ASPE-FUNDED LEAVER STUDIES

In an effort to provide support to states who are conducting studies of families who leave welfare programs, ASPE in May 1998 invited states to submit proposals to study the outcomes of at least one of three groups: those individuals and families who once participated in TANF but who stopped (leavers), those who applied for TANF but were diverted from participating, or those who appeared to be eligible for TANF but did not apply to receive it. In September 1998, 14 jurisdictions—10 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 counties or groups of counties—were awarded a total of $2.9 million to conduct studies.2 The average grant award was just over $250,000; the studies will last from 1 to 1 1/2 years. All grantees must produce interim reports in the first year of the grant period and final reports at the end of the grant period. The grantees are: Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland), Los Angeles County, and a group of counties in Northern California (Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo counties—the San Mateo county group).3Table A-1 in Appendix A summarizes key study components for the 14 jurisdictions. As that table shows, and as we discuss further below, most grantees plan to study the first group mentioned by ASPE—leavers.

At this writing, not all state grantees' interim reports were finalized. Our summary and review of the issues in these studies are therefore based on two sources: the proposals and, when possible, the finalized interim reports submitted by the grantees, and a workshop held with the grantees and the panel in November 1998. This summary discussion of the state plans considers the outcomes proposed for study, the study populations, the proposed methodologies, and the data sources, in turn.

Outcomes

ASPE gave the grantees much discretion in choosing the outcomes to be studied, except that one requirement of all grantees was to study employment and earnings outcomes. Table A-2 in Appendix A summarizes the outcomes studied by the grantees and the sources of data for the outcomes. Employment outcomes

2  

 Additional funding for these studies was provided by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, and the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. The award to one of the states, South Carolina, was made under a previous grant announcement.

3  

 ASPE issued a second Request for Applications in spring 1999 but the grant recipients have not yet been announced. This request called for studies of the status of applicants and potential applicants to TANF and families entering TANF, in addition to further studies of leavers, including, perhaps, extensions of some of the 14 studies.



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