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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: Fusaro, Vincent A.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2017

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program created by welfare reform in 1996, is implemented as a fixed federal block grant that states partially match through a "Maintenance of Effort" contribution. States can use funds in support of any of the four goals of reform: ending dependence on public support through work and marriage, promoting the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, and facilitating care of children in their own homes. Rather than a cash assistance program, TANF is a funding stream states partially use for cash assistance. Traditional welfare now only constitutes approximately one-quarter of TANF expenditures, though the fraction varies widely by state. Most research on state TANF implementation, however, examines the requirements and activities associated with cash assistance receipt. This dissertation comprises three studies intended to better align welfare scholarship with the contemporary form of TANF. The first study examines state TANF cash assistance expenditures and change in...

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program created by welfare reform in 1996, is implemented as a fixed federal block grant that states partially match through a "Maintenance of Effort" contribution. States can use funds in support of any of the four goals of reform: ending dependence on public support through work and marriage, promoting the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, and facilitating care of children in their own homes. Rather than a cash assistance program, TANF is a funding stream states partially use for cash assistance. Traditional welfare now only constitutes approximately one-quarter of TANF expenditures, though the fraction varies widely by state. Most research on state TANF implementation, however, examines the requirements and activities associated with cash assistance receipt. This dissertation comprises three studies intended to better align welfare scholarship with the contemporary form of TANF. The first study examines state TANF cash assistance expenditures and change in expenditures over time using multilevel growth curve models and a sample of all states from 1998 to 2013. I express expenditures as a per-family-in-poverty expense and as a percentage of overall TANF spending. Predictors include a number of political, social, and economic factors. I pay particular attention to the role of race in state politics. In contrast to many earlier studies, which operationalize the salience of race using welfare caseload or population demographics, I create a state-level measure of the prevalence of white stereotyping of blacks. I find that a larger proportion of whites expressing negative views of blacks is related to reduced basic assistance effort but not to rate of change in effort. Additionally, fiscal distress is associated with lower cash assistance effort. In the second study I investigate influences on categorical uses of TANF funds from 2000 to 2013. For categories of expenditures, such as work activities and supportive services, in which almost all states expend resources in almost all years, I estimate multilevel linear models of spending, again expressed both as percentages of total effort and as per-family-in-poverty expenditures. For categories with less consistent spending, I estimate logistic regression models of the probability of a state spending in the category in 2001, 2006, and 2012. I once again find a relationship between prevalence of negative stereotypes of blacks among whites and basic assistance spending. It is also related to the probability of a state using resources for pregnancy prevention or two-parent family support. Fiscal stress is associated with a higher probability of a state transferring funds to the Social Services Block Grant. Finally, the third study considers the consequences of the decline of cash assistance for low-income families. Using data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (2001-2013), I model food insecurity in low-income households as a function of state cash assistance coverage (ratio of TANF cases to low-income families). Higher coverage is associated with a reduced risk of food insecurity, particularly for households headed by a single female with no other adults. Coverage is generally not related to the presence of an employed adult in the household, however. Tying economic relief to the low-wage labor market, while having beneficial effects for some, has also increased the risk of material hardship in the most vulnerable households. Market-oriented policy may have limits as a safety net of last resort. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kornrich, Sabino; Rodriguez, Natassia
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    This article examines low-income parents’ monetary investments in their young children, asking how low-income families are able to afford spending on children. We investigate parental spending on child care and on goods in the home that may provide enrichment for young children. We find little evidence that households make spending trade-offs for either type of good. Instead, our results suggest that low-income households that can afford child care may be poor only temporarily and that they spend primarily when they are unable to avoid doing so because of family work patterns. For enrichment goods, parental education is a stronger predictor of spending. (Author abstract)

    This article examines low-income parents’ monetary investments in their young children, asking how low-income families are able to afford spending on children. We investigate parental spending on child care and on goods in the home that may provide enrichment for young children. We find little evidence that households make spending trade-offs for either type of good. Instead, our results suggest that low-income households that can afford child care may be poor only temporarily and that they spend primarily when they are unable to avoid doing so because of family work patterns. For enrichment goods, parental education is a stronger predictor of spending. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Farrell, Mary; Hayes, Michael; Baird, Peter; Brown, Susan
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that an improved understanding of human behavior and decision-making could inform program design and improve outcomes. OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self Sufficiency (BIAS) project designs and tests behaviorally-informed program innovations for ACF programs. This session will share early findings and lessons learned from BIAS’s work with child support agencies in Texas and Ohio. (conference program description)

    • Behavioral Economics and Social Policy: Designing Innovative Solutions for Programs Supported by the Administration for Children and Families

    Lashawn Richburg-Hayes (MDRC)

    The presentation gives an overview of how behavioral concepts are being applied to social policy within the context of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project.

    • Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications

    Mary Farrell (MEF Associates)

    Michael Hayes (Texas Office...

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that an improved understanding of human behavior and decision-making could inform program design and improve outcomes. OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self Sufficiency (BIAS) project designs and tests behaviorally-informed program innovations for ACF programs. This session will share early findings and lessons learned from BIAS’s work with child support agencies in Texas and Ohio. (conference program description)

    • Behavioral Economics and Social Policy: Designing Innovative Solutions for Programs Supported by the Administration for Children and Families

    Lashawn Richburg-Hayes (MDRC)

    The presentation gives an overview of how behavioral concepts are being applied to social policy within the context of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project.

    • Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications

    Mary Farrell (MEF Associates)

    Michael Hayes (Texas Office of the Attorney General)

    The presentation describes the Texas pilot of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project, a program designed to increase the number of incarcerated, non-custodial parents who apply for child support order modifications.

    • Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Timely and Regular Child Support Payments

    Peter Baird (MDRC)

    Susan Brown (Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency

    The presentation describes the Franklin County, Ohio pilot of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project, an initiative to increase the total amounts of child support collected and the frequency of payments.

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

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