TANF Coverage, State Policies, and Children's Well-Being

Julia Shu-Huah Wang, Columbia University

This study aims to examine how TANF coverage affects the wellbeing of children, and how the effects differ across states depending on the stringency of the TANF time limits and work requirements. Using longitudinal data from the 2004 and 2008 panels of Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study employs propensity score matching method to address nonrandom selection into TANF participation. Results show that TANF coverage may improve a family’s daily routine and parents’ educational expectations of their children, and that these effects are not attributable to changes in family income or guardian employment status. TANF was unable to alleviate parenting stress or enhance children’s wellbeing in the areas of cognitive stimulation, family interactions, and educational performance. Findings also suggest that TANF coverage under more stringent TANF requirements do not have a differential impact on children’s wellbeing when compared with coverage under more lenient TANF requirements.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods