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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: Sandstrom, Heather; Chaudry, Ajay
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Regardless of their economic background, most working parents face the task of arranging childcare at some point. The decision-making process they experience is often complex, and this complexity is intensified for particular groups of families with limited financial and social resources. In this paper, we present findings from a three-year qualitative study of the childcare choices of low-income working families, many of whom were immigrants, had limited English proficiency, were parents of children with special needs, or represented some combination of these factors. The study explored families’ current care arrangements, their reasons for selecting a particular form of childcare, and the characteristics of their ideal arrangements. Data were coded to identify themes in parental preferences, decision factors, and the barriers families faced in accessing their preferred care arrangements. Most significantly, the parents studied described their preferences for an environment where their children could learn and be in the presence of caring and trustworthy caregivers. About a...

    Regardless of their economic background, most working parents face the task of arranging childcare at some point. The decision-making process they experience is often complex, and this complexity is intensified for particular groups of families with limited financial and social resources. In this paper, we present findings from a three-year qualitative study of the childcare choices of low-income working families, many of whom were immigrants, had limited English proficiency, were parents of children with special needs, or represented some combination of these factors. The study explored families’ current care arrangements, their reasons for selecting a particular form of childcare, and the characteristics of their ideal arrangements. Data were coded to identify themes in parental preferences, decision factors, and the barriers families faced in accessing their preferred care arrangements. Most significantly, the parents studied described their preferences for an environment where their children could learn and be in the presence of caring and trustworthy caregivers. About a third of the families said they preferred relatives as caregivers, and selected relatives to provide childcare. Other parents selected care according to cost, location, and availability of the provider; they described the challenges of locating affordable, high-quality care that met their nonstandard schedules. These findings have important implications for childcare policy. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Chaudry, Ajay; Pedroza, Juan M.; Sandstrom, Heather; Danzinger, Anna; Grosz, Michel; Scott, Molly; Ting, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    This research report presents the findings from a qualitative study of the child care choices of low-income working families in two urban communities.  Participants included 86 parents with young children, many of whom were immigrants, English language learners, or parents of children with special needs.  We discuss the key themes and variations in family experiences, giving particular attention to parental preferences and the factors that influenced their decisions, within the contexts of their employment and the early care and education programs in their communities.  We conclude with policy recommendations that can promote parental access to affordable and high quality care. (author abstract)

    This research report presents the findings from a qualitative study of the child care choices of low-income working families in two urban communities.  Participants included 86 parents with young children, many of whom were immigrants, English language learners, or parents of children with special needs.  We discuss the key themes and variations in family experiences, giving particular attention to parental preferences and the factors that influenced their decisions, within the contexts of their employment and the early care and education programs in their communities.  We conclude with policy recommendations that can promote parental access to affordable and high quality care. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Abt Associates, Inc.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    In 1995, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Jobs Initiative, a $30-million investment over eight years in six cities to help disadvantaged, low-skilled workers secure jobs earning family-supporting wages. As the Jobs Initiative unfolded, issues quickly arose demonstrating that race, ethnicity and cultural perspectives mattered for job seekers, employers and others – particularly workforce development organizations-involved in connecting these two groups. To share what the Jobs Initiative sites were learning about how these issues emerged in workforce development, the Foundation published Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race (2001), a report which offers a perspective about how to think, talk and act about the complexity of race and regional labor markets, particularly for low-skilled workers. Since that report, the Jobs Initiative experience illustrates that issues of race, ethnicity and culture arise along every point on the continuum of workforce development. Paying attention to these issues enhances the likelihood that workforce development efforts will achieve their...

    In 1995, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Jobs Initiative, a $30-million investment over eight years in six cities to help disadvantaged, low-skilled workers secure jobs earning family-supporting wages. As the Jobs Initiative unfolded, issues quickly arose demonstrating that race, ethnicity and cultural perspectives mattered for job seekers, employers and others – particularly workforce development organizations-involved in connecting these two groups. To share what the Jobs Initiative sites were learning about how these issues emerged in workforce development, the Foundation published Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race (2001), a report which offers a perspective about how to think, talk and act about the complexity of race and regional labor markets, particularly for low-skilled workers. Since that report, the Jobs Initiative experience illustrates that issues of race, ethnicity and culture arise along every point on the continuum of workforce development. Paying attention to these issues enhances the likelihood that workforce development efforts will achieve their desired results. Those involved in the Jobs Initiative know firsthand that these issues merit attention not only because of what they have learned but because these are timely issues worldwide. As the world economy becomes more global and as the U.S. becomes increasingly ethnically diverse, the world of work is changing. The demographics of America’s workforce historically have influenced the structure and evolution of this nation’s economy. Today, as the nation’s ethnic minority population grows, it is virtually impossible to overlook or ignore issues of race, ethnicity and culture, especially if workforce development efforts aimed at supporting low-skilled, entry-level workers are to succeed. By sharing lessons learned, the Jobs Initiative seeks again to contribute to a wider discourse about how to strengthen the success of America’s workforce by acknowledging and using to everyone’s advantage diverse racial, ethnic and cultural perspectives. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Tumlin, Karen; Koralek, Robin; Capps, Randy; Zuberi, Anita
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    This report explores one key dimension of access to public benefits—the application and eligibility determination process. Of particular interest is how local-level administrative procedures and operations may generally affect eligible families' access to benefits. Special consideration is given to exploring these issues as they relate to immigrants and limited English speakers.

