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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: Allard, Scott
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Program accessibility and stability are critical components of any effort to cultivate greater capacity among faith-based and community-based social service organizations. Working poor populations are more likely to benefit from programs if they are nearby, easily accessible, and operate with consistency. Yet, we know very little about where faith-based service organizations (FBOs) and secular nonprofits are located, or whether certain types of providers exhibit more stability than others. Drawing on unique survey data on nonprofit service providers, this paper compares the characteristics of FBOs and secular organizations in several urban and rural communities. FBOs that integrate faith into service delivery and secular nonprofit organizations are more accessible to poor populations than FBOs that do not integrate religious elements into service provision. At the same time, I find that large percentages of FBOs and secular nonprofits experience funding volatility and program instability each year. (author abstract)

    Program accessibility and stability are critical components of any effort to cultivate greater capacity among faith-based and community-based social service organizations. Working poor populations are more likely to benefit from programs if they are nearby, easily accessible, and operate with consistency. Yet, we know very little about where faith-based service organizations (FBOs) and secular nonprofits are located, or whether certain types of providers exhibit more stability than others. Drawing on unique survey data on nonprofit service providers, this paper compares the characteristics of FBOs and secular organizations in several urban and rural communities. FBOs that integrate faith into service delivery and secular nonprofit organizations are more accessible to poor populations than FBOs that do not integrate religious elements into service provision. At the same time, I find that large percentages of FBOs and secular nonprofits experience funding volatility and program instability each year. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gurmu, Shiferaw; Ihlanfeldt, Keith R.; Smith, William J.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    We study the factors affecting the employment probability of temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) recipients using recent quarterly panel data from Atlanta, Georgia. A central focus of our study is to determine whether the TANF recipient's proximity to job opportunity and the availability of childcare affect her probability of full-time employment. Both static and dynamic models of employment choice are estimated that control for unobserved individual effects. We estimate models separately for a sub-sample of TANF recipients living in public housing, whose residential locations can be considered exogenously determined. We find substantial evidence that individuals and family characteristics (such as, the education of the recipient and the number of children and adults in her family) are important determinants of the employment probability of welfare recipients. On the other hand, location related variables are found to be relatively unimportant. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    We study the factors affecting the employment probability of temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) recipients using recent quarterly panel data from Atlanta, Georgia. A central focus of our study is to determine whether the TANF recipient's proximity to job opportunity and the availability of childcare affect her probability of full-time employment. Both static and dynamic models of employment choice are estimated that control for unobserved individual effects. We estimate models separately for a sub-sample of TANF recipients living in public housing, whose residential locations can be considered exogenously determined. We find substantial evidence that individuals and family characteristics (such as, the education of the recipient and the number of children and adults in her family) are important determinants of the employment probability of welfare recipients. On the other hand, location related variables are found to be relatively unimportant. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research.

  • Individual Author: Allard, Scott W.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    Several research questions emerge as we consider the challenges of administering social service programs to poor populations. Where do our communities provide assistance to poor and near-poor households? Do gaps or mismatches in access to social services exist in our communities? How do providers finance services for low-income populations and do these revenue streams shift frequently? How often do cuts in funding lead to instabilities or inconsistencies in service delivery?

    To begin to answer these questions, this chapter examines data from the Multi-City Survey of Social Service Providers (MSSSP) and the Rural Survey of Social Service Providers (RSSSP), which I conducted with social service providers helping low-income populations in three metropolitan areas and four multi-county rural sites respectively between November 2004 and June 2006. Working from a detailed database of service providers in each site, trained interviewers conducted over 2,200 telephone interviews with program managers and executive directors. Each survey contains detailed geographically-sensitive...

    Several research questions emerge as we consider the challenges of administering social service programs to poor populations. Where do our communities provide assistance to poor and near-poor households? Do gaps or mismatches in access to social services exist in our communities? How do providers finance services for low-income populations and do these revenue streams shift frequently? How often do cuts in funding lead to instabilities or inconsistencies in service delivery?

    To begin to answer these questions, this chapter examines data from the Multi-City Survey of Social Service Providers (MSSSP) and the Rural Survey of Social Service Providers (RSSSP), which I conducted with social service providers helping low-income populations in three metropolitan areas and four multi-county rural sites respectively between November 2004 and June 2006. Working from a detailed database of service providers in each site, trained interviewers conducted over 2,200 telephone interviews with program managers and executive directors. Each survey contains detailed geographically-sensitive information on services provided, clients served, funding, and organizational characteristics from a range of governmental, nonprofit, and faith-based social service providers.  

    This chapter will proceed as follows. First, I briefly present a history of the American safety net that explains how social service programs have become central components within our local safety nets. Next, I explain how the current service-based safety net is more sensitive to the spatial location of service agencies than is typically understood.  In addition, I discuss how funding for social service programs is less counter-cyclical and more volatile than aggregate federal expenditure data would suggest. Drawing upon data from the MSSSP and RSSSP, I explore social service provision within several different rural and urban settings.  In particular, I focus upon mismatches and instabilities within the provision of social service programs. Finally, I conclude by discussing the implications of a patchworked and volatile service-based safety net for future social welfare policymaking. (author introduction)

  • 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: Magnuson, Katherine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Does an increase in a welfare mother's education improve her young child's academic performance or behavior? Positive correlations between mothers' educational attainment and children's well being, particularly children's cognitive development and academic outcomes, are among the most replicated results from developmental studies. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the causal nature of this relationship. Because conventional regression approaches to estimating the effect of maternal schooling on child outcomes may be biased by omitted variables, this study uses experimentally induced differences in mothers' education to estimate instrumental variable (IV) models. Data come from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies Child Outcomes Study-an evaluation of mandatory welfare-to-work programs in which welfare recipients with young children were randomly assigned to either an education- or work-focused program group or to a control group that received no additional assistance. Findings suggest that increases in maternal education are positively associated with...

    Does an increase in a welfare mother's education improve her young child's academic performance or behavior? Positive correlations between mothers' educational attainment and children's well being, particularly children's cognitive development and academic outcomes, are among the most replicated results from developmental studies. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the causal nature of this relationship. Because conventional regression approaches to estimating the effect of maternal schooling on child outcomes may be biased by omitted variables, this study uses experimentally induced differences in mothers' education to estimate instrumental variable (IV) models. Data come from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies Child Outcomes Study-an evaluation of mandatory welfare-to-work programs in which welfare recipients with young children were randomly assigned to either an education- or work-focused program group or to a control group that received no additional assistance. Findings suggest that increases in maternal education are positively associated with children's academic school readiness, and negatively associated with mothers' reports of their children's academic problems, but with little to no effect on children's behavior. Analyses were not able to determine whether the benefits of maternal education persisted over time, although they were able to test whether mothers' returns to schooling during their children's preschool years were more beneficial than returns during later years. Weak evidence indicates that mothers' reentry into school when children are young will have a lasting effect on children's academic problems. (author abstract)

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