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  • Individual Author: Zaslow, Martha; Eldred, Carolyn
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The New Chance Observational Study — the subject of this monograph — is an in-depth examination of parenting behavior in 290 of the 2,322 families studied in the New Chance Demonstration, a national research and demonstration program operated between 1989 and 1992 at 16 locations in 10 states. The demonstration tested a program model intended to improve the economic prospects and overall well-being of low-income young mothers (aged 16 to 22) and their children through a comprehensive and intensive set of services. It was developed by MDRC and supported by a broad consortium of public and private funders.

    New Chance was directed at families central to the welfare reform debates that culminated in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 — families headed by young mothers who gave birth during their teenage years and were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC, the main cash welfare program). More specifically, New Chance focused on those who were especially disadvantaged because they were high school dropouts; as a group,...

    The New Chance Observational Study — the subject of this monograph — is an in-depth examination of parenting behavior in 290 of the 2,322 families studied in the New Chance Demonstration, a national research and demonstration program operated between 1989 and 1992 at 16 locations in 10 states. The demonstration tested a program model intended to improve the economic prospects and overall well-being of low-income young mothers (aged 16 to 22) and their children through a comprehensive and intensive set of services. It was developed by MDRC and supported by a broad consortium of public and private funders.

    New Chance was directed at families central to the welfare reform debates that culminated in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 — families headed by young mothers who gave birth during their teenage years and were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC, the main cash welfare program). More specifically, New Chance focused on those who were especially disadvantaged because they were high school dropouts; as a group, they and their children are at high risk of long-term welfare receipt and economic hardship.

    The New Chance Program sought to help the young mothers (who, for the most part, volunteered for the program) to acquire educational and vocational credentials and skills so that they could find and keep jobs offering opportunities for advancement and reduce, and eventually eliminate, their use of welfare. It also sought to motivate and assist participants to postpone additional childbearing and to become better parents. Because New Chance focused on young children as well as their mothers, it sought to further the cognitive, social, and emotional development as well as the health of participants’ children. Child care was provided at no cost to the parents, on site in most places, and the program facilitated access to health services for both mothers and children. The program was intended to be intensive (four to five days a week for up to 18 months), though in practice attendance was of much shorter term and often irregular. (author abstract)

    Table of Contents

          Executive Summary/ Martha J Zaslow and Carolyn A. Eldred

    1. Introduction: The Context for the New Chance Observational Study/ Martha I Zaslow
    2. The Methodology of the New Chance Observational Study/ Donna R. Morrison, Carolyn A. Eldred, Martha I Zaslow, and M Robin Dion
    3. Participation in Program Components That Could Affect Parenting Behavior/ M Robin Dion, Martha I Zaslow, and Donna R. Morrison
    4. The Affective Quality of Mother-Child Interaction/ Nancy S. Weinfield, Byron Egeland, and John R. Ogawa
    5. Mother-Child Interactions Related to the Emergence of Literacy/ Jeanne De Temple and Catherine Snow
    6. Completing the Portrayal of Parenting Behavior with Interview-Based Measures/  Donna R. Morrison, Martha J. Zaslow, and M Robin Dion
    7. Integration: Looking Across the Differing Measures of Parenting/  Martha J. Zaslow, M Robin Dion, and Donna R. Morrison
    8. Parenting in a Broader Context: An Examination of the Multiple Influences on Child Outcomes/ the New Chance Observational Study Research Team
    9. Key Findings and Their Implications/ Martha J. Zaslow
    10. Expanding the Methodological Horizons of Child Development and Survey Research/  Carolyn A. Eldred
    11. Implementing Observational Research Within a Survey Context/ Carolyn A. Eldred
    12. Findings on the Administration of the Observational Session/ Carolyn A. Eldred
    13. An Assessment of the Data Collection Effort and Lessons for Future Research Efforts/ Carolyn A. Eldred
    14. Measurement Implications of the New Chance Observational Study/ Carolyn A. Eldred
  • Individual Author: Doolittle, Fred; Lynn, Suzanne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) research on child support enforcement has several goals. First, it seeks to provide insights into the interaction between local child support enforcement systems and noncustodial parents whose children are on welfare. The approach taken in this report is to analyze what happened when the seven sites in the PFS Demonstration sought to identify low-income, unemployed noncustodial parents appropriate for PFS and refer them to the program. The report carries this story up to the point of referral of appropriate noncustodial parents to the program. Later reports in the project will continue the story, examining the implementation of PFS’s enhanced child support enforcement for noncustodial parents referred to the program and estimating program impacts on payment of child support and other key outcomes. (author abstract)

    Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) research on child support enforcement has several goals. First, it seeks to provide insights into the interaction between local child support enforcement systems and noncustodial parents whose children are on welfare. The approach taken in this report is to analyze what happened when the seven sites in the PFS Demonstration sought to identify low-income, unemployed noncustodial parents appropriate for PFS and refer them to the program. The report carries this story up to the point of referral of appropriate noncustodial parents to the program. Later reports in the project will continue the story, examining the implementation of PFS’s enhanced child support enforcement for noncustodial parents referred to the program and estimating program impacts on payment of child support and other key outcomes. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Poglinco, Susan; Brash, Julian ; Granger, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Doolittle, Fred; Knox, Virginia; Miller, Cynthia; Rowser, Sharon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Over the past 25 years, policymakers have come to acknowledge the link between lack of child support and the pressing problem of child poverty for a broad range of American families. With over 20 million children under age 18 now living with only one parent or neither parent, there is an urgency to develop more effective methods for obtaining support from noncustodial parents. Much of the public concern about child support has focused on the noncustodial parents (usually fathers) of children receiving welfare, a group for whom earnings and support payments tend to be low. Interest in these families has also been heightened by recent changes in federally funded public assistance, which are gradually leading states to impose various time limits on aid. Since poor families will have to rely even more on nongovernment sources of income in the future, their stake in successful child support enforcement (CSE) has dramatically increased.

    The noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare have largely been left out of the reform debate and programmatic initiatives, except as...

    Over the past 25 years, policymakers have come to acknowledge the link between lack of child support and the pressing problem of child poverty for a broad range of American families. With over 20 million children under age 18 now living with only one parent or neither parent, there is an urgency to develop more effective methods for obtaining support from noncustodial parents. Much of the public concern about child support has focused on the noncustodial parents (usually fathers) of children receiving welfare, a group for whom earnings and support payments tend to be low. Interest in these families has also been heightened by recent changes in federally funded public assistance, which are gradually leading states to impose various time limits on aid. Since poor families will have to rely even more on nongovernment sources of income in the future, their stake in successful child support enforcement (CSE) has dramatically increased.

    The noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare have largely been left out of the reform debate and programmatic initiatives, except as targets of increasing CSE efforts. Unfortunately for poor families, most of the recent CSE reforms have been more effective in increasing collections from noncustodial parents with relatively stable jobs and residence; many of the fathers of children receiving welfare do not fall within this group.

    The Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration tests a new approach: in exchange for current and future cooperation with the child support system, a partnership of local organizations offered fathers services designed to help them (1) find more stable and better-paying jobs, (2) pay child support on a consistent basis, and (3) assume a fuller and more responsible parental role. Among the key services were peer support (focused on issues of responsible parenting), employment and training services, and an offer of voluntary mediation between the custodial and noncustodial parents. During the period in which parents participated in PFS services, the child support system gave them some "breathing room" and an incentive to invest in themselves by temporarily lowering their current obligation to pay support. CSE staff also closely monitored the status of PFS cases. When a parent found employment, CSE staff were to act quickly to raise the support order to an appropriate level (based on the state’s child support payment guidelines), and if a parent ceased to cooperate with PFS program requirements, CSE staff were to act quickly to enforce the pre-PFS child support obligation. The demonstration is a test of the feasibility of implementing this new "bargain" and its effects on parents, children, and the child support system.

    PFS rests on an unusual partnership of funders and program operators, including federal agencies, private foundations, states, localities, and nonprofit community-based organizations. Organized by MDRC, it began in 1992 with a pilot phase to refine the program model and test the feasibility of implementing it at the local level and, despite a variety of implementation challenges, moved into a seven-site demonstration phase in 1994.

