before exit and again six months later, which will provide for nonexperimental analyses of the impact of leaving TANF. The State also received separate funding for in-person interviews of 500 persons whom they are unable to contact by telephone, addressing the very real problem of nonresponse bias in telephone surveys of lowincome populations.
Estimated Completion Date: The contractor, Georgia State University, experienced initial delays in receiving necessary data from the state, creating difficulties in finding the “leavers” and causing implementation of their survey instrument to be delayed about three months. Their final survey instrument has been tested and implemented. An interim report of administrative data analysis was mailed in late April. The end data for their project is January 2000.
Through a contract with the University of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Human Services is sponsoring a study of how Illinois families fare after they leave cash assistance, with an emphasis on understanding the factors associated with success in maintaining selfsufficiency. Through a combination of state funds ($350,000) and federal funds granted under this Appropriation ($250,000), the project is studying cases that closed between July 1997 and December 1998. The Illinois project integrates administrative data from multiple systems with interview data from selected families. The administrative data, tracked over a 6- to 23-month follow-up period, includes data on earnings, TANF, food stamps, Medicaid, Project Chance, child care, foster care, child protective services, and other programs. The survey data are being collected from samples of families that exited in December 1997, June 1998, and December 1998. The federal grant has been used to extend the study cohort by six months (through December 1998), extend the period of administrative data tracking by six months (through June 1999), and fund a survey of 800 cases closing in December 1998. Those survey participants who cannot be reached by traditional telephone procedures will be targeted by more intensive field work, in order to raise survey response rates beyond those of the earlier statefunded cohorts.
Estimated Completion Date: A final report is expected in the fall of 1999.
Los Angeles County, CA
This project by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) provides an addition to their Urban Change project with a focus on leavers. Cohorts are being drawn from the third calendar quarters of 1996 and 1998. The project will include analysis of up to ten years of full population administrative data developed for the Urban Change project, as well as a small mixedmode sample survey drawn from cohort two and surveyed between July and December 1999. This project and the Cuyahoga County, OH project, also by MDRC, will effectively be a twosite study that will allow comparisons while controlling for study design. Los Angeles also received supplementary funding of $225,00 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to draw a larger sample of welfare leavers who receive housing assistance, both through public housing and Section 8.
Estimated Completion Date: A draft interim report based on the administrative data for the first cohort is expected to be completed in May or June 1999. The final report is expected in June 2000.
This project looks at two cohorts of families who left welfare. The first cohort is a full population sample (20,000) of families who left welfare between January and June, 1997. This cohort is currently being tracked using the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s existing Longitudinal Database as well as a completed sample survey (350 cases). The results of the survey are scheduled to be released shortly. For the second cohort, they plan to draw a full population sample (15,000) of administrative data for families that exited welfare between December 1998 and February 1999. This will be supplemented with a detailed, mixedmode survey of 600 cases conducted by the Center for Survey Research at the University of MassachusettsBoston. This second cohort is particularly interesting because it will include the first group of TANF recipients to “hit” Massachusetts’ time limits.
Estimated Completion Date: February 2000.
This project is based on two valuable databases: a comprehensive statewide collection of administrative data from health and human services programs, employment and training programs and wage records maintained by the University of Missouri, and a unique database of nonprofit emergency assistance in metropolitan Kansas City created by the Mid America Assistance Council, a consortium of nonprofit agencies using shared forms and intake procedures. These existing databases will be linked to each other and to a twocohort survey of TANF leavers by the Midwest Research Institute.
Estimated Completion Date: The survey instrument has been finalized and piloted; interviews of fourth quarter 1996 TANF leavers began in March 1999. They expect to complete their preliminary administrative data analysis by the end of April and to begin linking survey data with administrative data by July. The projected end date of the project is October 2000.
This is a twoyear project for which the state requested less than onethird of total funding in 1998. The study includes both TANF exiters and individuals under sanction, whether or not they leave assistance. The goals of the project include: determining the frequency of outcomes such as employment, job retention, use of transitional assistance and returns to assistance; identifying barriers to selfsufficiency; examining the effectiveness of sanction policies in changing behavior; and developing a longitudinal tracking capacity for welfare outcomes in New York City. The State plans to use full population administrative data from TANF, SSI, Food Stamps, Medicaid, foster care, child support, and wage records to analyze cohorts from the first quarter of 1997 and the first or second quarter of 1999. Assuming second year funding is awarded, the 1999 cohort will also involve a 900 case survey in the first quarter of 2000.
Estimated Completion Date: The final report in this project is expected in October 2000.
