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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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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Morrison, Carly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is...

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is statistically significant at the 10 percent level (which suggests that it is due to the Start Smart intervention rather than random chance), and represents a 9 percent increase in payments made during the first month. Start Smart did not produce statistically significant differences in payments made in the second or third month. (Edited author overview)

  • Individual Author: Schaefer, H. Luke; Collyer, Sophie; Duncan, Greg; Edin, Kathryn; Garfinkel, Irwin; Harris, David; Smeeding, Timothy M.; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Christopher; Yoshikawa, Hirokazu
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, accessibility, adequate payment levels, and more generous support for young children. Whether benefits should decline with additional children to reflect economies of scale is a question policymakers should consider. Analyzing 2015 Current Population Survey data, we estimate our proposed child allowance would reduce child poverty by about 40 percent, deep child poverty by nearly half, and would effectively eliminate extreme child poverty. Annual net cost estimates range from $66 billion to $105 billion. (Author abstract)

    To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, accessibility, adequate payment levels, and more generous support for young children. Whether benefits should decline with additional children to reflect economies of scale is a question policymakers should consider. Analyzing 2015 Current Population Survey data, we estimate our proposed child allowance would reduce child poverty by about 40 percent, deep child poverty by nearly half, and would effectively eliminate extreme child poverty. Annual net cost estimates range from $66 billion to $105 billion. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Arkin, Monica
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    Posted by Monica Arkin, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Case workers and other practitioners in the welfare system benefit from keeping abreast of new research and clinical approaches when working with clients. One such method that has been around for decades but has only recently been popularized in the field of self-sufficiency is motivational interviewing. Developed in the 1980s by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing was created as an approach to behavioral change particularly for individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Compared with the more traditional dynamic of counselor-patient relationships, which commonly features an expert counselor educating or persuading a less-informed client, motivational interviewing...

    Posted by Monica Arkin, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Case workers and other practitioners in the welfare system benefit from keeping abreast of new research and clinical approaches when working with clients. One such method that has been around for decades but has only recently been popularized in the field of self-sufficiency is motivational interviewing. Developed in the 1980s by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing was created as an approach to behavioral change particularly for individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Compared with the more traditional dynamic of counselor-patient relationships, which commonly features an expert counselor educating or persuading a less-informed client, motivational interviewing occurs in the context of a partnership where client autonomy is the foundation. Together, the counselor and client engage in a collaborative conversation about identifying problems and solutions, particularly by focusing on barriers to change that are preventing progress toward the client’s goals. Rather than imposing change externally, motivational interviewing seeks to elicit and strengthen an individual’s intrinsic motivation for change.

    Since its initial development in substance abuse treatment spaces, motivational interviewing has proven to be an effective approach for facilitating productive change in various client contexts. With respect to self-sufficiency, studies of TANF-eligible client outcomes have shown that motivational interviewing is a valuable addition to case worker interventions. For example, a six-month follow-up evaluation of 322 randomly selected TANF-eligible clients participating in Kentucky’s Targeted Assessment Program (TAP), which combines motivational interviewing, holistic assessment and strengths-based case management, found medium-to-strong decreases in self-reported barriers to self-sufficiency. These included barriers related to physical health (at six-month follow-up the percentage of participants who had seen a doctor in the previous 12 months decreased, as did the percentage of participants who wanted to see a doctor but reported being unable to), mental health (feeling badly about oneself, having thoughts of self-harm, and feeling worried or anxious), substance use, and intimate partner violence. Additionally, TAP participants reported lower work difficulty and higher employment rates at the time of follow-up.

    Another study found a connection between motivational interviewing and veterans’ self-sufficiency. Eighty-four veterans who had psychiatric disorders and had applied for service-connected compensation were assigned to either a control condition, where they received an orientation to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care system and services, or an experimental condition, where they received four 50-minute sessions of individual counseling that followed a motivational interviewing framework. At a six-month follow up, veterans in the experimental group reported significantly more days of paid employment compared with participants in the control group. This suggests that motivational interviewing may reduce barriers to employment that are associated with disability payments for psychiatric disorders.

