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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: Center for Applied Behavioral Science
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    To explore further the potential of behavioral science to improve social programs, the federal government’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has launched some of the broadest and most rigorous applied behavioral science projects yet: Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS), Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS), and BIAS Next Generation. The Center for Applied Behavioral Science, a unit of the social policy research firm MDRC, is leading evaluation and technical assistance for all these projects, which are funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation and the Office of Child Support Enforcement, both at ACF within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What follows is a discussion of some of the findings from the research so far. (Author abstract)

    To explore further the potential of behavioral science to improve social programs, the federal government’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has launched some of the broadest and most rigorous applied behavioral science projects yet: Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS), Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS), and BIAS Next Generation. The Center for Applied Behavioral Science, a unit of the social policy research firm MDRC, is leading evaluation and technical assistance for all these projects, which are funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation and the Office of Child Support Enforcement, both at ACF within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What follows is a discussion of some of the findings from the research so far. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Gennetian, Lisa; Morris, Pamela
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This article contributes to the literature on parental self-sufficiency and child well-being in two ways. First, we bring a novel interdisciplinary perspective to formulating hypotheses about the pathways by which policy-induced changes in the environments in which children are embedded, both within and outside the home, facilitate or harm children’s development. These hypotheses help to organize the contradictory assertions regarding child impacts that have surrounded the debate over welfare reform. Second, we draw on a set of policy experiments to understand the effects of reforms targeting parents’ self-sufficiency on both parents and their children. The random-assignment design of these evaluations provides an unusually strong basis for identifying conditions under which policy-induced increases in employment among low-income and mostly single parents can help or hurt young children’s achievement. (Author introduction)

    This article contributes to the literature on parental self-sufficiency and child well-being in two ways. First, we bring a novel interdisciplinary perspective to formulating hypotheses about the pathways by which policy-induced changes in the environments in which children are embedded, both within and outside the home, facilitate or harm children’s development. These hypotheses help to organize the contradictory assertions regarding child impacts that have surrounded the debate over welfare reform. Second, we draw on a set of policy experiments to understand the effects of reforms targeting parents’ self-sufficiency on both parents and their children. The random-assignment design of these evaluations provides an unusually strong basis for identifying conditions under which policy-induced increases in employment among low-income and mostly single parents can help or hurt young children’s achievement. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Collard, Carol S.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    Securing adequate housing is a key component in achieving family well-being and a decent quality of life. It is expected that as many as twenty percent of the families currently on welfare, many of whom are disproportionately female and African American, may not be employable by the end of their lifetime benefit. These families, classified as “hard-to-serve” or “hard-to-employ,” are headed by an adult who may be struggling with substance abuse, physical or mental health problems, as well as low literacy and social competency issues that inhibit achieving self-sufficiency. This author will examine existing literature on welfare-dependent households coping with substance abuse and mental health problems, and how the lack of affordable housing impacts their ability to achieve self-sufficiency. This article presents a case study of Delowe Village Apartments, a supportive housing development in Georgia that combines the provision of social services with affordable housing. (author abstract)

    Securing adequate housing is a key component in achieving family well-being and a decent quality of life. It is expected that as many as twenty percent of the families currently on welfare, many of whom are disproportionately female and African American, may not be employable by the end of their lifetime benefit. These families, classified as “hard-to-serve” or “hard-to-employ,” are headed by an adult who may be struggling with substance abuse, physical or mental health problems, as well as low literacy and social competency issues that inhibit achieving self-sufficiency. This author will examine existing literature on welfare-dependent households coping with substance abuse and mental health problems, and how the lack of affordable housing impacts their ability to achieve self-sufficiency. This article presents a case study of Delowe Village Apartments, a supportive housing development in Georgia that combines the provision of social services with affordable housing. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zaslow, Martha J. ; Moore, Kristin A.; Brooks, Jennifer L.; Morris, Pamela A.; Tout, Kathryn; Redd, Zakia A.; Emig, Carol A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    Even prior to passage of federal welfare reform, many demonstration programs anticipated key features of the 1996 law, such as "work-first" strategies, time limits on welfare receipt, and financial incentives to work. Over the past decade, 10 experimental evaluations of these programs have extended their studies to examine the impacts on children. This article provides a synthesis of findings from the first seven of these studies to release results concerning child impacts. Key observations include the following:

    • Across the different types of welfare-to-work programs examined, researchers found neither widespread harm nor widespread benefit to young children, but some significant impacts did occur.
    • Favorable impacts tended to occur in programs that improved family economic status or maternal education, but these programs still did not bring children to the level of national norms for positive child development.
    • Unfavorable impacts tended to occur when families did not show economic progress or when their economic situation worsened, when the children...

    Even prior to passage of federal welfare reform, many demonstration programs anticipated key features of the 1996 law, such as "work-first" strategies, time limits on welfare receipt, and financial incentives to work. Over the past decade, 10 experimental evaluations of these programs have extended their studies to examine the impacts on children. This article provides a synthesis of findings from the first seven of these studies to release results concerning child impacts. Key observations include the following:

    • Across the different types of welfare-to-work programs examined, researchers found neither widespread harm nor widespread benefit to young children, but some significant impacts did occur.
    • Favorable impacts tended to occur in programs that improved family economic status or maternal education, but these programs still did not bring children to the level of national norms for positive child development.
    • Unfavorable impacts tended to occur when families did not show economic progress or when their economic situation worsened, when the children were adolescents, and - unexpectedly - when the families were believed to be at lower risk for long-term welfare receipt.

    Thus, although impacts were not widespread, these programs did have the potential to affect children for both better and worse across a range of developmental outcomes. The authors conclude that these findings underscore the importance of strengthening program approaches to enhance developmental outcomes for children in families being served by the welfare system. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Blank, Susan; Riccio, James A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    If you are a welfare recipient living in public housing, are you less likely than other recipients to succeed in the labor market or to benefit from government welfare-to-work programs?

    Recent research by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) indicates that while recipients in public housing may be a more difficult-to-employ group in some locales, they may also benefit the most from mainstream welfare-to-work programs. It examines the evidence and its implications for policymakers. This policy brief was written by Susan Blank and James Riccio. It is based on an unpublished MDRC paper, written by James Riccio and Alan Orenstein, “Are Welfare Recipients in Public Housing Really Harder to Employ?” (2000). The study was supported by a grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation and the resources provided by the funders of the Jobs-Plus demonstration. This brief is one of a series on findings from the Jobs-Plus demonstration and related research.

    These findings open questions that need further exploration, but they strongly suggest that public officials ought...

    If you are a welfare recipient living in public housing, are you less likely than other recipients to succeed in the labor market or to benefit from government welfare-to-work programs?

    Recent research by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) indicates that while recipients in public housing may be a more difficult-to-employ group in some locales, they may also benefit the most from mainstream welfare-to-work programs. It examines the evidence and its implications for policymakers. This policy brief was written by Susan Blank and James Riccio. It is based on an unpublished MDRC paper, written by James Riccio and Alan Orenstein, “Are Welfare Recipients in Public Housing Really Harder to Employ?” (2000). The study was supported by a grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation and the resources provided by the funders of the Jobs-Plus demonstration. This brief is one of a series on findings from the Jobs-Plus demonstration and related research.

    These findings open questions that need further exploration, but they strongly suggest that public officials ought to make housing status a key consideration in developing strategies to strengthen mainstream welfare-to-work programs. They also indicate that special efforts may be required in order to promote big improvements in the self-sufficiency of welfare recipients in public housing. (author abstract)

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