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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Lee, Hedwig; Andrew, Megan; Gebremariam, Achamyeleh; Lumeng, Julie C.; Lee, Joyce M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2014

    Objectives. We examined the relationship between timing of poverty and risk of first-incidence obesity from ages 3 to 15.5 years. Methods. We used the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (1991–2007) to study 1150 children with repeated measures of income, weight, and height from birth to 15.5 years in 10 US cities. Our dependent variable was the first incidence of obesity (body mass index ≥ 95th percentile). We measured poverty (income-to-needs ratio < 2) prior to age 2 years and a lagged, time-varying measure of poverty between ages 2 and 12 years. We estimated discrete-time hazard models of the relative risk of first transition to obesity. Results. Poverty prior to age 2 years was associated with risk of obesity by age 15.5 years in fully adjusted models. These associations did not vary by gender. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that there are enduring associations between early life poverty and adolescent obesity. This stage in the life course may serve as a critical...

    Objectives. We examined the relationship between timing of poverty and risk of first-incidence obesity from ages 3 to 15.5 years. Methods. We used the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (1991–2007) to study 1150 children with repeated measures of income, weight, and height from birth to 15.5 years in 10 US cities. Our dependent variable was the first incidence of obesity (body mass index ≥ 95th percentile). We measured poverty (income-to-needs ratio < 2) prior to age 2 years and a lagged, time-varying measure of poverty between ages 2 and 12 years. We estimated discrete-time hazard models of the relative risk of first transition to obesity. Results. Poverty prior to age 2 years was associated with risk of obesity by age 15.5 years in fully adjusted models. These associations did not vary by gender. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that there are enduring associations between early life poverty and adolescent obesity. This stage in the life course may serve as a critical period for both poverty and obesity prevention.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Social policy evaluations usually use classical statistical methods, which may, for example, compare outcomes for program and comparison groups and determine whether the estimated differences (or impacts) are statistically significant — meaning they are unlikely to have been generated by a program with no effect. This approach has two important shortcomings. First, it is geared toward testing hypotheses regarding specific possible program effects — most commonly, whether a program has zero effect. It is difficult with this framework to test a hypothesis that, say, the program’s estimated impact is larger than 10 (whether 10 percentage points, $10, or some other measure). Second, readers often view results through the lens of their own expectations. A program developer may interpret results positively even if they are not statistically significant — that is, they do not confirm the program’s effectiveness — while a skeptic might interpret with caution statistically significant impact estimates that do not follow theoretical expectations.

    This paper uses Bayesian methods —...

    Social policy evaluations usually use classical statistical methods, which may, for example, compare outcomes for program and comparison groups and determine whether the estimated differences (or impacts) are statistically significant — meaning they are unlikely to have been generated by a program with no effect. This approach has two important shortcomings. First, it is geared toward testing hypotheses regarding specific possible program effects — most commonly, whether a program has zero effect. It is difficult with this framework to test a hypothesis that, say, the program’s estimated impact is larger than 10 (whether 10 percentage points, $10, or some other measure). Second, readers often view results through the lens of their own expectations. A program developer may interpret results positively even if they are not statistically significant — that is, they do not confirm the program’s effectiveness — while a skeptic might interpret with caution statistically significant impact estimates that do not follow theoretical expectations.

    This paper uses Bayesian methods — an alternative to classical statistics — to reanalyze results from three studies in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency for low-income adults with serious barriers to employment. In interpreting new data from a social policy evaluation, a Bayesian analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs, or expectations (known as "priors"), about the social policy into the statistical analysis and characterizes results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, instead of whether the effects are consistent with a true effect of zero.

    The main question addressed in the paper is whether a Bayesian approach tends to confirm or contradict published results. Results of the Bayesian analysis generally confirm the published findings that impacts from the three HtE programs examined here tend to be small. This is in part because results for the three sites are broadly consistent with findings from similar studies, but in part because each of the sites included a relatively large sample. The Bayesian framework may be more informative when applied to smaller studies that might not be expected to provide statistically significant impact estimates on their own. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Butler, David; Alson, Julianna; Bloom, Dan; Deitch, Victoria; Hill, Aaron; Hsueh, JoAnn; Jacobs, Erin; Kim, Sue; McRoberts, Reanin; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three...

