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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: Mellgren, Linda; McKay, Tasseli; Landwehr, Justin; Bir, Anupa; Helburn, Amy; Lindquist, Christine; Krieger, Kate
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    A father’s incarceration can represent a serious threat to economic stability for his children and family, yet little is known about earnings and child support payments among justice-involved men over the course of incarceration and release. This brief presents findings on pre- and post-incarceration wages and child support participation in the five impact sites of the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP). This analysis matches MFS-IP survey data with state administrative data on wages and child support participation to examine this gap. We find that most of men in the study and their partners were involved with the child support system; the majority had at least one child support case for one or more of their children. And, child support arrears often increased substantially during incarceration. With regard to earnings, the findings suggest that pre- and post-incarceration earnings were not sufficient to avoid poverty. (Author abstract)

    A father’s incarceration can represent a serious threat to economic stability for his children and family, yet little is known about earnings and child support payments among justice-involved men over the course of incarceration and release. This brief presents findings on pre- and post-incarceration wages and child support participation in the five impact sites of the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP). This analysis matches MFS-IP survey data with state administrative data on wages and child support participation to examine this gap. We find that most of men in the study and their partners were involved with the child support system; the majority had at least one child support case for one or more of their children. And, child support arrears often increased substantially during incarceration. With regard to earnings, the findings suggest that pre- and post-incarceration earnings were not sufficient to avoid poverty. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schneider, Daniel ; Harknett, Kristen; McLanahan, Sara
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship. (Author abstract)

    In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Lindquist, Christine; Steffey, Danielle; Tueller, Stephen; McKay, Tasseli; Bir, Anupa; Feinberg, Rose; Ramirez, Derek
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    This report presents findings on the impact of couples-based family strengthening services in four prison-based programs from the Multi-Site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP) and discusses the implications for policy, programs, and future research. In one of the four grantee programs, the low-dosage healthy relationship retreat had sustained positive effects on multiple partnership and parenting relationship outcomes for a low-income, justice-involved population. This evaluation attempted to isolate the impacts of relatively low-dosage couples programming. Considering the weak and non-significant findings in three of the four grantee sites, it may be that more robust and comprehensive interventions may be necessary to address the complex needs of low-income, justice-involved families. (Author abstract)

    This report presents findings on the impact of couples-based family strengthening services in four prison-based programs from the Multi-Site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP) and discusses the implications for policy, programs, and future research. In one of the four grantee programs, the low-dosage healthy relationship retreat had sustained positive effects on multiple partnership and parenting relationship outcomes for a low-income, justice-involved population. This evaluation attempted to isolate the impacts of relatively low-dosage couples programming. Considering the weak and non-significant findings in three of the four grantee sites, it may be that more robust and comprehensive interventions may be necessary to address the complex needs of low-income, justice-involved families. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: McKay, Tasseli; Lindquist, Christine; Corwin, Elise; Bir, Anupa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    The Evaluation of the Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and their Partners (MFS-IP) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) activities to support healthy marriage, responsible fatherhood, and successful re-entry from incarceration. Twelve grantees received funding for five years (2006-2011) from the Office of Family Assistance within the Administration for Children and Families to implement multiple activities to support and sustain marriages and families of fathers during and after incarceration. Grantees also provided reentry services; parenting services, including visitation during incarceration; and education and employment services during and after incarceration.

    While incarceration takes a huge toll on families and children, research suggests that supportive families and positive marital/partner relationships are important for promoting positive adaptation for children of the incarcerated and for preventing subsequent criminal involvement among reintegrating prisoners. To evaluate the overall...

    The Evaluation of the Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and their Partners (MFS-IP) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) activities to support healthy marriage, responsible fatherhood, and successful re-entry from incarceration. Twelve grantees received funding for five years (2006-2011) from the Office of Family Assistance within the Administration for Children and Families to implement multiple activities to support and sustain marriages and families of fathers during and after incarceration. Grantees also provided reentry services; parenting services, including visitation during incarceration; and education and employment services during and after incarceration.

    While incarceration takes a huge toll on families and children, research suggests that supportive families and positive marital/partner relationships are important for promoting positive adaptation for children of the incarcerated and for preventing subsequent criminal involvement among reintegrating prisoners. To evaluate the overall effectiveness of the MFS-IP grantees, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), awarded a contract to RTI to conduct an implementation evaluation as well as a multi-site, longitudinal, impact evaluation of selected grantees.

    The specific objectives of the MFS-IP evaluation are: (1) to describe the 12 programs on a number of dimensions including program history and context, type of grantee organization, target population, intervention strategies, and program design; (2) to describe program implementation, challenges, successes, and lessons learned; (3) to determine the impact of these diverse programs on outcomes such as marital stability, positive family interactions, family financial well-being, and recidivism; and (4) to identify the mediation mechanisms (or primary pathways) through which these programs achieve success.

    The implementation and impact evaluation, conducted over a ten-year period, includes on-site data collection regarding program implementation and a longitudinal survey data collection effort to study the effect of program participation in comparison with comparable individuals not participating in the MFS-IP programs. The study also has a qualitative data collection component. This evaluation adds to research, policy, and practice by helping to determine what types of programs work best for those involved in the criminal justice system, what does not work, and what effects these programs may have on fostering healthy marriages, families, and children.

    This report presents detailed implementation findings from the MFS-IP evaluation. The report provides information on program design, organizational partnerships, recruitment and participation, program components, service delivery strategies, post-funding sustainability and key lessons from the field operations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Moore, Quinn; Clarkwest, Andrew; Killewald, Alexandra; Monahan, Shannon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation assessed the impacts of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy marriage and relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child.  While many unmarried parents live together when their children are born, their relationships are often tenuous and most end within a few years of the child’s birth. Research suggests that children do better when raised by both of their parents in healthy environments.  The BSF program model included curricula-based group workshops on relationship skills; individual support from family coordinators; and assessment and referral to other needed services. The key question addressed through the BSF evaluation is whether the interventions improved the quality of unmarried parents’ relationships, increased the likelihood that they remained together, and improved the well-being of children. This report presents final impact results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.  A separate technical supplement...

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation assessed the impacts of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy marriage and relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child.  While many unmarried parents live together when their children are born, their relationships are often tenuous and most end within a few years of the child’s birth. Research suggests that children do better when raised by both of their parents in healthy environments.  The BSF program model included curricula-based group workshops on relationship skills; individual support from family coordinators; and assessment and referral to other needed services. The key question addressed through the BSF evaluation is whether the interventions improved the quality of unmarried parents’ relationships, increased the likelihood that they remained together, and improved the well-being of children. This report presents final impact results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.  A separate technical supplement details the analytic approaches and includes additional analyses. (author abstract)

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