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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Ferguson, Daniel
    Reference Type: White Papers
    Year: 2017

    This Research-to-Policy Resource List provides a comprehensive list of city universal preschool initiative evaluations and research in the Research Connections collection. To count as universal, a city's program must aim to eventually provide universal access to publicly-funded preschool for all four-year-olds using at least some city funds, even if it does not currently achieve universal access. Some well-known programs do not meet these criteria, either because they are the city-based implementation of a state universal preschool program (Tulsa, Oklahoma) or because they do not aim for universal access (Chicago's Child-Parent Centers; Salt Lake City, Utah). Cities with universal preschool programs were identified in recent reviews by the American Institutes for Research and the Rand Corporation, as well as in news reports. A number of city programs have not produced evaluations or research publications or are still in the planning or early implementation stages, including Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle, Washington; and West...

    This Research-to-Policy Resource List provides a comprehensive list of city universal preschool initiative evaluations and research in the Research Connections collection. To count as universal, a city's program must aim to eventually provide universal access to publicly-funded preschool for all four-year-olds using at least some city funds, even if it does not currently achieve universal access. Some well-known programs do not meet these criteria, either because they are the city-based implementation of a state universal preschool program (Tulsa, Oklahoma) or because they do not aim for universal access (Chicago's Child-Parent Centers; Salt Lake City, Utah). Cities with universal preschool programs were identified in recent reviews by the American Institutes for Research and the Rand Corporation, as well as in news reports. A number of city programs have not produced evaluations or research publications or are still in the planning or early implementation stages, including Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle, Washington; and West Sacramento, California. The city universal preschool initiatives that have produced research or evaluation publications and are included here are: Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Washington, District of Columbia. (Author abstract)

  • 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: 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: Shirk, Martha; Bennett, Neil G.; Aber, J. Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1999

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau...

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau data to show which American children are most likely to be poor. He reports, for instance, that over 60 percent of poor young children have at least one employed parent, that most poor young children live in suburban or rural areas, and that a parent's graduation from high school is insufficient to insure against poverty. Among his most startling findings are that in the last two decades, the Young Child Poverty Rate grew significantly faster in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, and that it grew much faster among whites than among blacks.

    J. Lawrence Aber, a nationally recognized expert in child development and social policy, describes the effects of poverty on child development and showcases proven strategies for preventing or reducing child poverty. He also shows us that it is in our national self-interest to address the problem of child poverty by making a smart investment in America's future.

    As a powerful portrait of the effects of poverty on America's children and families, Lives on the Line narrows the gap between “them” and “us.” It will change the way you think about the poor. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Helburn, Suzanne W.; Howes, Carollee
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1996

    This article summarizes what is known about the cost and quality of full-time child care in centers and family child care homes, and about parents' attention to quality in making child care choices. It relies primarily upon two recent studies which are among the first to collect detailed information about child care operating costs: the Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers study and the Economics of Family Child Care study. Results indicate that mediocre quality is the rule and that parents often do not choose quality settings for their children. At the present time, child care quality is only modestly related to the cost of providing services. In part, the modesty of this relationship reflects the low wages of child care staff, the availability of in-kind donations in the nonprofit sector, and the altruistic motivations of many providers that depress direct costs and the fees charged for child care. The article concludes with recommendations for future action: (1) launch consumer education efforts; (2) implement higher standards for child care at the state...

    This article summarizes what is known about the cost and quality of full-time child care in centers and family child care homes, and about parents' attention to quality in making child care choices. It relies primarily upon two recent studies which are among the first to collect detailed information about child care operating costs: the Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers study and the Economics of Family Child Care study. Results indicate that mediocre quality is the rule and that parents often do not choose quality settings for their children. At the present time, child care quality is only modestly related to the cost of providing services. In part, the modesty of this relationship reflects the low wages of child care staff, the availability of in-kind donations in the nonprofit sector, and the altruistic motivations of many providers that depress direct costs and the fees charged for child care. The article concludes with recommendations for future action: (1) launch consumer education efforts; (2) implement higher standards for child care at the state level; (3) avoid public policies that encourage people to become child care providers if they have no interest in such a career; (4) increase public and private investments in child care; and (5) develop the means to compensate child care workers as is appropriate for their levels of training, experience, and responsibility. (author abstract)

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