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three — large-scale programs that provided temporary, subsidized "transitional" jobs to facilitate entry into the workforce for long-term welfare recipients in one program and for ex-prisoners in the other — produced only short-term gains in employment, driven mainly by the transitional jobs themselves. The third one — a welfare-to-work program that provided unpaid work experience, job placement, and education services to recipients with health conditions — had longer-term gains, increasing employment and reducing the amount of cash assistance received over four years. Promising findings were also observed in other sites. An early-childhood development program that was combined with services to boost parents’ self-sufficiency increased employment and earnings for a subgroup of the study participants and increased the use of high-quality child care; the program for ex-prisoners mentioned above decreased recidivism; and an intervention for low-income parents with depression produced short-term increases in the use of in-person treatment. But other programs — case management services for low-income substance abusers and two employment strategies for welfare recipients — revealed no observed impacts.

    While these results are mixed, some directions for future research on the hard-to-employ emerged:

    • The findings from the evaluations of transitional jobs programs have influenced the design of two new federal subsidized employment initiatives, which are seeking to test approaches that may achieve longer-lasting effects.
    • The HtE evaluation illustrates some key challenges that early childhood education programs may face when adding self-sufficiency services for parents, and provides important lessons for implementation that can guide future two-generational programs for low-income parents and their young children.
    • Results from the HtE evaluation suggest future strategies for enhancing and adapting an intervention to help parents with depression that may benefit low-income populations.
    • Evidence from the HtE evaluation of employment strategies for welfare recipients along with other research indicates that combining work-focused strategies with treatment or services may be more promising than using either strategy alone, especially for people with disabilities and behavioral health problems.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bloom, Dan; Redcross, Cindy; Hsueh, JoAnn; Rich, Sarah; Martin, Vanessa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    In the post-welfare reform world, an important policy question has taken new prominence: how to improve employment prospects for the millions of Americans who face serious obstacles to steady work. These individuals, including long-term welfare recipients, people with disabilities, those with health or behavioral health problems, and former prisoners, often become trapped in costly public assistance and enforcement systems and find themselves living in poverty, outside the mainstream in a society that prizes work and self-sufficiency. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the Department of Labor, is evaluating four diverse strategies designed to improve employment and other outcomes for low-income parents and others who face serious barriers to employment. (Author abstract)

    In the post-welfare reform world, an important policy question has taken new prominence: how to improve employment prospects for the millions of Americans who face serious obstacles to steady work. These individuals, including long-term welfare recipients, people with disabilities, those with health or behavioral health problems, and former prisoners, often become trapped in costly public assistance and enforcement systems and find themselves living in poverty, outside the mainstream in a society that prizes work and self-sufficiency. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the Department of Labor, is evaluating four diverse strategies designed to improve employment and other outcomes for low-income parents and others who face serious barriers to employment. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care compared 3 statistical methods that adjust for family selection bias to test whether child care type and quality relate to cognitive and academic skills. The methods included: multiple regression models of 54-month outcomes, change models of differences in 24- and 54-month outcomes, and residualized change models of 54-month outcomes adjusting for the 24-month outcome. The study was unable to establish empirically which model best adjusted for selection and omitted-variable bias. Nevertheless, results suggested that child care quality predicted cognitive outcomes at 54 months, with effect sizes of .04 to .08 for both infant and preschool ages. Center care during preschool years also predicted outcomes across all models. (Author abstract)

    The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care compared 3 statistical methods that adjust for family selection bias to test whether child care type and quality relate to cognitive and academic skills. The methods included: multiple regression models of 54-month outcomes, change models of differences in 24- and 54-month outcomes, and residualized change models of 54-month outcomes adjusting for the 24-month outcome. The study was unable to establish empirically which model best adjusted for selection and omitted-variable bias. Nevertheless, results suggested that child care quality predicted cognitive outcomes at 54 months, with effect sizes of .04 to .08 for both infant and preschool ages. Center care during preschool years also predicted outcomes across all models. (Author abstract)

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