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Reproductive Health Provisions and Teen Requirements Survey

This is the survey the State Policy Documentation Project used to collect information on TANF issues relevant to reproductive health and teens.  The survey was completed by an independent policy advocate in each state (except Alaska) and DC.  A report based on the answers was sent to the state TANF agency for verification, and discrepancies were resolved by SPDP staff, using statute and regulations and through discussions with survey respondents and state agency staff.  Please note that SPDP information on Abstinence Education programs, as well as several topics on minor living arrangement, was collected directly from state agencies.


Please answer the survey based on written state policy. "Policy" refers to what is written in a statute, regulation or worker manual. Unless a question asks about practice, the answer should be based on your state’s written policy. If there are conflicts among a state’s written policies, then base your answer on the statute first, regulation second, and work manual last. Here are guidelines for what authority to use for your answers:

  • Answer the questions based on the most recent statute, regulations, and worker manuals.
  • When a recently enacted statute is in conflict with existing regulations (i.e, new regulations have not been promulgated), answer using the statute. When a statute gives an agency authority to issue regulations about a policy, but no new regulations have been promulgated, answer using existing regulations if they do not conflict with the new statute. For example, a statute may set out which minor teen parents may be allowed to live independently but leave all other aspects of the living arrangement provision to the agency's discretion. If the agency has not issued new rules, answer using the statute (for the allowance of the minor parent living arrangements) and the existing regulation, if applicable, (for other aspects of the minor parent living arrangement provisions). We would like the most recent policy, even if it less detailed in the statute than in the regulation.
  • If an issue is only addressed in a worker manual, use that for answering questions.

Table of Contents

Family Cap/Child Exclusion

Minor Living Arrangement

School/Training Participation Rules for Teens/Minors


Family Cap/Child Exclusion

The TANF block grant is silent on "family cap" or "child exclusion" policies under which a family's grant does not increase when a child is born into a family receiving cash assistance. Prior to passage of TANF, 22 states had family cap/child exclusion waivers. Since TANF some states may have enacted legislation related to "family cap" and others may have eliminated or changed an existing waiver policy.


1A. Has your state established a family cap provision?    Yes/No

If yes, proceed to question 1D.

1B. Has your state established a flat grant? Yes/No

1C. If yes, does the state (check and fill in all that apply):

(   )  provide the same flat grant amount to all families of all sizes

(   )  provide the same flat grant amount to families with 4 or fewer children

(   )  specify other flat grant provisions (please describe):

(   )  increase the flat grant for families with special needs or circumstances, e.g., TANF recipient families with children born as a result of rape or incest, etc. (please describe):

1D. When a child subject to the provision or flat grant is born, does the family receive:

(   )  no additional benefit

(   )  reduced benefit (please describe):

(   )  benefits in the form of vouchers given to the adult

(   )  benefits in the form of third party payees

(   )  other (please describe):

If the state has no family cap or child exclusion provision, proceed to Question 6A.


2A. Which groups are exempt from the family cap? Check all that apply and fill in the blanks where appropriate:

(   )  children born less than months after case opened

(   )  first born children of minor parents who are receiving TANF as children

(   )  children conceived between spells of assistance lasting month(s)

(   )  children conceived as a result of rape or incest

(   )  children conceived as a result of failed contraception

(   )  children who do not live with their biological parent. Describe any specified conditions:

(   )  children in families eligible for the Family Violence Option

(   )  other exemptions (please describe):

States set the age at which an adult is exempt from participation in a TANF work activity based on the age of the youngest child. Some states have a lower age at which activities are mandated for adults with an "excluded" child compared to adults without an "excluded" child.

2B. Does your state set a lower age that triggers work participation for families with "excluded" children?  Yes/No

2C. If yes, please describe:


3A. Are families subject to family cap (check all that apply and fill in the blanks where appropriate):

(   )  eligible for an additional earnings disregard earned by the adult (please indicate the dollar amount disregarded by the family cap): $

(   )  eligible for an additional earnings disregard earned by any children in the unit (please indicate the amount of the child earning disregard related to the family cap): $

(   )  allowed to retain more of the child support collected on behalf of a "capped" child than the amount "passed through" for other children.

