The study reported findings for two cohorts. The early cohort findings are presented for single parents and two-parent families separately, and the later cohort includes only single parents. This review focuses on findings for the later cohort of single parents; other reviews on this site focus on findings for the early cohort. The later cohort of single parents included all single-parent welfare families receiving welfare at any time between March 1998 and February 1999, and who lived in one of 12 counties. This cohort includes 4,954 families, 3,863 of whom were randomly assigned to the intervention group and 1,091 of whom were assigned to the comparison group.
The later cohort includes all single-parent families who received welfare at some time between March 1998 and February 1999.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
This review examines a later cohort of single-parent families reported in the study, and another review on this site examines an early 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 later single-parent cohort had never been married (64 percent). Slightly more than half (53 percent) were White, and most of the remaining clients were African American. More than half (57 percent) had 12 or more years of education. Most (87 percent) had one or two children. More than half (58 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 ($3,753). Fifty-six 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. Compared with the early cohort, the later cohort of families was exposed to the full range of Indiana's welfare reform policies.
The Welfare Reform group was subject to new welfare reform policies. Members of this group were required to participate in employment and training services that emphasized job search; faced 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 were required to sign a personal responsibility agreement to obtain immunizations for their children, ensure school attendance, and have minor parents 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, a policy required the welfare grant amount to remain 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.