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  • Preserving the gains, rethinking the losses: Welfare in Illinois five years after reform Third annual report from the Illinois Families Study University Consortium on Welfare Reform April 2003

  • Dan A. Lewis, PhD Amy Bush Stevens, MSW, MPH Laura B. Amsden, MSW, MPH

    Katie Hasson, BA Northwestern University

    Kristen Shook Slack, PhD, MSW

    University of Wisconsin at Madison

    Bong Joo Lee, PhD University of Chicago

    Paul Kleppner, PhD

    Northern Illinois University

    James Lewis, PhD Roosevelt University

    Stephanie Riger, PhD

    University of Illinois at Chicago

    Robert Goerge, PhD University of Chicago

  • April 9, 2003 Carol Adams Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services 100 South Grand Avenue East Springfield, IL 62762 Dear Secretary Adams, On behalf of the University Consortium on Welfare Reform and in accordance with the requirements of the Welfare Reform Research and Accountability Act (P.A. 90-74), it is my great pleasure to forward to you, for transmittal to the Illinois General Assembly, our report on the third year of the Illinois Families Study. The report, titled Preserving the gains, rethinking the losses: Welfare in Illinois five years after reform, has both an executive summary and a complete technical report. The transmission of the report to you completes our responsibilities in the third year of the project as required by law. I want to make it clear to you and other members of the Governors cabinet that my colleagues and I are available to assist in interpreting the results and facilitating further analysis. I also want to compliment the Illinois Department of Human Services for the cooperation we have experienced in preparing this document. Your staff provided us with invaluable assistance over the last four years as the Consortium and the Department developed a very productive working arrangement. I believe that this partnership will be a model for other states that seek an objective understanding of the impact of welfare reform, an understanding that will assist policymakers in improving service delivery. The Illinois legislature is addressing budgetary concerns and preparing its own welfare package during the spring of 2003. This report focuses not only on the extent to which Illinois has achieved the goals of welfare reform, but also on which resources support the economic self sufficiency of this population, providing insight to legislators during the Illinois state budget debate. Next year and the years to come we hope will bring new reports and further analysis of Illinois efforts to improve the lives of poor families. We stand ready to assist the General Assembly and the executive branch of the Illinois government in the challenges ahead. Sincerely, Dan A. Lewis, Professor of Education and Social Policy, and Principal Investigator, University Consortium on Welfare Reform

  • Third annual report from the Illinois Families Study i

    Acknowledgements We are particularly grateful to the several foundations and government agencies that have supported the Illinois Families Study (IFS). The first three years of the project were made possible by the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation, the Searle Fund, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Administration for Children and Families, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. We have received additional support from the US Department of Education, the National Institute of Justice, and the Illinois Department of Human Services. We thank the 1,072 respondents who completed interviews three years in a row for this study. This report would not be possible without them. The Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC) conducted data collection, field work, and data entry for all three years of interviews. Woody Carter, Research Director, manages the IFS data collection at MCIC. A special thanks is extended to MCICs interviewing teams in Chicago, Peoria, and East St. Louis. They are an extremely professional group of interviewers who have tirelessly followed and successfully interviewed the very mobile group of families participating in this study. One of the most satisfying aspects of this work has been the partnership we have formed with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The department has gone out of its way to assist with the project. Dave Gruenenfelder, Alan Whittaker, and Jane Radliff, in particular, have provided valuable feedback and assistance. Many other IDHS staff have also provided feedback on drafts of this report. The Illinois Department of Public Assistance (IDPA), particularly Jacquetta Ellinger, also provided invaluable assistance. The Legislative Advisory Committee, comprised of several members of the Illinois State Legislature, provides ongoing consultation to the IFS staff on policy relevance and dissemination. The members of this committee include Senators Steven Rauschenberger and Miguel del Valle and Representatives Barbara Flynn Currie and Rosemary Mulligan. Numerous graduate students from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison contributed significantly to this report. Lisa Altenbernd, Amber Stitziel Pareja, Marla McDaniel, Irene Carvalho, Joan Yoo, Lynette Renner, and Alan Puckett conducted data cleaning and data analysis. Three undergraduate students Sara Whittaker, Jenn Kerner, and Jennie Taylor - provided research assistance. Jane Holl, Principal Investigator of the Illinois Families Study: Child Well-Being Supplement, provides valuable support and expertise to research design and data collection oversight for the overall study. Several staff members at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University provided administrative assistance to the project. These individuals include Ellen

  • ii Preserving the gains, rethinking the losses

    Feldman, Ruth McCullough, and Fay Lomax Cook. Barbara Ray and Patricia Reese provided editing advice and Alice Murray assisted with formatting. The Principal Investigators of the study are Dan Lewis (Northwestern University), Paul Kleppner (Northern Illinois University), James Lewis (Roosevelt University), Stephanie Riger (University of Illinois at Chicago), Bong Joo Lee (University of Chicago), and Robert Goerge (University of Chicago). This report does not necessarily reflect the opinions of those who provided assistance to the investigators and project staff in its development. All correspondence related to this report should be directed to Laura B. Amsden, IFS Project Coordinator, at 847-491-5889 ( [email protected]), or Dan Lewis, Principal Investigator, at 847-491-8722 ([email protected]).

  • Third annual report from the Illinois Families Study iii

    Table of contents

    Executive Summary .......................................................................................... xi Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1

    Purpose of this report ...................................................................................................... 1 Goals of welfare reform .................................................................................................. 2 Key features of Illinois TANF and related programs...................................................... 3 Federal TANF reauthorization ........................................................................................ 4 AFDC/TANF caseload dynamics during the 1990s and recent economic trends in Illinois.............................................................................................................................. 5

    Objectives and research design ....................................................................... 8 Objectives........................................................................................................................ 8 Sample and sample selection........................................................................................... 8 Data sources .................................................................................................................... 9 Response rates ............................................................................................................... 11 Analysis strategy ........................................................................................................... 11

    Respondent characteristics ............................................................................ 12 Respondents .................................................................................................................. 12 Non-respondents............................................................................................................ 14

    Have the main goals of PRWORA been realized in Illinois?......................... 15 Work and welfare .......................................................................................................... 15 Reasons for TANF entries and exits ............................................................................. 23 Family formation........................................................................................................... 27

    Accomplishments thus far: How families are faring in Illinois five years after welfare reform.......................................................................................... 30

    Income and poverty....................................................................................................... 30 Job characteristics ..................

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