San Mateo County, CA consortium
This project involves a consortium of three contiguous counties: San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara, together with the SPHERE Institute. They are using full population administrative data for the fourth quarter 1996 cohort, and a combination of full population administrative data and two 30-minute mixed mode surveys for the fourth quarter 1998 cohort. The project includes linking of several administrative databases and an elaborate sampling plan in an attempt to look at a large variety of policy relevant subgroups across the three counties, including “diverted” families who initiate TANF applications but do not enroll in the program. The survey instrument draws questions from a variety of wellknown national surveys, and researchers are seeking a response rate of 85-90% of those sampled.
Estimated Completion Date: A draft interim report was submitted in April 1999. The proposal was for a twoyear project, although secondyear funding is contingent on performance and availability of funds.
This project will involve cohorts leaving the Family Independence Program (FIP) program from the first half of 1996 and the first half of 1997 using linked administrative data and 1,000 in-person interviews. They will examine the outcomes of four groups: leavers due to earnings, sanctions or timelimits and eligibles who never enroll. Each of the initial interviews will have a follow-up one year and two years later. The study focuses particular attention on issues of child wellbeing and use of the child welfare system. The project will also include 40 in-depth family stories about 10 families from each group who will participate in a more detailed and extensive survey.
Estimated Completion Date: Uncertain. USDA funds were recently added to the project to study individuals and families leaving the Food Stamp Program. An evaluation contractor for both populations is about to be selected. The survey questionnaire will be modified to also include questions related to food stamps. The sample size will be increased deal include the food stamp leavers.
Washington is studying all three populations listed in the announcement: those who leave welfare, those who are diverted (in this case through lumpsum payments), and those who appear to be eligible but do not enroll. Three cohorts are being analyzed by linked administrative data: a preTANF cohort from the fourth quarter of 1996; an earlyimplementation cohort from the fourth quarter of 1997; and a fullimplementation cohort from the fourth quarter of 1998. TANF data will be linked to data from Medicaid, food stamps, child support, child welfare, unemployment insurance, and the State Basic Health plan. Each cohort will include a sample of continuing cases for comparison. A mixed mode survey of 1,000 cases is planned for the third and final cohort. The survey sample is split evenly between individuals leaving TANF and TANF entrants, with an emphasis being placed on leavers in rural areas of the state.
Estimated Completion Date: A draft interim report was submitted in late April 1999. The final report, containing both the survey and administrative data analyses, is scheduled to be submitted by November 30, 1999.
Wisconsin is using its “leavers” funding to build on and expand two projects. First, Wisconsin has used state funds to build a longitudinal database to study families who either left AFDC prior to implementation of Wisconsin Works (W-2) or who did not convert during the transition. This data is being used in conjunction with a series of surveys of families who left W-2 in 1998. The state funded a survey of clients who exited in the first quarter of 1998, the results of which were released in January 1999. Nearly half of their funding under this announcement will be used to extend this survey to clients who exited during the last three quarters of 1998.
Estimated Completion Date: The final reports on each leavers cohort will be released approximately one year from the end of the quarter being studied, making the final report due on or around December 31, 1999.
Wisconsin is using more than half of its 1998 HHS funding (and plans to use additional funding from the Administration for Children and Families in FY 1999) to expand an applicant diversion study undertaken by the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of WisconsinMadison. This portion of the study focuses on three subgroups of applicants: (1) those who request assistance and subsequently participate in the W-2 program; (2) those who request assistance but are determined to be ineligible for program participation; and, (3) those who request assistance, appear to be eligible, but do not participate in W-2. A sixmonth cohort of applicants is being tracked through a combination of linked administrative data (e.g., public assistance, quarterly earnings, child support, foster care, and mental health data) and two waves of surveys.
Appendix B: 1998 Grants Awarded to Advance States Child Indicators Initiatives
The grants to advance states child indicators initiatives were sponsored by ASPE, with additional support from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
The overall aims of this project are: (1) to promote state efforts to develop and monitor indicators of the health and wellbeing of children as welfare reform and other policy changes occur; and (2) to help to institutionalize the use of indicator data in state and local policy work. Partnerships of state government agencies with responsibilities for addressing childrens issues were invited to apply for grants. At a minimum, the partnerships were to include the agencies with lead responsibilities for childrens programs, including childrens health programs, and the welfare and income support programs. In September 1998, grants of approximately $50,000 were awarded to thirteen states: Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia. States may receive continuation funding for a second year. States were selected based on their readiness to make advancements and have a range of experience in this area. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago is organizing technical assistance opportunities for states to work with one another, research and policy experts, and federal staff. Assistance will be provided on issues in conceptualizing and measuring child indicators and institutionalizing the use of indicators in policy processes. The twoyear project period ends in September 2000, although it is anticipated that the states will continue their indicator efforts beyond that time. Below are brief descriptions of the projects based on the activities each state proposed in its application for funding, although the projects continue to evolve.
