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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: Wu, Lawrence L.; Thomson, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In this paper, we examine the effects of family structure on age at first sexual intercourse before marriage for recent cohorts of women. Previous research on the linkage between family structure and sexual initiation has employed relatively crude measures of family structure-typically a snapshot of the respondent's family structure at age 14. We use retrospective parent histories from the 1979-87 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to construct dynamic measures of family structure, using information on the number and types of parents in the respondent's household between birth and age 18. We use these measures to test the effects of prolonged exposure to a single-mother family, prolonged absence of a biological father, parental presence during adolescence, and instability in family structure. For white women, age-specific rates of first sexual intercourse are significantly and positively associated with time-varying measures for the number of family transitions; for black women, age-specific rates are significantly and positively associated with time-varying variables for...

    In this paper, we examine the effects of family structure on age at first sexual intercourse before marriage for recent cohorts of women. Previous research on the linkage between family structure and sexual initiation has employed relatively crude measures of family structure-typically a snapshot of the respondent's family structure at age 14. We use retrospective parent histories from the 1979-87 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to construct dynamic measures of family structure, using information on the number and types of parents in the respondent's household between birth and age 18. We use these measures to test the effects of prolonged exposure to a single-mother family, prolonged absence of a biological father, parental presence during adolescence, and instability in family structure. For white women, age-specific rates of first sexual intercourse are significantly and positively associated with time-varying measures for the number of family transitions; for black women, age-specific rates are significantly and positively associated with time-varying variables for having resided in a mother-only or father-only family during adolescence. Net of other effects of family structure, we find no significant effects for white or black women of being born out of wedlock, prolonged exposure to a single-mother family, or prolonged absence of a biological father. We interpret our results for white women as consistent with a turbulence and instability hypothesis, but as providing little support for socialization or parental-control hypotheses; for black women, our results are consistent with the parental-control hypothesis, but provide little support for the socialization and turbulence hypotheses. Overall, these findings suggest that the processes influencing the transition to sexual activity may vary quite markedly for white and black women. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Massey, Douglass S.; Denton, Nancy A.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1998

    American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to “hypersegregation.”

    Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes,...

    American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to “hypersegregation.”

    Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes, behaviors, and practices that further marginalize their neighborhoods and undermine their chances of success in mainstream American society. This book is a sober challenge to those who argue that race is of declining significance in the United States today. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mincy, Ronald B.; Sorensen, Elaine J.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1998

    Child support reforms have focused almost exclusively on punitive measures, driven by the stereotypical image of a "deadbeat dad" who can afford to pay child support but refuses to do so. This image fits some noncustodial fathers, but ignores the diverse nature of this population. We show that lack of income is a significant barrier to child support payments for 16 to 33 percent of young noncustodial fathers, whom we call "turnips" after the common saying that "You can't get blood from a turnip." Furthermore, the characteristics of turnips are similar to those of custodial mothers who are long-term welfare recipients—both are disproportionately composed of young, poorly educated, never-married minorities with little work experience. These findings suggest that a new approach to child support enforcement is needed, one that offers these fathers flexible child support orders that both reflect their current economic circumstances and provide employment and training assistance to enable them to meet their child support obligations in the future (author abstract).

    Child support reforms have focused almost exclusively on punitive measures, driven by the stereotypical image of a "deadbeat dad" who can afford to pay child support but refuses to do so. This image fits some noncustodial fathers, but ignores the diverse nature of this population. We show that lack of income is a significant barrier to child support payments for 16 to 33 percent of young noncustodial fathers, whom we call "turnips" after the common saying that "You can't get blood from a turnip." Furthermore, the characteristics of turnips are similar to those of custodial mothers who are long-term welfare recipients—both are disproportionately composed of young, poorly educated, never-married minorities with little work experience. These findings suggest that a new approach to child support enforcement is needed, one that offers these fathers flexible child support orders that both reflect their current economic circumstances and provide employment and training assistance to enable them to meet their child support obligations in the future (author abstract).

  • Individual Author: Turetsky, Vicki
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The child support program was created to accomplish two missions. First, the program was established to promote parental responsibility and to help families remain self-supporting without the need for public assistance. Second, the program was set up to reimburse federal and state AFDC costs. Unfortunately, the service delivery role has typically taken a backseat to the cost-recovery role. From the start, it was easier to sell the program to state legislatures as a way to generate state revenues. Although state child support programs are perceived by Congress and state legislatures to be "resource-rich," in fact state programs have been only partially successful in capturing program revenues to fund child support services. In particular, state programs have had difficulty obtaining state legislative authorization to increase child support staffing levels.

    Today’s funding reality is that welfare collections are declining and non-welfare expenditures are increasing as families move off and stay off of TANF at unprecedented rates. Nationwide, about two-thirds of families...

    The child support program was created to accomplish two missions. First, the program was established to promote parental responsibility and to help families remain self-supporting without the need for public assistance. Second, the program was set up to reimburse federal and state AFDC costs. Unfortunately, the service delivery role has typically taken a backseat to the cost-recovery role. From the start, it was easier to sell the program to state legislatures as a way to generate state revenues. Although state child support programs are perceived by Congress and state legislatures to be "resource-rich," in fact state programs have been only partially successful in capturing program revenues to fund child support services. In particular, state programs have had difficulty obtaining state legislative authorization to increase child support staffing levels.

    Today’s funding reality is that welfare collections are declining and non-welfare expenditures are increasing as families move off and stay off of TANF at unprecedented rates. Nationwide, about two-thirds of families receiving child support services have left welfare or never received it. State dependence on welfare collections to help fund the program is creating an unstable funding environment for the program, and builds in tension between TANF and child support programs to decrease the TANF caseload, yet prevent welfare collections from falling.

    The recent changes brought about by TANF, combined with long-term trends in the child support caseload, have resulted in a misalignment between the program’s ability to deliver effective services to families and a fiscal structure that emphasizes cost-recovery. There is growing concern that many state child support programs are seriously underfunded and understaffed. The belief that the child support program should be a money-maker may have led to under- investment of new state dollars into the program, and under-accountability for program results. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Zedlewski, Sheila R.; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Duke, Amy-Ellen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Because states varied considerably in their use of waivers, substantial diversity already existed among states' welfare programs when Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was created in mid-1996. This paper examines how this diversity influenced initial state actions regarding TANF. It highlights trends and patterns in policy as well as choices made in light of states' historical approaches to welfare. (author abstract)

    Because states varied considerably in their use of waivers, substantial diversity already existed among states' welfare programs when Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was created in mid-1996. This paper examines how this diversity influenced initial state actions regarding TANF. It highlights trends and patterns in policy as well as choices made in light of states' historical approaches to welfare. (author abstract)

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