    This report presents findings from the demonstration-phase implementation of the program, characteristics of the parents in the sample, and early impacts on two outcomes of interest (fathers’ earnings and child support payments). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Lin, Winston; Robins, Phillip K.; Card, David; Harknett, Kristen; Lui-Gurr, Susanna; Pan, Elsie C.; Mijanovich, Tod; Quets, Gail; Villeneuve, Patrick
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Proponents of welfare reform have struggled for nearly three decades to design programs that would increase work, reduce poverty, and reduce dependence on welfare. Initiatives to increase work have reduced welfare dependence, but have often had little effect on poverty. Initiatives that reduce poverty by providing more income have made recipients better off financially, but have discouraged work. In an effort to address all three of these welfare reform objectives, the Canadian government is testing a new approach. The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) is a research and demonstration project that offers an earnings supplement to welfare recipients who leave welfare for full-time work. The primary objectives of SSP are to increase economic self-sufficiency through work and to reduce welfare dependence. A secondary objective is to reduce poverty.

    Conceived and funded by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and managed by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), SSP offers a temporary earnings supplement to selected single-parent families receiving Income...

    Proponents of welfare reform have struggled for nearly three decades to design programs that would increase work, reduce poverty, and reduce dependence on welfare. Initiatives to increase work have reduced welfare dependence, but have often had little effect on poverty. Initiatives that reduce poverty by providing more income have made recipients better off financially, but have discouraged work. In an effort to address all three of these welfare reform objectives, the Canadian government is testing a new approach. The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) is a research and demonstration project that offers an earnings supplement to welfare recipients who leave welfare for full-time work. The primary objectives of SSP are to increase economic self-sufficiency through work and to reduce welfare dependence. A secondary objective is to reduce poverty.

    Conceived and funded by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and managed by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), SSP offers a temporary earnings supplement to selected single-parent families receiving Income Assistance (welfare) in British Columbia and New Brunswick. To collect the supplement (a monthly cash payment based on actual earnings), a single parent must work full-time and leave Income Assistance. She can then receive the supplement for up to three years, as long as she continues to work full-time and remains off Income Assistance.

    The supplement roughly doubles the earnings of many low-wage workers (before taxes and work-related expenses). SSP addresses a dilemma faced by many welfare recipients: Although they are troubled by their continuing dependence on welfare, work is not a financially attractive alternative, because entry-level wages are too low to make them better off than they would be if they were receiving Income Assistance. Nor would combining work and welfare raise their incomes significantly, because Income Assistance benefits are reduced by nearly the amount they earn. This situation discourages welfare recipients from obtaining jobs and leaving welfare, and many of those who do leave welfare for work eventually return to welfare. By offering a substantial, temporary supplement to earnings, SSP provides an incentive for welfare recipients to enter the full-time labour force and acquire work experience that may eventually lead to higher earnings and economic self-sufficiency.

    In developing this initiative, HRDC recognized the importance of testing the program prior to larger-scale implementation, since substantial program costs were at stake and, in times of tight budgets, the cost of a new program could be justified only if the program had significant benefits. Because many people leave welfare for work on their own, it was not known whether an earnings supplement program would lead to a significant increase in overall work effort above the level of employment that would have been reached without such a program. HRDC therefore decided to test the efficacy of an earnings supplement The feminine pronoun is used throughout this report because the vast majority of single parents receiving Income Assistance are women program under real-world operating conditions, using a random assignment evaluation design.

    Between November 1992 and March 1995, more than 6,000 single parents who were long-term Income Assistance recipients were invited to join the SSP research study. Each of those who accepted was assigned at random to one of two groups: Members of the program group were given the opportunity to participate in the earnings supplement program; members of the control group were not. Because the two groups are similar in all respects except whether they were allowed to participate in the program, the “impact” or effect of SSP can be measured by the difference between the program and control groups’ subsequent experiences. This report examines SSP’s impacts on employment, earnings, Income Assistance receipt, family incomes, poverty, and living conditions during the first 18 months after random assignment (that is, after sample members were randomly assigned to the program and control groups). (author abstract)

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