3B. Are families subject to family cap:

(   )  referred to family planning services (please describe):

(   )  required to participate in family planning services (please describe):

(   )  prioritized for services such as training, work placement, child care (please describe):


4. Please indicate whether a family cap evaluation (check all that apply):

(   ) is underway in your state

(   ) is being funded by the state agency

(   ) is being funded by an agency other than the state agency

(   ) is being planned

(   ) is not being planned at this time

(   ) unknown


Minor Living Arrangement

States are precluded from providing assistance with federal TANF funds to an unmarried, minor (under age 18) custodial parent unless the minor teen lives with a parent, legal guardian or other adult relative; if such a living arrangement is not appropriate the state may require the minor teen parent to live in an adult supervised setting (e.g., "second chance home") and under limited circumstances may allow "independent living" by the minor teen. The law establishes that the state has an affirmative duty to assist in locating adult supervision for those minor teen parents in need of it.


14. Under state rules, is a minor teen parent eligible for TANF assistance if she lives (check all that apply):

(   ) with an adult relative or guardian other than her parents

(   ) with a supervisory adult

(   ) "independently" in an approved arrangement that is not supervised living

Assessment of Relatives

15A. Does state policy establish the circumstances under which a minor teen parent may be placed with adult supervision other than that of parent/guardian/adult relative?     Yes/No

15B. If yes, is adult supervision by non-relatives sought when (check all that apply):

(   ) there is concern about abuse/neglect by the minor teen parent's current caretaker

(   ) there is reported abuse/neglect by the minor teen parent=s current

(   ) caretaker

(   ) no parent/guardian/adult relative willing to be responsible for the minor

(   ) teen parent

(   ) no permanent housing available for the minor teen parent

(   ) there is housing overcrowding

(   ) there is alcohol and/or drug abuse by the minor teen parent=s current

(   ) caretaker

(   ) the minor teen parent is a runaway

(   ) other. Please describe:

Adult Supervision

16A. Which of the following is the state required to provide, according to state policy, to "assist" minor teen parents in locating an adult supervised living arrangement:

(   ) nothing established

(   ) state funded cash assistance during assessment period

(   ) case management

(   ) referral to child welfare

(   ) list of possible "second chance" homes

(   ) list of youth organizations that might help

(   ) nothing established

(   ) other. Describe:

Adult Supervised Settings

17A. Do state rules specify what types of adult supervised living arrangements are allowed? Yes/No

17B. If yes, do these include when minors (check all that apply):

(   ) live with a family through the foster care system

(   ) live in group home through the foster care system

(   ) live in group home

(   ) live with adult, non-relative

(   ) live with adult boyfriend

(   ) live with family of boyfriend

(   ) live independently and case is supervised by case manager

(   ) no formal policy available in any type of guidance

(   ) other. Describe:


18A. Does the state have policies that define when it is in the "best interest" to make an exception to the adult supervised living arrangement?    Yes/No

18B. If yes, which of the following can trigger a "best interest" exception:

(   ) No available supervised living arrangement slot

(   ) The minor is successfully living on her own

(   ) The minor is about to turn 18 years old

(   ) Other. Describe:

18C. When a minor is living "independently" does state policy require any interactions with the minor? [check all that apply]

(   ) specialized case management

(   ) required reporting by the minor to TANF or other agency

(   ) other. Please describe:

Head of Household

Under TANF, the state defines who is a "head of household." This definition is significant for a minor teen parent because if she is defined as a head of household the time-limit clock ticks.

19. Does state policy automatically consider a minor teen parent who lives in an adult supervised setting (e.g., a group or "second chance") as a head of household?  Yes/No

Grant Payments

Under state policy, when minor teen parents receive their own assistance:

20. Is a cash grant given to:

the teen directly

the parent

a supervisory adult

other. Describe:


School/Training Participation Rules for Teens/Minors

Under TANF, states are precluded from spending federal TANF funds on minor, unmarried, custodial teen parents (with a child 12 weeks of age or older) unless the minor participates in an educational activity or approved training program. Some states have placed similar restrictions on other students or have expanded the restrictions.


22A. Has your state established a teen parent TANF school/training requirement that applies to: (check and fill in one)

(   ) all single and married teen parents under years of age

(   ) all single teen parents under years of age

(   ) other. Describe:

22B. Has your state established for minors (non-parent) a TANF school/training requirement that applies to:

(   ) elementary school students

(   ) middle school students

(   ) high school students through age ____

22C. If your state's rules apply to both a teen parent group and a non-parent teen group, are the rules for measuring participation the same for both groups? (e.g. non-parent teens and teen parents are both required to meet the same attendance standard)     Yes/No

22D. If your state's rules apply to elementary and/or middle school age children (non-parents), are the rules for measuring participation the same as for teens? Yes/No

22E. Is the school/training requirement a measure of: (for each measure, check which age group applies)