    The four major public benefits programs examined in this study are Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The findings presented are primarily based on site visits conducted between June 2001 and December 2001 in six different localities: New York City (five counties/NY), Dallas (Dallas and Tarrant Counties/TX), Seattle (King County/WA), Raleigh (Wake County/NC), Arlington (Arlington County/VA), and Sedalia (Pettis County/MO). The sites vary in terms of the overall size of their client base and the diversity of the immigrant population, and the way in which application and eligibility determination processes...

    This report explores one key dimension of access to public benefits—the application and eligibility determination process. Of particular interest is how local-level administrative procedures and operations may generally affect eligible families' access to benefits. Special consideration is given to exploring these issues as they relate to immigrants and limited English speakers.

    The four major public benefits programs examined in this study are Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The findings presented are primarily based on site visits conducted between June 2001 and December 2001 in six different localities: New York City (five counties/NY), Dallas (Dallas and Tarrant Counties/TX), Seattle (King County/WA), Raleigh (Wake County/NC), Arlington (Arlington County/VA), and Sedalia (Pettis County/MO). The sites vary in terms of the overall size of their client base and the diversity of the immigrant population, and the way in which application and eligibility determination processes are structured and implemented. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kato, Linda Yuriko
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Recent waves of immigration have made public housing populations around the nation increasingly diverse, challenging housing authorities to find new ways to provide employment assistance to residents of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds. This report examines how the challenge was met by administrators and staff at two housing developments participating in the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, a demonstration project under way in six cities that combines employment assistance, rent incentives, and community-building supports to make work pay by significantly increasing residents’ income. At the two developments — Rainier Vista in Seattle, Washington, and Mt. Airy Homes in St. Paul, Minnesota — immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America who speak nearly two dozen languages settled alongside native-born African-American and Caucasian residents. The varied needs of the foreign-born residents extended far beyond basic language training and assistance in preparing for the...

    Recent waves of immigration have made public housing populations around the nation increasingly diverse, challenging housing authorities to find new ways to provide employment assistance to residents of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds. This report examines how the challenge was met by administrators and staff at two housing developments participating in the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, a demonstration project under way in six cities that combines employment assistance, rent incentives, and community-building supports to make work pay by significantly increasing residents’ income. At the two developments — Rainier Vista in Seattle, Washington, and Mt. Airy Homes in St. Paul, Minnesota — immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America who speak nearly two dozen languages settled alongside native-born African-American and Caucasian residents. The varied needs of the foreign-born residents extended far beyond basic language training and assistance in preparing for the workforce. A diverse group themselves, the immigrant residents included urban professionals in need of certification to practice in the United States, rural villagers barely literate in their native languages, and others afflicted by physical ailments and psychological traumas arising from war, torture, and famine.

    By their variety and prevalence in the lives of the developments’ residents, these distinctive issues presented major challenges:

    • Reading cultural cues. Social, personal, and domestic issues that hamper the work efforts of low-income people in the United States had additional cultural dimensions in the case of the foreign-born residents that did not respond readily to standard employment and support services. For instance, foreign-born residents were often reluctant to use professional child care for fear of exposing their children to alien cultural practices, in addition to concern for their children’s safety. Thus, to supplement their broad knowledge of employment issues, the Jobs-Plus staff became well versed in the social cues of the ethnic groups, such as taboos that some groups had against certain foods or mixed meetings of men and women in these developments.
    • Values and work. Employment programs sometimes clashed with cultural priorities. Pressures to direct women into the workforce ran counter to residents’ desire to maintain their traditional gender roles. Similarly, efforts to encourage residents to invest in financial assets and homeownership programs competed with residents’ responsibility to  remit savings to relatives overseas.
    • Institutional barriers. Foreign-born residents were often unfamiliar with a range of institutions in the United States, including employment programs. To help close this gap, program staff adopted a flexible understanding of their service roles, often leaving their offices to reach out to residents in their homes and to accompany them off-site to social service agencies, medical clinics, and immigration offices.

    Administrative equity. Jobs-Plus programs had to balance residents’ needs and preferences for culturally specific services with the goals of preparing them to function in a diverse workplace and building a peaceful, multicultural community in the housing developments. And difficult choices have had to be made about which groups to accommodate with culturally specific services — decisions that inevitably incurred the dissatisfaction of those who were overlooked, including U.S.-born residents. To leverage limited funds and staff time, the programs partnered with local ethnic agencies and hired ethnic staff, including well-respected residents, to build trust and provide culturally appropriate services to the foreign-born residents. (author abstract)

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