This project proposes to establish health and wellbeing indicators for children ages 0-8 in order to monitor the impacts of welfare reform and other policy changes in Alaska. In addition, the project will:
Establish a database to allow for the collection, analysis, monitoring and sharing of indicator data;
Develop a framework for involving communities in the development of their own indicators and in the collection and use of indicator data;
Establish a marketing strategy to inform the public of indicator results; and
Integrate the use of indicator data in policy making at the state and local levels.
The project is led by the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs, Division of Community and Rural Development, in partnership with the Childrens Cabinet, an executivelevel interagency council comprised of the directors of five state agencies (Departments of Community and Regional Affairs, Health and Social Services, Law, Education, and Public Safety and Corrections), the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General and the Budget Director. Other participants in the project will include staff from the Governors Office and the Alaska KIDS COUNT Project at the University of Alaska. Responsibility for the completion of project tasks will lie with a work group, comprised of representatives of most of the member agencies of the Childrens Cabinet.
This project is led by the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families in partnership with the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Social Services, Delaware KIDS COUNT, the University of Delaware, and the Family Services Cabinet Council (FSCC), an interagency council chaired by the Governor. The project will build upon current efforts by the state to develop and publish a series of benchmark indicators called FAMILIES COUNT. In the first year, the project will:
Review existing indicators, policy goals, strategic plans, and performance measures;
Take an inventory of data sources and identify data gaps; and
Hold public forums to seek input on policy goals and indicators.
Based on this information, the project will develop a plan to better link these indicators and data sources with policy making. In year two, the project will implement this plan within selected areas of childrens health and wellbeing, with particular emphasis on welfare reform issues. Decisionmaking authority will rest with the FSCC, while two subcommittees of the Services Integration Working Group, the operations arm of the FSCC, will be responsible for technical data work. Project coordination is provided by the University of Delaware.
Floridas project, led by the Florida Department of Children & Families and Florida State University, will synthesize information from a variety of sources so that policymakers, to the greatest extent possible, can get a clear and complete picture of the impacts of welfare reform on children in Florida. It will build upon work already completed or underway, ranging from experimental research studies and local monitoring projects to performancebased program budgeting and statewide benchmarks. As appropriate, national research findings also will be incorporated. In year one, the project will:
Identify key issues and policies that need to be addressed in Florida over the next two years;
Select indicators that address these issues;
Identify new data sources where gaps have been identified; and
Develop a plan for using indicators in critical policy decisions.
Year two will focus on implementation of this plan. A statewide task force of 40 people representing government, business, nonprofit organizations, universities and seven key local communities will develop the issue framework that will drive the selection of measures. Additional input for this framework will be obtained from MiamiDade at a local Welfare Reform Summit and follow up meetings with community leaders. Measurement and data issues will be addressed through work groups of technical staff, who will recommend specific indicators to the task force. Most importantly, the task force will develop a plan for the continuing use of these childrens indicators/measures by policy and decision makers. This plan will address the information needs of target audiences, ranging from the Governor and Legislature to the general public, and identify effective ways to communicate that information so that it will be accurately interpreted, easily understood and readily used in decisions affecting policy, budget and program implementation.
This project is led by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, in partnership with the Georgia Policy Council for Children and Families, which includes senior representation from the Department of Human Resources, Department of Medical Assistance, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Education, the Office of School Readiness, and the Governors Office of Planning and Budget, as well as community, business and elected leaders. Since Georgia already tracks 26 child and family indicators at the state and county levels, this project focuses on the development of indicators that are more sensitive to program and policy changes such as TANF, expanded child care, CHIP, and the emphasis on managed health care. In addition, it will create a conceptual framework for linking these new indicators with existing indicators that reflect broad, longterm sociodemographic changes and those that draw upon the broad array of ongoing public health surveillance and program management systems.
Efforts in the first year include:
A review of program and policy changes and their potential positive and negative effects on children and families;
A review of existing indicator systems in use in Georgia and by other state and national agencies;
Development of a conceptual framework for linking indicators; and
Development of a set of new or modified indicators that would be presented for critique by the Policy Council and the public.
