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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: Jacoby, Sara F.; Tach, Laura; Guerra, Terry; Wiebe, Douglas J.; Richmond, Therese S.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    The health and well-being of single-parent families living in violent neighbourhoods in US cities who participate in housing programmes is not well described. This two-phase, mixed-methods study explores the health status of families who were participants in a housing-plus programme in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 2011 and 2013 and the relationship between the characteristics of the neighbourhoods in which they lived and their perceptions of well-being and safety. In phase 1, data collected with standardised health status instruments were analysed using descriptive statistics and independent sample t-tests to describe the health of single parents and one randomly selected child from each parent’s household in comparison to population norms. In a subset of survey respondents, focus groups were conducted to generate an in-depth understanding of the daily lives and stressors of these families. Focus group data were analysed using content analysis to identify key descriptive themes. In phase 2, daily activity path mapping, surveys and interviews of parent–child dyads were...

    The health and well-being of single-parent families living in violent neighbourhoods in US cities who participate in housing programmes is not well described. This two-phase, mixed-methods study explores the health status of families who were participants in a housing-plus programme in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 2011 and 2013 and the relationship between the characteristics of the neighbourhoods in which they lived and their perceptions of well-being and safety. In phase 1, data collected with standardised health status instruments were analysed using descriptive statistics and independent sample t-tests to describe the health of single parents and one randomly selected child from each parent’s household in comparison to population norms. In a subset of survey respondents, focus groups were conducted to generate an in-depth understanding of the daily lives and stressors of these families. Focus group data were analysed using content analysis to identify key descriptive themes. In phase 2, daily activity path mapping, surveys and interviews of parent–child dyads were collected to assess how these families perceive their health, neighbourhood and the influence of neighbourhood characteristics on the families’ day-to-day experience. Narratives and activity maps were combined with crime data from the Philadelphia Police Department to analyse the relationship between crime and perceptions of fear and safety. Phase 1 data demonstrated that parent participants met or exceeded the national average for self-reported physical health but fell below the national average across all mental health domains. Over 40% reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression. Parents described high levels of stress resulting from competing priorities, financial instability, and concern for their children’s well-being and safety. Analysis of phase 2 data demonstrated that neighbourhood characteristics exert influence over parents’ perceptions of their environment and how they permit  their children to move within it. This research suggests the need for robust research, programmatic and policy interventions to support housing-unstable families who live in neighbourhoods with high levels of violence. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Johnson, Alicia
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    An estimated 2.8 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor employed. In many big cities, up to one-fourth of all young adults can be characterized as “disconnected.” The problem is also severe in rural communities located in high-poverty areas, a pattern that is vividly illustrated by the disproportionate number of minority youth in the South who fall into this category.

    Mayors and city councilmembers are particularly well positioned to set the tone and direction for local efforts to reengage disconnected youth. By articulating key priorities and future directions for change, municipal leaders can provide a much-needed framework for discussions that involve the full range of city officials, community stakeholders, and local residents. (author abstract)

    An estimated 2.8 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor employed. In many big cities, up to one-fourth of all young adults can be characterized as “disconnected.” The problem is also severe in rural communities located in high-poverty areas, a pattern that is vividly illustrated by the disproportionate number of minority youth in the South who fall into this category.

    Mayors and city councilmembers are particularly well positioned to set the tone and direction for local efforts to reengage disconnected youth. By articulating key priorities and future directions for change, municipal leaders can provide a much-needed framework for discussions that involve the full range of city officials, community stakeholders, and local residents. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hong, Irene
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2015

    The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 is the most recent child nutrition reauthorization bill. It authorizes $4.5 billion in new funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s core child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Public focus and attention with regard to the HHFKA has chiefly been focused on the dramatic changes implemented in nutritional requirements for all food served in schools, including new restrictions on the amount of calories, sugar, fat and sodium in school meals. Nutrition advocates have lauded these efforts to address rising rates of childhood obesity, but school meal professionals are concerned with the financial cost of implementing these new standards. Their concerns stem from the question of whether the HHFKA has reduced children’s participation in both school meal and a la carte programs, thereby reducing revenues for many school districts, as well as from the fact that the increase in federal reimbursement rates for these meals does not fully cover the cost of...

    The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 is the most recent child nutrition reauthorization bill. It authorizes $4.5 billion in new funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s core child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Public focus and attention with regard to the HHFKA has chiefly been focused on the dramatic changes implemented in nutritional requirements for all food served in schools, including new restrictions on the amount of calories, sugar, fat and sodium in school meals. Nutrition advocates have lauded these efforts to address rising rates of childhood obesity, but school meal professionals are concerned with the financial cost of implementing these new standards. Their concerns stem from the question of whether the HHFKA has reduced children’s participation in both school meal and a la carte programs, thereby reducing revenues for many school districts, as well as from the fact that the increase in federal reimbursement rates for these meals does not fully cover the cost of implementing the new standards.

