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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: Aguiar, Marcelo; Araújo, Carlos Henrique
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This study provides an overview of Brazil’s Bolsa Escola (now Bolsa Família), a CCT program that targets extremely poor families.  It includes an extensive discussion of the history of the Brazilian government’s role in combating poverty, as well as differences between poverty in First World and peripheral countries.  It also highlights the complexities of defining, distinguishing and addressing poverty, inequality, and social exclusion.  The study documents the social and political context, history, and outcomes of Bolsa Escola.  Qualitative and quantitative evaluation results show that the program has been successful in keeping children in school, decreasing child labor, improving child nutrition, and enabling families to save money to improve their standard of living.  It has also empowered women who receive the payments to have more influence in making decisions within a household. (SSRC abstract)

    This study provides an overview of Brazil’s Bolsa Escola (now Bolsa Família), a CCT program that targets extremely poor families.  It includes an extensive discussion of the history of the Brazilian government’s role in combating poverty, as well as differences between poverty in First World and peripheral countries.  It also highlights the complexities of defining, distinguishing and addressing poverty, inequality, and social exclusion.  The study documents the social and political context, history, and outcomes of Bolsa Escola.  Qualitative and quantitative evaluation results show that the program has been successful in keeping children in school, decreasing child labor, improving child nutrition, and enabling families to save money to improve their standard of living.  It has also empowered women who receive the payments to have more influence in making decisions within a household. (SSRC abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gennetian, Lisa A.; Duncan, Greg J.; Knox, Virginia W.; Vargas, Wanda G.; Clark-Kauffman, Elizabeth; London, Andrew S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The federal law that overhauled the nation's welfare system in 1996 aimed to break the cycle of poverty through its effects not only on welfare recipients but also on their children. While it was feared that some of the policy changes might harm young children, it was generally believed that older children would benefit from new community norms and the presence of working parents as role models. But analyses from several MDRC studies released in recent years suggest that the new policies did not bring benefits to adolescents. With reauthorization of the 1996 law now under debate, the Next Generation project — an innovative collaboration among MDRC and other leading research institutions — has produced this research synthesis, the first comprehensive and systematic look at how welfare and work policies targeted at low-income parents have influenced their adolescent children. Using meta-analytic techniques, the work integrates survey data collected from parents in eight MDRC studies of 16 different welfare and employment programs, focusing on children aged 12 to 18 when the surveys...

    The federal law that overhauled the nation's welfare system in 1996 aimed to break the cycle of poverty through its effects not only on welfare recipients but also on their children. While it was feared that some of the policy changes might harm young children, it was generally believed that older children would benefit from new community norms and the presence of working parents as role models. But analyses from several MDRC studies released in recent years suggest that the new policies did not bring benefits to adolescents. With reauthorization of the 1996 law now under debate, the Next Generation project — an innovative collaboration among MDRC and other leading research institutions — has produced this research synthesis, the first comprehensive and systematic look at how welfare and work policies targeted at low-income parents have influenced their adolescent children. Using meta-analytic techniques, the work integrates survey data collected from parents in eight MDRC studies of 16 different welfare and employment programs, focusing on children aged 12 to 18 when the surveys were conducted; it also draws on ethnographic case studies to flesh out the quantitative findings.

    In each study, some parents were randomly assigned to a program that included some combination of three key policies — mandatory employment activities, earnings supplements, and time limits on welfare receipt — while others were randomly assigned to a control group that was neither eligible for the program's services nor subject to its requirements. Random assignment ensures that any differences that emerged between the two groups — or their children - are attributable to the program. Although the studies examined programs that began operating before 1996, the three policies examined here have been adopted, in various combinations, in many states' programs since welfare reform was passed. Thus, this is the best body of evidence to date concerning how low-income adolescents fare as a result of policies aimed at increasing their parents' employment. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fender, Lynne; McKernan, Signe-Mary; Bernstein, Jenny
    Reference Type: Report, Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2002

    Given these difficulties associated with identifying state TANF policies, it became desirable to create a method of organizing the information in a way that would serve many purposes, primarily to organize, describe, and analyze the complex policy choices states have made. The Urban Institute developed the Welfare Rules Database (WRD) to provide a single location where information on program rules regarding eligibility, benefits, time limits, work requirements, sanctions, and more could be researched across states and across time, without the need to consult multiple documents. The State Policy Documentation Project (SPDP) is another source for state TANF policy, though less detailed and longitudinal than the WRD.

    The next logical step is to develop a method for categorizing state TANF and related policies into typologies that facilitate analysis of links between them and outcomes, and that facilitate analysis that clusters states along broad policy dimensions. The goal of this current study is to take that next step — to lay the groundwork for facilitating research across...

    Given these difficulties associated with identifying state TANF policies, it became desirable to create a method of organizing the information in a way that would serve many purposes, primarily to organize, describe, and analyze the complex policy choices states have made. The Urban Institute developed the Welfare Rules Database (WRD) to provide a single location where information on program rules regarding eligibility, benefits, time limits, work requirements, sanctions, and more could be researched across states and across time, without the need to consult multiple documents. The State Policy Documentation Project (SPDP) is another source for state TANF policy, though less detailed and longitudinal than the WRD.

