University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Enhancing the Child Support Knowledge of TANF-Eligible Families and TANF Caseworkers: A Collaborative Strategy for Improving Outcomes for Low-Income Children and Their Families – Outcomes Evaluation

The importance of child support for families receiving income support has long been recognized. Federal welfare reform efforts have included significant child support changes as a central component. Wisconsin has been a leader in this respect, perhaps most notably by pursuing a unique policy of a full pass-through and disregard of child support for welfare participants as part of the state’s original Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) plan.

In this report we present the findings of the final component of a demonstration project designed to support and evaluate the implementation of the most recent Wisconsin child support policy changes related to TANF participation. This project, “Enhancing the Child Support Knowledge of TANF-Eligible Families and TANF Caseworkers: A Collaborative Strategy for Improving Outcomes for Low-Income Children and Their Families” was known as the Collaborative Strategies Project, or CSP. This report considers the effects of the CSP on outcomes for low-income children and their families. We compare the outcomes of the Wisconsin Works (W-2) application process for families applying in 2008 (prior to the child support policy changes) and in 2010 (after the implementation of the new child support policies). Using administrative data and case history data, we provide a description of two groups of W-2 applicants, one who applied prior to the changes and one who applied after the changes were implemented. The results of our difference-in-difference model provide limited support for the hypothesis thatthe policy changes would encourage W-2 participation for those with more child support arrears or for those expecting greater child support receipts.

Categories

Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Economic Support, Means-Tested Programs, Pass-Through & Disregard, WI Administrative Data Core

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