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July 14 -- The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing to collect data to explore how one state's changes to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were experienced by different racial and ethnic groups in that state. The goal is to obtain an in-depth understanding of how TANF participants of different racial and ethnic backgrounds experienced these policy and programmatic changes by comparing those experiences within one state, and to assess whether those changes may have helped to ameliorate challenges around program and benefit access for different populations or potentially created new challenges. Comments are due by September 12, 2022.

The Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services Analysis Execution project is proposing to collect information for a qualitative study to explore how families of different ethnic and racial backgrounds have experienced changes that one state made to TANF policies and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will explore policies such as job-search and other participation requirements, virtual resources and services, and the provision of tablet computers to TANF participants. We will collect information at the state level and from three purposively selected sites in one state, selected to represent the racial and ethnic diversity within the state. The state-level data collection will include (1) TANF program administrators and (2) representatives from the program partnering with the state in the provision of tablet computers to TANF program participants. Information collection at each of the three sites will include semi-structured interviews or focus groups with: (1) TANF program administrators, frontline staff, and participants; and (2) community partner organizations that serve TANF-eligible families and individuals served by those organizations. Site visits will be conducted in-person or virtually, depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of the site visits.

This study is part of a larger project to help ACF identify racial and ethnic disparities related to the delivery of human services.

This study is intended to present an internally-valid description of how different racial and ethnic groups experience TANF policies, practices, and service delivery in one state at selected sites, not to promote statistical generalization to other sites or service populations.

Respondents: (1) State and regional TANF agency administrators, (2) TANF frontline staff at the site-level, (3) staff at community agencies that serve TANF-eligible families, (4) staff from the computer tablet program and from program partner organizations, (5) TANF participants, (6) tablet program participants, and (7) individuals who are eligible for TANF but not enrolled.

Draft data collection instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fg6unpy0c2a1zts/AACCfhNCjT8Nz44P4k8VnKAza?dl=0  
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-15057

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