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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: Speirs, Katherine E.; Vesely, Colleen K.; Roy, Kevin
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2015

    Recent research has drawn attention to the deleterious effects of instability on child development. In particular, child care instability may make it hard for children to form secure attachments to their care providers which may have a negative impact on their development and school readiness. These effects seem to be heightened for low-income children and families. However, there remains a lack of clarity regarding how and why low-income mothers make changes to their child care arrangements. Using ethnographic data from Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three City Study, this study explored 36 low-income mothers' experiences of child care instability and stability and the factors that promoted each. We identified four kinds of child care transitions: planned, averted, failed, and forced. Financial resources, transportation and the availability of care during the hours that mothers work were important for helping mothers find and maintain preferred care arrangements. Our findings have implications for research on child care instability as well as the development of policy and...

    Recent research has drawn attention to the deleterious effects of instability on child development. In particular, child care instability may make it hard for children to form secure attachments to their care providers which may have a negative impact on their development and school readiness. These effects seem to be heightened for low-income children and families. However, there remains a lack of clarity regarding how and why low-income mothers make changes to their child care arrangements. Using ethnographic data from Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three City Study, this study explored 36 low-income mothers' experiences of child care instability and stability and the factors that promoted each. We identified four kinds of child care transitions: planned, averted, failed, and forced. Financial resources, transportation and the availability of care during the hours that mothers work were important for helping mothers find and maintain preferred care arrangements. Our findings have implications for research on child care instability as well as the development of policy and programs to help low-income families secure high quality child care and maintain stable employment. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cross-Barnet, Caitlin; Cherlin, Andrew; Burton, Linda
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    In this article, we examine variations in low-income mothers' patterns of intermittent cohabitation and the voluntary and involuntary nature of these unions. Intermittent cohabitation involves couples living together and separating in repeating cycles. Using Three-City Study ethnographic data, we identified 45 low-income mothers involved in these arrangements, 18 of whom resided with their children's fathers occasionally while saying that they were not in a cohabiting relationship. We term such relationships living together apart (LTA). Data analysis revealed that distinct patterns of voluntary and involuntary separations and reunifications characterized intermittent cohabitation and LTA and that these relationships were shaped by the bonds that shared parenting created and the economic needs of both parents. We argue that these dimensions may explain some disparate accounts of cohabitation status in low-income populations. They also demonstrate previously unexplored diversity in cohabiting relationships and suggest further questioning contemporary definitions of families. (...

    In this article, we examine variations in low-income mothers' patterns of intermittent cohabitation and the voluntary and involuntary nature of these unions. Intermittent cohabitation involves couples living together and separating in repeating cycles. Using Three-City Study ethnographic data, we identified 45 low-income mothers involved in these arrangements, 18 of whom resided with their children's fathers occasionally while saying that they were not in a cohabiting relationship. We term such relationships living together apart (LTA). Data analysis revealed that distinct patterns of voluntary and involuntary separations and reunifications characterized intermittent cohabitation and LTA and that these relationships were shaped by the bonds that shared parenting created and the economic needs of both parents. We argue that these dimensions may explain some disparate accounts of cohabitation status in low-income populations. They also demonstrate previously unexplored diversity in cohabiting relationships and suggest further questioning contemporary definitions of families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burton, Linda M.; Tucker, M. B.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    This article provides a brief overview of how African American women are situated in and around the thesis of the Moynihan Report. The authors take the lens of uncertainty and apply it to a post-Moynihan discussion of African American women and marriage. They discuss uncertainty in the temporal organization of poor women's lives and in the new terrains of gender relationships and how both influence African American women's thoughts and behaviors in their romantic relationships and marriages. They argue that much is to be learned from by focusing the lens in this way. It allows us to look at the contemporary romantic relationship and marriage behaviors of African American women in context and in ways that do not label them as having pathological behaviors that place them out of sync with broader societal trends. (author abstract)