Activities in the second year include:
Developing and disseminating indicator reports;
Posting the indicator data on the web; and
Assessing technical assistance needs in using the indicators in local planning.
Recent state legislation in Hawaii endorsed the development of a resultbased accountability system using benchmarks and indicators to track child outcomes and to coordinate efforts across public and private agencies that serve children and families. On this basis, the Hawaii Department of Health is leading a partnership in pursuit of three goals:
To identify a common set of indicators on the health and early childhood education and care of children from birth to five years of age, with special focus on those who receive or have recently left welfare or are homeless;
To establish a data collection and reporting system on the indicators that has longterm sustainability; and
Tto develop a mechanism for affecting social policy for young children through the use of indicator data.
The partnership includes the Department of Human Services, Department of Education, Good Beginnings Alliance, Hawaii KIDS COUNT, and the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. In addition, the Governors Policy Advisor on Children and Families will play a key role. Each of the partners is represented on the Partners Council and will contribute staff to the Councils four work teams which focus on community outreach, data collection and systems, media relations, and policy development and analysis.
Although Maine collects various data to profile the status of children within Departments and at the county level, a common set of indicators for use in planning at the state level has not yet been developed. This project proposes to:
Establish a common vision for childrens health and wellbeing;
Produce a set of indicators, including strengthbased indicators, in key areas across systems at the state level;
Forge vertical and horizontal links among policy makers and program staff to promote the use of indicators in policy making; and
Present indicator data in a userfriendly format.
Maine anticipates that the set of indicators developed will provide a framework for tracking the effects of welfare reform. While the Maine Department of Human Services will serve as the lead agency for the project, the Childrens Cabinet, an executivelevel interagency council, will serve as the cornerstone of the partnership. Cabinet membership includes the Commissioners of five state agencies including the Departments of Human Services, Education, Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, and the Departments of Public Safety and Corrections. Each of these agencies will contribute the following representatives to this project: Associate Commissioners, who will serve on the Steering Committee, and data and program staff, who will serve on a Coordinating Committee and two working subcommittees. Other members of the partnership include the Maine Childrens Alliance (KIDS COUNT), State Planning Office, Maine Development Foundation, Dirigo Coalition, Educational Policy Center, Margaret Chase Smith Center at the University of Maine, and the Institute for Public Sector Innovation at the University of Southern Maine.
Maryland is in the process of developing a resultsbased accountability system for children and family services in which strategic planning, management, and budgeting are tied to indicators and outcomes. At the state level, a preliminary set of common child and family indicators were developed. At the local level, local management boards were created throughout the state to manage the delivery of children and family services and to set and achieve performance goals based on indicators and outcomes. This project will advance their efforts in the following ways:
Finalize the indicators based on additional state and local stakeholder input;
Validate and refine the methodology for collecting and organizing the indicators data with the assistance of a research institution;
Post the indicators data on a searchable web database;
Refine the states strategic plan for children and family services; and
Provide technical assistance to local management boards as they develop their own service delivery goals and plans.
To further this last objective, the project intends to hire several local consultants. The project will be led by the Subcabinet for Children, Youth, and Families, an executive interagency council charged with monitoring the local management boards, and the Maryland Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families, a public/private and state/local commission which includes representation from the United Way of Central Maryland, Association of Local Management Board Directors, and several counties. Marylands KIDS COUNT Partnership will provide technical assistance.
This project is led by the Minnesota Department of Health, Maternal and Child Health Division, in partnership with the Department of Children, Families and Learning, Department of Human Services, Minnesota Planning, the Childrens Defense Fund of Minnesota, and University of Minnesota researchers. The project plans to:
Create a common set of childrens health, educational, and social wellbeing indicators across key agencies;
Identify and seek solutions to barriers that currently limit the agenciescapacity to share data;
Develop an interagency data system for longterm monitoring of the health and wellbeing of children and tracking the effects of welfare reform;
Develop web sites, publications and other means of communicating indicator data to policy makers, program staff and the public; and
Ttrain personnel from public and private agencies on how to access and use the new data system and how indicator data can be used in policy making and in tracking the effects of welfare reform.
The Department of Health will have the lead role in coordinating project activities and providing training and technical assistance to other agencies in the use of the data system.
