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Publications by Pamela J. Loprest on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)

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Understanding the Dynamics of Disconnection from Employment and Assistance (Research Report)
Heather Sandstrom, Kristin S. Seefeldt, Sandra Huerta, Pamela J. Loprest

Low-income individuals who are not employed or receiving TANF are often referred to as “disconnected.” This study uses interview data from a sample of 51 disconnected, unmarried mothers from Southeast Michigan and Los Angeles, California to learn about their experiences related to work and benefit receipt. In Michigan, many women had hit the TANF time limit but could not find employment. In Los Angeles, some women preferred to stay home to care for young children, but others lacked child care and work experience. Immigrant mothers struggled without working papers. Despite receiving assistance from different sources, material hardship was quite common.

Read executive summary

Posted to Web: June 02, 2014Publication Date: June 02, 2014

Executive Summary: Understanding the Dynamics of Disconnection from Employment and Assistance (Summary)
Heather Sandstrom, Kristin S. Seefeldt, Sandra Huerta, Pamela J. Loprest

Low-income individuals who are not employed or receiving TANF are often referred to as “disconnected.” This study uses interview data from a sample of 51 disconnected, unmarried mothers from Southeast Michigan and Los Angeles, California to learn about their experiences related to work and benefit receipt. In Michigan, many women had hit the TANF time limit but could not find employment. In Los Angeles, some women preferred to stay home to care for young children, but others lacked child care and work experience. Immigrant mothers struggled without working papers. Despite receiving assistance from different sources, material hardship was quite common.

Read the full report

Posted to Web: June 02, 2014Publication Date: June 02, 2014

Health Profession Opportunity Grants: Year Two Annual Report (2011-2012) (Research Report)
Theresa Anderson, Pamela J. Loprest, Teresa Derrick-Mills, Lauren Eyster, Elaine Morley, Alan Werner

The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program, established by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, funds training programs in high-demand healthcare professions, targeted to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals. In 2010, the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded 32 HPOG grantees in 23 states with five-year grants. This Annual Report provides an overview of HPOG grantees, characteristics of participants, activities in which participants were engaged, training and employment outcomes, and how grantee programs continued to evolve in the second year of the program.

Posted to Web: February 18, 2014Publication Date: January 29, 2014

TANF and Related Administrative Data Project: Final Evaluation Report (Research Report)
Laura Wheaton, Christin Durham, Pamela J. Loprest

This report describes work in Connecticut, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wisconsin to link Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with other administrative data for operational and research purposes. The report describes the agencies and organizations involved, each state’s planning process, goals, and achievements, and the Urban Institute’s role as technical assistance contractor. All four states proposed linkages with the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), but two states dropped these plans after learning of costs and limitations of the NDNH. The report concludes with recommendations for supporting future state efforts and for facilitating research use of the NDNH.

Posted to Web: June 18, 2012Publication Date: January 31, 2012

How Has the TANF Caseload Changed Over Time? (Research Brief)
Pamela J. Loprest

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseloads have plummeted since the program was enacted in 1996. This brief summarizes changes to the caseload during the period of decline and explores factors that have contributed to caseload change. It highlights some dramatic changes in the program including the dramatic drop in the take-up rate (the percentage of eligible families receiving assistance) and the huge increases in nonassistance TANF expenditures such as emergency payments and the the share of TANF cases with benefits only provided for the children.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

TANF Recipients with Barriers to Employment (Research Brief)
Dan Bloom, Pamela J. Loprest, Sheila R. Zedlewski

Most TANF recipients have at least one barrier to work, and many have multiple barriers. The likelihood of work declines as the number of barriers increases. This brief summarizes the strategies that states use to help TANF recipients with barriers to employment. It reviews the limited research evidence on the short- and long-term effects of employment-focused and treatment-focused interventions. It draws implications for policy, including recommendations for more effective screening and assessment, faster resolution of applications for disability benefits and the need for case management and broad support services.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

Disconnected Families and TANF (Research Brief)
Pamela J. Loprest

The share of low-income single mothers disconnected from work and TANF ranges from 20 to 25 percent. Most disconnected low-income single mothers experience barriers to work and most of their families live in poverty. This brief reviews what we know about the numbers and characteristics of disconnected mothers, their economic well-being, their living arrangements, and the length of time that they tend to be disconnected. The brief draws lessons for policy, including efforts for keep TANF recipients in great need from losing TANF benefits and becoming disconnected and to improve employment prospects for those with serious challenges to work.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

Improving State TANF Performance Measures (Research Report)
Heather Hahn, Pamela J. Loprest

Performance measurement is a tool government can use to improve program performance and address accountability. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, like many federal government programs, requires measurement of program performance to help ensure federal funds are being used to reach stated program goals. Some states have gone beyond federal requirements and added additional performance measures for their state TANF programs, making them useful laboratories for understanding the possibilities and challenges of broader and varied performance measurement in TANF. This study exploits this opportunity by gathering and synthesizing information from a set of states with more innovative performance measurement systems

Posted to Web: November 18, 2011Publication Date: November 07, 2011

Dynamics of Being Disconnected from Work and TANF (Occasional Paper)
Pamela J. Loprest, Austin Nichols

This paper analyses the economic well-being of low-income single mothers who "disconnected" – that is neither working nor receiving public assistance benefits (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) or disability benefits). We find that the percentage of disconnected single mothers increased over time. These mothers are extremely poor and are more likely to have challenges that make work more difficult than other single mothers. In addition, many mothers remain in this situation for a year or more. Some are helped by living with other family members or cohabiting and through receipt of public food and housing benefits.

Posted to Web: September 12, 2011Publication Date: May 31, 2011

What Role is Welfare Playing in this Period of High Unemployment? (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Pamela J. Loprest, Erika Huber

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the nation's cash assistance program for poor families with children, has not played much of a countercyclical role during the current recession. As unemployment has risen, TANF caseloads nationally have grown much more slowly and state TANF caseloads have not tracked state unemployment growth. Program rules and financing structures limit the responsiveness of TANF in a downturn. As TANF reauthorization is considered, this brief details some relatively small changes that could improve the program's effectiveness in future recessions.

Posted to Web: August 17, 2011Publication Date: August 17, 2011

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