    This article provides a brief overview of how African American women are situated in and around the thesis of the Moynihan Report. The authors take the lens of uncertainty and apply it to a post-Moynihan discussion of African American women and marriage. They discuss uncertainty in the temporal organization of poor women's lives and in the new terrains of gender relationships and how both influence African American women's thoughts and behaviors in their romantic relationships and marriages. They argue that much is to be learned from by focusing the lens in this way. It allows us to look at the contemporary romantic relationship and marriage behaviors of African American women in context and in ways that do not label them as having pathological behaviors that place them out of sync with broader societal trends. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cherlin, Andrew J. ; Burton, Linda M. ; Hurt, Tera R. ; Purvin, Diane M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Using ethnographic and survey data on low-income families residing in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio, we examine the relationship between women's patterns of union formation and their experience of physical and sexual abuse. Both sets of data suggest that women who have been physically or sexually abused are substantially less likely to be married or to be in stable, long-term cohabiting relationships. The data also suggest that the timing and different forms of abuse may have distinctive associations with union formation. Women who have experienced abuse beginning in childhood, particularly sexual abuse, are less likely to be in sustained marriages or stable cohabiting relationships and instead are more likely to experience transitory unions: multiple short-term, mostly cohabiting unions with brief intervals between them. Women who have not been abused in childhood but experience adult physical abuse, however, are less likely to be in either a marriage or a cohabiting union, long-term or transitory; and some have withdrawn from having relationships with men. The relevance of...

    Using ethnographic and survey data on low-income families residing in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio, we examine the relationship between women's patterns of union formation and their experience of physical and sexual abuse. Both sets of data suggest that women who have been physically or sexually abused are substantially less likely to be married or to be in stable, long-term cohabiting relationships. The data also suggest that the timing and different forms of abuse may have distinctive associations with union formation. Women who have experienced abuse beginning in childhood, particularly sexual abuse, are less likely to be in sustained marriages or stable cohabiting relationships and instead are more likely to experience transitory unions: multiple short-term, mostly cohabiting unions with brief intervals between them. Women who have not been abused in childhood but experience adult physical abuse, however, are less likely to be in either a marriage or a cohabiting union, long-term or transitory; and some have withdrawn from having relationships with men. The relevance of these findings for the decline of marriage among low-income women and men is discussed. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Moffitt, Robert; Cherlin, Andrew; Burton, Linda; King, Mark; Roff, Jennifer
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This paper reports the characteristics of women who have remained on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio. Data come from the Three-City Study of 2,400 low income families with children. The study collected data on employment, income, family structure, and caregiver characteristics. Results indicate that these women have average employment rates of 18 percent and poverty rates of 85 percent. These compare to an employment rate among TANF leavers of about 60 percent and a poverty rate of about 70 percent. About 40 percent of stayers have less than a high school education, and many suffer from high levels of depression and domestic violence. These characteristics do not differ greatly from those of TANF leavers. They are more likely to report being in poor health than are leavers. Employed recipients have higher levels of education and better health than nonemployed recipients. They also have significantly higher income because their earnings are not fully offset by lower benefits. Nonemployed recipients nevertheless have higher incomes...

    This paper reports the characteristics of women who have remained on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio. Data come from the Three-City Study of 2,400 low income families with children. The study collected data on employment, income, family structure, and caregiver characteristics. Results indicate that these women have average employment rates of 18 percent and poverty rates of 85 percent. These compare to an employment rate among TANF leavers of about 60 percent and a poverty rate of about 70 percent. About 40 percent of stayers have less than a high school education, and many suffer from high levels of depression and domestic violence. These characteristics do not differ greatly from those of TANF leavers. They are more likely to report being in poor health than are leavers. Employed recipients have higher levels of education and better health than nonemployed recipients. They also have significantly higher income because their earnings are not fully offset by lower benefits. Nonemployed recipients nevertheless have higher incomes than nonemployed leavers, who have neither earnings nor TANF benefits. Two appendixes describe the Three-City Study and examine welfare policies in the three cities. (author abstract)

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