Date of Award

6-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Political Science

Major Professor

Patricia K. Freeland

Committee Members

Ann A. Berry, David J. Houston, Anthony J. Nownes

Abstract

States are not required to provide subsidies for childcare and transportation, but at the time of this writing all provided some supplements to TANF participants who were working, looking for work, or attending school. However, there has been little assessment of the effectiveness of these programs. Using data from a longitudinal study on Families First participants in the state of Tennessee, this exploratory study addresses the questions of whether transportation and childcare supplements contribute to the ability of TANF participants to move off welfare and support their families adequately through their own efforts, and whether outcomes from these services differ by geographic location. The survey sample consisted of 3,569 respondents who were currently receiving or who had recently received TANF services through Tennessee's Families First program, beginning with the initial survey in 2001.

Regardless of any assistance provided for childcare and transportation, which have been addressed in the literature as significant barriers to employment and thus the well-being of TANF participants, most of the survey participants remain among the poorest families in the country. While transportation and childcare supports may alleviate some of the barriers that TANF participants must overcome, this research finds that they do not in themselves improve the likelihood that poor families will be abot to move out of poverty. However, there are some indicators that they do help in terms of having employment, which is the first step toward achieving financial well-being.

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