The Take-up of Cash Assistance Among Private Kinship Care Families.
Sheran, Michelle. Swann, Christopher A.
Dept. of Economics, UNC-Greensboro.
Published: August 2007
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 29, No. 8 , p. 973-987
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Many children in private kinship care arrangements live in families that endure financial hardships. Even though these families are eligible for TANF child-only grants, only one in five receives cash assistance. The purpose of this study is to better understand the take-up of cash assistance for this group. Using national level data, we explore the relationships among child and caregiver characteristics and the receipt of cash assistance. We provide evidence that disadvantaged families are more likely to receive cash assistance than less disadvantaged families. For example, older caregivers and those with less education have higher take-up rates than their counterparts. Similarly, being poor and having received welfare in the past increase the likelihood that assistance is received. Nonetheless, it is important to note that take-up rates are low compared to other social programs. Our results suggest some possible reasons for this. For instance, our findings point to the possibility that many private kinship care families do not take-up cash assistance because they do not know that they are eligible for it through the TANF program. This suggests that outreach may improve participation. It also raises the issue of whether the receipt of cash assistance could be improved if benefits were provided through a program other than TANF. (Author abstract)
kinship care; TANF; Financial assistance; child welfare