(  )  Not applicable; no school/training requirements imposed

A school attendance standard must be met by:

Minor Teen Parents

All Teen Parents

All Teens (parents and non-parents)

Middle School Students

Elementary School Students

Certain grades in class work must be achieved by:

Minor Teen Parents

All Teen Parents

All Teens (parents and non-parents)

Middle School Students

Elementary School Students

Completion of the current grade must be achieved by:

Minor Teen Parents

All Teen Parents

All Teens (parents and non-parents)

Middle School Students

Elementary School Students

Other (describe):

"Other" applies to:
Minor Teen Parents

All Teen Parents

All Teens (parents and non-parents)

Middle School Students

Elementary School Students


23A. If your state's rules apply to both a teen parent group and a non-parent group, is the sanction structure the same for both groups?      Yes/No

23B. For teen parents, is the first sanction for failure to meet the requirement imposed as: (check all that apply)

a reduction in the family's grant. Please describe:

elimination of the family's grant.

a non-monetary sanction. Please describe:

23C. For teen parents, for how long is the first sanction imposed? (Check one.)

one month

until individual complies

other. Please describe:

23D. For teen parents, do sanctions escalate for subsequent infractions?    Yes/No

23E. If yes, describe:

23F. Do state policies require integrated case management between the welfare agency and the child welfare agency when a family known to the child welfare system might be subject to sanction? Check one:

(   ) for minor teen parents receiving TANF

(   ) for all teen parents receiving TANF

(   ) Other Coordination Activities:

23G. Does your state offer a monetary bonus to teen parents for: (describe where appropriate and indicate whether bonus applies to all teen parents or minor teen parents only)



Each Grade Completed:

GED Completion:




24A. Please indicate which exemptions apply to the state's TANF school/training requirements: (Mark with an X to indicate whether the exemption applies to minor parents only or to all teen parents and fill in ages where indicated in the Exemption column)


Exemption Minor Teen Parents Only All Teen Parents
Recipient is married



Recipient is employed full-time



Recipient cares for children under age



Recipient cares for children with disabilities



Recipient has been expelled from school



Recipient is over age and not expected to graduate by age



Recipient needs an alternative program that is not available



Recipient needs child care transportation that is not available



Other. Describe:




24B. When a custodial, minor teen parent is not participating in the school/training requirement, is that individual supported with state-only "maintenance of effort" funds?

Alternative Settings

25A. If a custodial, minor teen parent is not participating in activities leading to a high school diploma or its equivalent, the state can approve an alternative educational or training program. Has your state set criteria regarding eligibility for these alternatives?    Yes/No

25B. If yes, please describe (or attach criteria):

25C. What types of alternatives can be approved?

(   ) Mentoring programs

(   ) Youth employment training

(   ) Other, please describe:

25D. Does state policy require an assessment of an individual's need for alternative placement in education/training for: (Check all that apply.)

(   ) any individual having difficulty meeting the standard

(   ) any individual who already has dropped out

(   ) no state policy exists

25E. If assessments are conducted, are there criteria established through state policy which determine when an alternative placement is needed?      Yes/No

25F. Are these criteria set by:

(   ) state welfare agency

(   ) state education agency

(   ) local school district

(   ) local welfare agency

(   ) other, please describe:

Case Management

26A. Has the state spent additional funds to add case management capacity for working with teen parents subject to the education/training rules?      Yes/No

26B. Is additional case management provided under state policy: (check all that apply)

(   ) prior to sanctioning

(   ) after sanctioning

(   ) not at all

26C. Is case management provided under state policy to "retrieve" drop outs and enable them to participate in an alternative education/training activity? Yes/No


Prioritizing Teen Parent Status

27. Does state policy give teen parents who meet the school/training requirements for TANF priority for:

(   ) child care assistance

(   ) transportation assistance

(   ) specialized case management

(   ) other, please describe:


Welfare/Education Agency Interaction

28A. Under state law, is there an explicit role for the state education agency regarding the school/training requirement?       Yes/No

28B. If no, does the state welfare agency have rules indicating its explicit role regarding the school/training requirement?       Yes/No

28C. Are you aware of whether the state education agency been actively involved in: (check all that apply)

(   ) determining what is being measured (e.g. attendance vs. performance vs. other measure)

(   ) designing procedures for reaching those who have already dropped out

(   ) assessing students for alternative placements

(   ) designing new alternative placements for TANF youth

(   ) other. Please describe:

(   ) not aware of any activity


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This page last updated September 02, 2023

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