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  • Individual Author: Baumgartner, Scott; Paulsell, Diane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a random assignment impact study and in-depth process study of five Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) grantees funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance (OFA). To maximize its contributions to the evidence base and to inform future program and evaluation design, STREAMS is examining the full range of populations served by HMRE programs, including adult individuals, adult couples, and youth in high schools. Each STREAMS site functions as a separate study within the larger evaluation, with each addressing a distinct research question.

    This process study report presents findings on the development and implementation of MotherWise, an HMRE program designed to serve low-income pregnant women and new mothers in Denver, Colorado. MotherWise includes three primary components: (1) a six-session relationship skills workshop that uses the Within My Reach curriculum and program-developed information on infant care and parenting; (2) individual case management; and (3) an...

    The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a random assignment impact study and in-depth process study of five Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) grantees funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance (OFA). To maximize its contributions to the evidence base and to inform future program and evaluation design, STREAMS is examining the full range of populations served by HMRE programs, including adult individuals, adult couples, and youth in high schools. Each STREAMS site functions as a separate study within the larger evaluation, with each addressing a distinct research question.

    This process study report presents findings on the development and implementation of MotherWise, an HMRE program designed to serve low-income pregnant women and new mothers in Denver, Colorado. MotherWise includes three primary components: (1) a six-session relationship skills workshop that uses the Within My Reach curriculum and program-developed information on infant care and parenting; (2) individual case management; and (3) an optional couples workshop.

    The STREAMS impact evaluation is evaluating the effectiveness of MotherWise. Key outcomes of interest include participants’ communication and conflict management skills, the quality of the co-parenting relationship with the baby’s father, the number of romantic and sexual partners, incidents of intimate partner violence, unplanned pregnancies, child development outcomes, and mental health and well-being. (Excerpt from introduction)

  • Individual Author: Moore, Quinn ; Avellar, Sarah; Covington, Reginald; Wu, April; Patnaik, Ankita
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    Research shows that parents and children tend to fare better on a range of outcomes when they live in low-conflict, two-parent families. Recognizing the potential benefits of healthy relationships for low-income families, Congress has funded three rounds of grants for Healthy Marriage (HM) programs since 2006. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA), in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards and oversees the grants, which aim to promote the well-being and long-term success of children and families by fostering parents’ relationship stability and economic well-being. To learn more about the effectiveness of HM programs, OFA funded, and ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation oversaw, a contract with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the multicomponent Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation. This evaluation included a large-scale, random assignment examination of two federally funded HM programs serving low-income couples that received grants in 2011. This brief presents the impacts of...

    Research shows that parents and children tend to fare better on a range of outcomes when they live in low-conflict, two-parent families. Recognizing the potential benefits of healthy relationships for low-income families, Congress has funded three rounds of grants for Healthy Marriage (HM) programs since 2006. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA), in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards and oversees the grants, which aim to promote the well-being and long-term success of children and families by fostering parents’ relationship stability and economic well-being. To learn more about the effectiveness of HM programs, OFA funded, and ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation oversaw, a contract with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the multicomponent Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation. This evaluation included a large-scale, random assignment examination of two federally funded HM programs serving low-income couples that received grants in 2011. This brief presents the impacts of these programs about one year after study enrollment on:

    1. the status and quality of the couples’ relationships
    2. the co-parenting relationships
    3. job and career advancement

    (Excerpt from introduction) 

  • Individual Author: Dion, Robin; Holcomb, Pamela; Zaveri, Heather; D'Angelo, Angela Valdovinos; Clary, Elizabeth; Friend, Daniel; Baumgartner, Scott
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Broad changes in family demographics have left many children without the support or involvement of their fathers. As a result of high rates of nonmarital births and divorce, millions of American children do not live with both of their parents. Rates of nonresidence are particularly high among groups that tend to face more economic challenges: 58 percent of black children and 31 percent of Hispanic children were living without their biological fathers in 2012. Father absence is associated with a range of unfavorable outcomes for children, including poor social-emotional adjustment, dropping out of school, and experiencing mental health problems as adults.

    Research suggests that the negative effects for children of father absence may be mitigated through greater father involvement. Nonresidential fathers’ greater contact with their children is associated with fewer child and adolescent behavior problems. The quality of father-child interaction also appears to matter. Nonresidential fathers’ engagement in child-related activities has been found to be linked to positive social...

