Children without parents in the TANF caseload: Thinking beyond the child-only label


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Child welfare policy has historically emphasized the positive impact relative caregivers can have on foster children. This emphasis coupled with recent changes in the composition of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseload has led to interest in child-only, relative caregiver cases. Child-only research, however, ignores cases in which the relative caregiver is also receiving benefits. Using the universe of welfare cases in Maryland in October 2005, this article compares and contrasts the demographic and case characteristics of parental and relative caregiver cases, also analyzing differences between cases with and without an adult receiving benefits. Findings indicate that relative caregivers have service needs that differ from those of parents and that recipient relative caregivers are more disadvantaged than child-only cases.

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