    These debates are still playing out, with many supporters of the Act arguing that efforts at improving nutritional standards in school meals have typically resulted in a temporary decrease in participation rates as children and schools resist change, but that over time, school food professionals’ challenges with food procurement and menu planning will decrease and that participation rates and revenues will rise again. This paper will focus on a different aspect of the HHFKA that has too often been over-looked. As the following graphs demonstrate, this is the too little noted fact that while the total number of meals served has decreased since the implementation of the HHFKA, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of free meals served during the same time period. Looking only at the overall decrease in the number of meal served fails to note the increase in participation in free meals, which is a significant sign that the HHFKA is serving low-income populations more effectively.

    This is corroborated through the experiences of the School District of Philadelphia, one of the nation’s poorest cities, with nearly 200,000 people or a third of the city’s population living in deep poverty, or at half the federal poverty line. The success of Philadelphia’s Universal Feeding Program in the 1990s and its continued success under the Community Eligibility Provision of the HHFKA has allowed for an immense increase in school meal access for students. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fantuzzo, John; LeBoeuf, Whitney; Brumley, Benjamin; Perlman, Staci
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    Child homelessness and educational well-being is an area of national research that requires more precise investigation to address mixed findings. The aim of this study was to extend the investigation of the relations between homelessness and educational well-being by determining if timing and frequency of homeless episodes are differentially associated with children's academic and classroom engagement outcomes. This investigation used a comprehensive research model to study the effects of these homeless episode characteristics within a large urban student cohort. Additionally, this study accounted for co-occurring early risk factors. Findings indicated that having a first homeless episode in early childhood was associated with non-proficiency in mathematics and academic engagement problems. Also more frequent homeless episodes were related to truancy in third grade. These results stress the importance of early intervention for homeless children and underscore the need to further understand the variation in young children's homeless experiences. (author abstract)

    Child homelessness and educational well-being is an area of national research that requires more precise investigation to address mixed findings. The aim of this study was to extend the investigation of the relations between homelessness and educational well-being by determining if timing and frequency of homeless episodes are differentially associated with children's academic and classroom engagement outcomes. This investigation used a comprehensive research model to study the effects of these homeless episode characteristics within a large urban student cohort. Additionally, this study accounted for co-occurring early risk factors. Findings indicated that having a first homeless episode in early childhood was associated with non-proficiency in mathematics and academic engagement problems. Also more frequent homeless episodes were related to truancy in third grade. These results stress the importance of early intervention for homeless children and underscore the need to further understand the variation in young children's homeless experiences. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Chiang, Hanley; Gill, Brian
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    As a key part of its strategy for improving high school graduation rates, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) has authorized several private firms to establish, manage, and staff a network of alternative high schools known as accelerated schools. Accelerated schools serve students who are at high risk of failure to graduate, including those who are significantly overage for their grade, have accumulated few high school credits, have previously dropped out, or are chronically truant. Aiming to provide an expedited path to graduation, accelerated schools offer a curriculum in which enrollees are supposed to graduate within three years of entry. Since their inception in the 2004-05 school year, accelerated schools have steadily grown in number and enrollment; by the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, 14 accelerated schools managed by seven different firms (providers) enrolled more than 2,100 students. In light of this growth, there is considerable interest in ascertaining whether these schools have contributed to improvements in graduation rates.
    This report evaluates...

    As a key part of its strategy for improving high school graduation rates, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) has authorized several private firms to establish, manage, and staff a network of alternative high schools known as accelerated schools. Accelerated schools serve students who are at high risk of failure to graduate, including those who are significantly overage for their grade, have accumulated few high school credits, have previously dropped out, or are chronically truant. Aiming to provide an expedited path to graduation, accelerated schools offer a curriculum in which enrollees are supposed to graduate within three years of entry. Since their inception in the 2004-05 school year, accelerated schools have steadily grown in number and enrollment; by the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, 14 accelerated schools managed by seven different firms (providers) enrolled more than 2,100 students. In light of this growth, there is considerable interest in ascertaining whether these schools have contributed to improvements in graduation rates.
    This report evaluates the impacts of Philadelphia’s accelerated schools on their enrollees’ rates of graduation. In addition, to assess the effects of accelerated schools on more recent enrollees—for whom graduation outcomes are not yet measurable—we also examine the schools’ impacts on rates of credit accumulation, a key intermediate indicator of progress toward graduation. Our analyses yield estimates for both the average impacts of the entire network of accelerated schools and the impacts of each individual provider.

    The impact analyses are based on a matched comparison design. Each student who enrolls in accelerated education, referred to as an accelerated student, is matched with the nonaccelerated student— one who never enrolls in accelerated education—exhibiting the most similar set of early risk factors for eventual dropout. Therefore, when accelerated students first enroll in accelerated schools, they are, on average, equivalent to the comparison students—most of whom are enrolled in nonalternative high schools—with respect to cumulative GPA, total accumulated credits, eighth grade test scores, prior attendance, prior disciplinary history, and key demographic characteristics. Importantly, we assume that accelerated and comparison students are subject to similar academic standards for passing courses and earning high school diplomas. Under this key assumption, differences in outcomes between the accelerated and comparison students capture the impacts of accelerated schools. (author abstract)

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