    Broad changes in family demographics have left many children without the support or involvement of their fathers. As a result of high rates of nonmarital births and divorce, millions of American children do not live with both of their parents. Rates of nonresidence are particularly high among groups that tend to face more economic challenges: 58 percent of black children and 31 percent of Hispanic children were living without their biological fathers in 2012. Father absence is associated with a range of unfavorable outcomes for children, including poor social-emotional adjustment, dropping out of school, and experiencing mental health problems as adults.

    Research suggests that the negative effects for children of father absence may be mitigated through greater father involvement. Nonresidential fathers’ greater contact with their children is associated with fewer child and adolescent behavior problems. The quality of father-child interaction also appears to matter. Nonresidential fathers’ engagement in child-related activities has been found to be linked to positive social, emotional and behavioral adjustment in children.

    To address these issues, Congress has funded the Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grant program since 2006. The grant program is administered by the Office of Family Assistance at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. RF grants require programs to offer services for fathers in three areas: parenting and fatherhood, economic stability, and healthy marriage and relationships.

    The Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation is studying four RF programs using a rigorous multi-component research design. Conducted by Mathematica Policy Research for the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at ACF, PACT focuses on three broad areas: fathers’ backgrounds, views, and experiences (qualitative study component), how the programs were implemented (implementation study component), and the programs’ effects on fathers’ outcomes (impact study component). Recognizing that RF programming will continue to grow and evolve, PACT is providing a building block in the evidence base to guide ongoing and future program design and evaluation efforts. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Goesling, Brian; Paulsell, Diane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The federal government has had a long-standing commitment to supporting healthy relationships and stable families. In the mid-1990s, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which had the formation and maintenance of two-parent families as one of its core purposes. TANF provided states with the funding and flexibility to support activities to promote healthy marriage. Beginning in the mid-2000s, the federal government began providing additional funding specifically to support healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) services. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees these funds and distributes them through a set of competitive multi-year grants to organizations nationwide. OFA made the most recent round of HMRE grant awards in September 2015. These grants support HMRE services for a mix of populations, including youth in high school, individual adults, and adult couples. (Author abstract) 

    The federal government has had a long-standing commitment to supporting healthy relationships and stable families. In the mid-1990s, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which had the formation and maintenance of two-parent families as one of its core purposes. TANF provided states with the funding and flexibility to support activities to promote healthy marriage. Beginning in the mid-2000s, the federal government began providing additional funding specifically to support healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) services. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees these funds and distributes them through a set of competitive multi-year grants to organizations nationwide. OFA made the most recent round of HMRE grant awards in September 2015. These grants support HMRE services for a mix of populations, including youth in high school, individual adults, and adult couples. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Friend, Daniel; Paulsell, Diane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Introduction

    Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) practitioners are increasingly interested in integrating relationship education workshops with economic stability services. In its most recent round of federal grant funding for HMRE services, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) emphasized programs that offer both HMRE and economic stability services such as job and career advancement and financial literacy activities. Grantee staff must decide how to deliver services in each of these areas—either as separate workshops, integrated workshops, or a mix of the two.

    Purpose

    The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a five-site, random assignment evaluation of HMRE programs funded by OFA, with evaluation sites selected from the current round of HMRE grantees. Two of the grantees participating in STREAMS operate programs that integrate HMRE and economic stability services. The STREAMS technical assistance team worked closely with both grantees to help refine and...

    Introduction

    Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) practitioners are increasingly interested in integrating relationship education workshops with economic stability services. In its most recent round of federal grant funding for HMRE services, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) emphasized programs that offer both HMRE and economic stability services such as job and career advancement and financial literacy activities. Grantee staff must decide how to deliver services in each of these areas—either as separate workshops, integrated workshops, or a mix of the two.

    Purpose

    The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a five-site, random assignment evaluation of HMRE programs funded by OFA, with evaluation sites selected from the current round of HMRE grantees. Two of the grantees participating in STREAMS operate programs that integrate HMRE and economic stability services. The STREAMS technical assistance team worked closely with both grantees to help refine and strengthen their original program designs by drawing on findings from prior research. This brief describes how the grantees are integrating HMRE and economic stability services, with the goal of increasing participants’ exposure to both types of services.

    Key Findings and Highlights

    To integrate HMRE and economic stability services, the two grantees:

    • Used recruiting strategies to identify potential participants interested in both types of services
    • Adapted curricula to integrate HMRE and economic stability topics
    • Connected participants to one-on-one job and career advancement services

    Methods

    Integration strategies described in the brief are based on information gathered by the STREAMS technical assistance team during site visits and regular phone meetings with the grantees. Future reports from the STREAMS impact and process studies will describe how well these strategies worked in practice, yielding information that can be used to further refine the strategies to improve the delivery and effectiveness of HMRE programming. (Author abstract)

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