Eugenie Hildebrandt, PhD, RN, APRN-BC
A growing number of impoverished women have exhausted cash benefits from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the work-based welfare program. The purpose of this longitudinal narrative study is to gain in-depth understanding of the health, socio-cultural, and occupational experiences of women who have not been successful at becoming work-ready and employed through TANF. The specific aims are to: 1) Examine their job-related experiences over time following the loss of TANF cash benefits, 2) Examine their experiences accessing health and social services over time following the loss of TANF cash benefits, 3) Explore how women contend with social, economic, and health challenges that arise for them and their children over time, following the loss of TANF cash benefits, and 4) Analyze assets and constraints that women perceive in themselves, in their environments, and in the institutions that serve them, which may influence their capacity to care for and support themselves and their children. Long term goals of this program of study are to: a) contribute to a full understanding of the impact of welfare reform policy, and b) provide qualitative data-based evidence upon which to build interventions that are health protective of impoverished women and their children.
A repeated in-depth narrative interview design will be used to follow 40 women who have exhausted their 5-year lifetime limit of cash assistance from TANF. Each woman will be interviewed four times over a 12-month period. The primary analytic approach will be a multistage narrative analysis developed by the investigative team for application in longitudinal qualitative interview studies.Relevance This study will help policy makers as well as health and social service professionals understand the experiences of women who have not been successful in becoming work-ready and employed through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). Team members will explore what happens to these women and their families after leaving TANF, including their access to health and social services. This information can be used to help impoverished women achieve and maintain family health and independence.