Ever since the welfare reform of the late 1990’s, greater attention has been paid to child-only welfare households. These are the households in which only the children are eligible to receive TANF funding, due the SSI or immigrant status of their parents or because they are living with non-parent relative caregivers.
Studies have begun to look at the specific problems facing these households. One by Dunifon, M. Hamilton, S. Hamilton, and Taylor (2004) looked specifically at these households across New York State and thus serves as a point of comparison for the findings of this study, which focus on a more specific, rural region of New York, Madison County. Findings indicate that child-only households are struggling economically even with government and community benefits, that the caretakers and children have severe health problems, and that the children are often struggling academically.
Recommendations include greater access to more extensive government/community resources, better educational tutoring and mentoring programs and more accessible extracurricular opportunities for children, and more educational programs for caregivers. In addition, further research concerning health problems, transportation availability, and reasons children are living with non-parent caregivers would be an important next step in addressing the specific needs of child-only households in Madison County and all of New York State.
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