The Impact of Foster Care and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on Women's Drug Treatment Outcomes

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Children and Youth Services Review


TANF, foster care, drug treatment program


This study assesses the impact of having a child in foster care and receiving cash benefits through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on women's completion of a residential drug treatment program. The study's hypothesis was that drug treatment completion rates for women who had children in foster care and/or who were receiving TANF would differ from women who did not receive these services. The sample included 117 women age 19 to 54, in a Midwestern state. Findings suggest that women with a child or children in foster care were less likely to complete treatment. Women receiving cash benefits were also somewhat less likely to complete treatment than women not receiving these services. Women with children in foster care had similar levels of psychological, employment, and drug and alcohol concerns as other women, as measured by the Addiction Severity Index. Future research should focus on identifying strategies that enhance retention rates of these vulnerable women. Implications for improving treatment retention are discussed in light of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

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