    The next logical step is to develop a method for categorizing state TANF and related policies into typologies that facilitate analysis of links between them and outcomes, and that facilitate analysis that clusters states along broad policy dimensions. The goal of this current study is to take that next step — to lay the groundwork for facilitating research across states linking state TANF policies to outcomes, by grouping TANF and related policies into selected summary and independent variables thought to affect a selected outcome. In this study we develop six typologies of TANF and related policies, build a public-use database based on the typologies, and analyze one of the typologies using factor and cluster analysis. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bloom, Dan; Farrell, Mary; Fink, Barbara; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Few features of the 1990s welfare reforms have generated as much attention and controversy as time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits first emerged at the state level and subsequently became a central feature of federal welfare policy in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which imposed a 60-month time limit on federally funded assistance for most families.

    To inform discussions about the reauthorization of PRWORA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of what is known about time limits. The project included a survey of state welfare agencies (conducted for MDRC by The Lewin Group), site visits to examine the implementation of time limits, and a review of research on time limits.

    Though a simple idea, time limits raise a host of complex issues in practice. Many experts believe that time limits have played a key role in reshaping welfare, but the knowledge base about this key policy change is still...

    Few features of the 1990s welfare reforms have generated as much attention and controversy as time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits first emerged at the state level and subsequently became a central feature of federal welfare policy in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which imposed a 60-month time limit on federally funded assistance for most families.

    To inform discussions about the reauthorization of PRWORA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of what is known about time limits. The project included a survey of state welfare agencies (conducted for MDRC by The Lewin Group), site visits to examine the implementation of time limits, and a review of research on time limits.

    Though a simple idea, time limits raise a host of complex issues in practice. Many experts believe that time limits have played a key role in reshaping welfare, but the knowledge base about this key policy change is still thin. Few families have reached the federal time limit, and it is too early to draw conclusions about how states will respond as more families reach limits or how families will fare without benefits over the long-term, in varying economic conditions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Magnuson, Katherine A.; Duncan, Greg J.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2002

    Challenging even in circumstances of middle-income families, successful parenting is extraordinarily difficult when either family or neighborhood economic resources are inadequate. In this chapter we review the conceptual and empirical linkages between poverty and parenting, focusing mostly on the economic dimension of poverty at the family rather than the neighborhood level, and almost exclusively on the United States.

    Poverty has been defined as a state of lacking “a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2001). Income in general and poverty in particular, although correlated, are distinct from the more conventional education and occupational status markers of family socioeconomic status. Because of the importance of this distinction, we begin our chapter with a primer on poverty measurement and trends.

    Research on parenting in poverty has been driven largely by a desire to understand why poor children, compared with more affluent children, are at greater risk of poor school achievement, behavior problems,...

    Challenging even in circumstances of middle-income families, successful parenting is extraordinarily difficult when either family or neighborhood economic resources are inadequate. In this chapter we review the conceptual and empirical linkages between poverty and parenting, focusing mostly on the economic dimension of poverty at the family rather than the neighborhood level, and almost exclusively on the United States.

    Poverty has been defined as a state of lacking “a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2001). Income in general and poverty in particular, although correlated, are distinct from the more conventional education and occupational status markers of family socioeconomic status. Because of the importance of this distinction, we begin our chapter with a primer on poverty measurement and trends.

    Research on parenting in poverty has been driven largely by a desire to understand why poor children, compared with more affluent children, are at greater risk of poor school achievement, behavior problems, and poor health. The strength and consistency of these associations are striking. Brooks-Gunn and Duncan (1997) summarized the higher risks for poor relative to nonpoor children as follows: 1.7 times for low birth weight, 2.0 times for having a short hospital stay, 2.0 times for grade repetition and high school dropout, 1.4 times for learning disability, 1.3 times for a parent reported emotional or behavior problem, 3.1 times for a teenage out-of-wedlock birth, 6.8 times for reported cases of child abuse and neglect, and 2.2 times for experiencing violent crime.

    These associations say little about the processes by which poverty affects children. Identifying causal pathways is important not only for the greater understanding of how poverty affects children, but also because it can lead to policy and program interventions to improve the life chances of poor children. Ecological models of child development (e.g., Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Sameroff and Fiese, 1990) argue that children’s developmental pathways are determined by their interactions with their environment, so research on the pathways through which income affects children have focused largely on the most immediate, family-based environments. Parenting, defined both narrowly as micro interactions and more broadly as gatekeeping activities, was one of the first pathways that researchers thought might link economic hardship to child well-being, and it remains one of the most explored.

    Most of the research that we review has been conducted in the United States. Given the pervasive influence of culture on parenting practices but with little comparative international or cross-cultural work on parents in poverty, it is difficult to conjecture whether the processes we highlight operate outside of the United States. Consequently, we limit our discussion of the effects of poverty on parenting to the U.S. context, but see great value in comparative studies, and studies in diverse cultural contexts, that address whether parents’ responses to poverty differ across cultures.

    After our primer on poverty, we identify issues at the center of the study of parenting in poverty. Next we discuss the methodological challenges of this type of research and present a selective review of relevant research on parenting in poverty. We conclude the chapter with our suggestions for future research directions. (author abstract)

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