TANF Child-Only Cases

Publication Date: January 15, 2012


Almost half of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cases are “child-only cases,” which arise when no adult is included in the benefit calculation. This exclusion can happen if children live with relatives (or, in some states, specified nonrelatives) instead of with their parents or if parents are ineligible for TANF for certain reasons other than income. Despite their large share of the TANF caseload, child-only cases have generated little research relative to cases with adult recipients. This brief reviews the limited evidence available, including how child-only cases arise, their number and characteristics, children’s well-being, available services, and implications for policy and research.


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