The study reported findings for two cohorts and two types of households. This review focuses on findings for the early cohort of single parents; other reviews on this site focus on the findings for the late cohort of single parents and the early cohort of two-parent households, respectively. For the early cohort, evaluators randomly assigned single-parent families who had received welfare at some time between May 1995 and April 1996 to the Welfare Reform or Traditional Welfare group. Most were welfare clients already on welfare when welfare reform began. Indiana's welfare eligibility computer system assigned clients randomly to groups, and caseworkers informed clients of their assignment. New applicants were randomly assigned at the point they were determined to be eligible for cash assistance.
The early cohort includes all single-parent families who received welfare at some point between May 1995 and April 1996. Evaluators measured impacts during the five years after random assignment, between May 1995 and June 2001.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
This review examines an early cohort of single-parent families reported in the study, and another review on this site examines a later cohort. Both cohorts of clients were nearly all female and 27 or 28 years old, on average. At the time the study began, most in the early single-parent cohort had never been married (59 percent). More than half (58 percent) were White, and most of the remaining clients were African American. More than half (59 percent) had 12 or more years of education. Most (79 percent) had one or two children. Slightly less than half (47 percent) had at least one child younger than 3 years old. The majority had been employed at some time during the five quarters before random assignment, but average earnings during the previous year were low ($2,799). Forty-three percent were exempt from work requirements.
Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
The study began at the same time that welfare reform policies were initiated in Indiana.
The Welfare Reform group was subject to new welfare reform policies. Members of this group were required to do the following: participate in employment and training services that emphasized job search; face a 24-month time limit on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) receipt and a provision that held the TANF grant amount constant if a child was born 10 months or more after the family began receiving TANF; and sign a personal responsibility agreement to obtain immunizations for their children, ensure school attendance, and have parents who are under 18 and on assistance live at home or with a responsible adult. They could face sanctions if they did not participate in work activities for at least 20 hours per week and if they did not uphold the terms of the personal responsibility agreement. This group could also receive work incentives in the form of continued eligibility for Medicaid, child care subsidies, and other supportive services at higher earnings levels; in addition, the welfare grant amount remained constant when earnings increased.
The Traditional Welfare group was subject to pre-reform welfare policies. Members of this group were required to participate in work activities but were less likely to be referred to the work component of the state's welfare program. Staff rarely enforced sanctions for noncompliance with work requirements for Traditional Welfare clients. These clients did not face a time limit on TANF receipt or have to sign a personal responsibility agreement.
A subset of the intervention group was mandated to work and could be sanctioned for noncompliance.
Clients in the Welfare Reform group could remain enrolled in TANF for up to 24 months, whereas clients in the Traditional Welfare group were not subject to a time limit.
Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
The study took place in Indiana and included all eligible families in the state. The policies and services that applied to the Welfare Reform group and the Traditional Welfare group were administered by local offices of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
For some reason, I'm unable to edit the manusrcipts/citations for this study. Please replace the manuscripts with the following three edited versions:
Beecroft, Erik, Wang Lee, David Long, Pamela Holcomb, Terri Thompson, Terri, Nancy Pindus, Carolyn O'Brien, and Jenny Bernstein (2003). The Indiana Welfare Reform evaluation: Five-year impacts, implementation, costs and benefits, Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Fein, David, Erik Beecroft, William Hamilton, Wang Lee, Pamela Holcomb, Terri Thompson, and Caroline Ratcliffe (1998). The Indiana Welfare Reform evaluation: Program implementation and economic impacts after two years, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Beecroft, Erik, Kevin Cahill, and Barbara Goodson (2002). The impacts of welfare reform on children: The Indiana Welfare Reform evaluation, Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.