Barriers to Accessing and Receiving TANF

The main research question of the Barriers to TANF project asks: What barriers do families face in accessing and receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and how do these barriers differ by individual, family, agency, or county characteristics?

Guided by this overarching question, the project investigates the reasons for disparities at various levels in accessing and participating in TANF. By exploring both the perspectives of families who are eligible but not receiving TANF along with the views of human service caseworkers and simultaneously analyzing state administrative data and program and policy rules, this project aims to present an in-depth understanding of barriers to access and the resources available or missing to address these barriers. The research question builds on previous research on disconnected families, caseworker discretion, and trauma-informed and equity-focused policy, bringing together these bodies of literature and evidence to inform our approach and contribution to building an equity-focused policy research agenda at both the state and national levels.

Funding source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Equity-Focused Policy Research