Since New York has developed an interagency set of goals, objectives and outcome measures in the areas of health, education, and human services, the focus of this project is to increase access to and promote the use of childrens indicators. This will be accomplished through the development of an interactive web site that will enable users to gather and manipulate countylevel data according to their own needs. New York considers the analysis of countylevel data as critical to monitoring the effects of welfare reform. The project is led by the New York State Council on Children and Families, an interagency group comprised of 13 state agency commissioners or directors whose agencies operate programs or administer locallyoperated programs for children and families. The partnership includes the state agencies on the Council, the Center for Technology in Government at the University of Albany/State University of New York, the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, and the New York State Office for Technology. The Center for Technology in Government will design the web site; the College of Human Ecology will facilitate advisory committees of potential users to identify and prioritize indicator use issues and data needs. An Executive Level Guidance Team, composed of senior level staff from the Councils member agencies, will be the structure through which agencies participate in the development of the web site and contribute data.
Rhode Island has developed an initial set of child indicators in the areas of health, education, economic well being and safety. As a result, this project is intended to more explicitly link indicators with policy goals. The project has several aims:
to define a core group of indicators that can be used to track the impact of welfare reform, health care reform, child care expansion, and education reform;
To develop new indicators to measure the wellbeing and school readiness of young children, from birth through age 10;
To examine the ability of using state agency administrative data, state surveys and state supplements of national surveys as data sources for producing indicators; and
To institutionalize the use of indicators in policy work.
The partnership consists of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and the Rhode Island Childrens Cabinet, an interagency council which represents the Department of Human Services, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Health, and Department of Children, Youth and Families. Senior policy and data staff from the Cabinet agencies will comprise the Interagency Child Indicators Team, which will have primary responsibility for completion of project tasks. Project management will be provided by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.
This project, housed in the Utah Department of Health, and involving five state agencies serving children, proposes to:
Review, revise and adopt standard indicators of child health and wellbeing in Utah;
Identify and develop new data sources for the indicators;
Develop systems for analysis of the data at the state, health district, county and community levels;
Develop a system for the meaningful reporting of the indicators; and
Develop systems that provide broad access to the indicators and institutionalize their use for policy purposes.
Utah is specifically interested in developing improved small area analysis strategies for indicators that support systems change initiatives in highlyimpacted neighborhoods in populous urban counties. The partnership builds on five years of collaborative work between Utah Children, a communitybased organization which publishes KIDS COUNT indicators, and member agencies of Families, Agencies and Community Together (FACT), an interagency effort involving state agencies, private and community organizations, and parents in interdisciplinary teams to coordinate childrens and families services. The FACT Subcommittee on Data and Information Systems will provide the implementation structure for agencies, such as the Departments of Health, Human Services, Workforce Services, Education and the Administrative Office of the Courts, to participate in this project.
This project is led by the Vermont Agency for Human Services in partnership with the Department of Education, the University of Vermont, and the State Team for Children, Families and Individuals, an executive collaborative council comprised of state agency and community representatives. Since Vermont has several years of experience in publishing child indicators at the state and local levels, this project focuses on making investments in a few specific areas. First, the project will develop and pilottest a new measure of school readiness and increase the use of indicators of developmental assets of youth. Second, it will develop a webbased mapping application to allow users to convey information for certain human services and education indicators in ways that are not currently available. Third, it will extend the development of a data hotel for individuallevel data intended to facilitate research and program evaluation on issues related to welfare reform and childrens wellbeing. It will promote case studies of selected communities and their role in affecting local performance on indicators. Finally, it plans to sponsor a regional forum to promote exchange of knowledge around indicators among New England states.
Under the leadership of the Governors Cabinet on Children and Families, an executivelevel interagency council, West Virginia recently developed a set of six overarching outcome statements and identified a list of child and family indicators. This project plans to build on these efforts by collecting baseline information and monitoring changes in indicator data at the county level and by providing indicator data to state and local policy makers, the business community and the public. Although the Governors Cabinet functions as the lead state agency, responsibility for completion of major project tasks lies with the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center, an independent organization located within Marshall University Graduate School and created from a partnership between the Governors Cabinet, the Department of Health and Human Resources, Department of Military Affairs & Public Safety, Department of Education, and the Department of Education & the Arts. Project tasks include:
The development of promotional indicators which communicate positive outcomes;
Adoption of key child and family indicators by the Cabinet;
Collection and analysis of data from the relevant agencies;
Working with legislators and local communities to increase awareness and use of indicator data in state and local policy making;
Design of a web site for publication of indicator data; and
Preparation of annual and other periodic indicator reports.
The project also anticipates working closely with local community organizations to used indicator data in priority setting and engaging in research to examine changes in child well being, family stability, and in the status of specific target groups such as welfare recipients and families with children enrolled in CHIP.