Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Data Innovation Project (2017-2024)


The TANF Data Innovation (TDI) project is a national initiative that aims to expand the routine use, integration, and analysis of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and employment data to improve outcomes for families and program administration. It is jointly funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) and Office of Family Assistance (OFA) of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Since 2018, Coleridge has partnered with MDRC, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) at the University of Pennsylvania to build TANF agency staff capacity at the state and federal levels of government through a multidimensional approach that includes training, technical assistance, a pilot, coaching, and data infrastructure upgrades. Coleridge has been involved in the TANF Data Collaborative (TDC) and the TANF Employment Project (TEP) components of the TDI project.

Challenges & Objectives

The goal of the TDC was to strengthen the state TANF data infrastructure by providing staff at state and local agencies with funding, technical assistance, and training on topics related to TANF data use.

On the other hand, TEP focuses on improving the federal TANF data infrastructure by matching federally reported TANF data with quarterly wage, new hire, and unemployment claims data from the ACF Office of Child Support Services’ National Directory of New Hires (NDNH).

Process & Work

For the TEP, Coleridge works closely with MDRC and Chapin Hall to document and host linked TANF data with employment data from the NDNH and to generate a package of descriptive reports that will allow TANF agencies and researchers to gain a deeper knowledge of TANF programs and the employment outcomes of TANF recipients. 

Regarding TDC, Coleridge successfully led three Applied Data Analytics courses that trained professionals at TANF agencies to develop data science skills to work with TANF and employment data. With the TDC successfully concluded in 2022, Coleridge continues to partner with MDRC, Chapin Hall, and AISP on TDC 2.0 which focuses on equity framework.