Donna Ginther

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Nicolas Hérault

nherault@unimelb.edu.au

Title: Do State TANF Policies Affect Child Abuse and Neglect?

Abstract: Child maltreatment is a costly public health problem that contributes to morbidity and mortality in childhood with consequences that persist into adulthood. Correlations between low income and child abuse and neglect have been observed consistently over the past four decades. However, few studies have examined the relation of social safety net policies to child maltreatment using causal methods. In this study, we examine whether changes in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) cash-assistance program affected child maltreatment rates from 2004-2015 using difference-in-difference models. We find that TANF restrictions implemented by states increased victims of child maltreatment as well as foster care placements. Results underscore the consequences of federal block grant policies that give states wide discretion in determining the extent of the social safety net.

Presenter: Donna Ginther, University of Kansas

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