    The benefits of motivational interviewing serve the client as well as the practitioner. A qualitative study in Alamance County, North Carolina gathered the perceptions of case workers within the child welfare system that were trained in motivational interviewing. When initial training was supplemented with coaching from clinical coaches, case workers reported that motivational interviewing “helped them deal with difficult issues they encountered, changed-long held perspectives, and provided a new approach to working with families.”

    The SSRC Library contains numerous reports and stakeholder resources about motivational interviewing, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

     

  • Individual Author: Derr, Michelle; McCay, Jonathan; Person, Ann; Anderson, Mary Anne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well.

    Unfortunately, these approaches have produced mixed results on program participants’ employment outcomes. As a result, in recent years TANF staff have explored new strategies aimed at improving these outcomes.

    New research focused on the role of self-regulation could help. Self-regulation refers to a core set of skills and personality factors that allow people to intentionally control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is what enables all of us to set goals, make plans, solve problems, monitor our actions, and control our impulses. These skills are essential for managing work and family...

    Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well.

    Unfortunately, these approaches have produced mixed results on program participants’ employment outcomes. As a result, in recent years TANF staff have explored new strategies aimed at improving these outcomes.

    New research focused on the role of self-regulation could help. Self-regulation refers to a core set of skills and personality factors that allow people to intentionally control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is what enables all of us to set goals, make plans, solve problems, monitor our actions, and control our impulses. These skills are essential for managing work and family activities such as planning morning and after school routines, completing job-related tasks, and engaging in quality parent and child interactions. Successful execution of these skills can lead to better outcomes for children and families.

    In recent years, researchers have explored how the conditions associated with poverty can hinder the development of self-regulation skills. In particular, chronic exposure to high levels of stress can have adverse consequences on self-regulation skills. The effects of this underdevelopment may continue into adulthood. Exposure to chronic stress can even inhibit individuals’ ability to access and use the self-regulation skills they already have.

    The good news is that research also suggests that self-regulation skills can improve throughout a person’s lifetime by deliberately practicing and using them. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Wang, Wendy; Wilcox, W. Bradford
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    The rise of nontraditional routes into parenthood among Millennials is one indicator that today’s young adults are taking increasingly divergent paths toward adulthood, including family formation. In fact, when it comes to family formation, overall only 40% of young adults ages 28 to 34 have moved into family life by marrying first (regardless of whether they have had any children). Another 33% have had children outside of or before marriage, and a significant share (27%) have not reached either of these traditional milestones of adulthood. By comparison, a majority of Baby Boomers (67%) had entered intofamily life at the same age by marrying first. A much smaller share had children before marrying (20%), or had delayed both parenthood and marriage (13%) at ages 28 to 34...Even though young men and women are taking increasingly divergent paths into adulthood in America today, panel data that tracks adults across the transition to adulthood indicate that the path most likely to be associated with realizing the American Dream is one guided by the success sequence. Given the...

    The rise of nontraditional routes into parenthood among Millennials is one indicator that today’s young adults are taking increasingly divergent paths toward adulthood, including family formation. In fact, when it comes to family formation, overall only 40% of young adults ages 28 to 34 have moved into family life by marrying first (regardless of whether they have had any children). Another 33% have had children outside of or before marriage, and a significant share (27%) have not reached either of these traditional milestones of adulthood. By comparison, a majority of Baby Boomers (67%) had entered intofamily life at the same age by marrying first. A much smaller share had children before marrying (20%), or had delayed both parenthood and marriage (13%) at ages 28 to 34...Even though young men and women are taking increasingly divergent paths into adulthood in America today, panel data that tracks adults across the transition to adulthood indicate that the path most likely to be associated with realizing the American Dream is one guided by the success sequence. Given the importance of education, work, and marriage—even for a generation that has taken increasingly circuitous routes into adulthood—policy makers, business leaders, and civic leaders should work to advance public policies and cultural changes to make this sequence both more attainable and more valued. Among other things, this should include public and private efforts to strengthen career and technical education, expand the EITC or other wage subsidies, and publicize the value of the “success sequence” to adolescents and young adults across America. (Author introduction)

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