New TANF Data Measures Bolster a More Concrete Evaluation of Education Risk Factors

Washington State’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides financial assistance to low-income families and supports employment and economic self-sufficiency among parents. The state’s TANF program, WorkFirst, underwent a redesign in 2010 to focus on the needs of the whole family. Part of this redesign included a cross-agency workgroup overhauling the program’s performance measures and adding three new measures: K-12 enrollment, grade progression, and on-time high school graduation. The INVEST database, created in partnership with the Education Research and Data Center (ERDC), aids in investigating housing and behavioral health risk factors as areas that may affect these education measures. A more aggregate dataset proves essential in examining the academic performance and relevant factors of TANF clients.

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