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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: Quint, Janet; Bos, Johannes; Polit, Denise
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    New Chance, a national research and demonstration program that operated between 1989 and 1992, was developed in a policy context marked by intense concern about teenage childbearing. That concern reflected the public's distress about three developments: the dramatic increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing over the past three decades, the long-term welfare costs incurred by young, poor women who become mothers, and the negative life prospects faced by their children. Little was known, however, about what kinds of programs and policies could help young mothers on welfare attain economic independence and could foster their children's development as well.

    The New Chance Demonstration was a rare and important opportunity to test the value of comprehensive services in assisting a disadvantaged group of families headed by young mothers who had first given birth as teenagers, who had dropped out of high school, and who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program, which operated in 16 locations (or "sites") in 10 states across...

    New Chance, a national research and demonstration program that operated between 1989 and 1992, was developed in a policy context marked by intense concern about teenage childbearing. That concern reflected the public's distress about three developments: the dramatic increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing over the past three decades, the long-term welfare costs incurred by young, poor women who become mothers, and the negative life prospects faced by their children. Little was known, however, about what kinds of programs and policies could help young mothers on welfare attain economic independence and could foster their children's development as well.

    The New Chance Demonstration was a rare and important opportunity to test the value of comprehensive services in assisting a disadvantaged group of families headed by young mothers who had first given birth as teenagers, who had dropped out of high school, and who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program, which operated in 16 locations (or "sites") in 10 states across the country, sought to help the young mothers acquire educational and vocational credentials and skills so that they could secure jobs offering opportunities for advancement and could thereby reduce, and eventually eliminate, their use of welfare. It also sought to motivate and assist participants in postponing additional childbearing and to help them become better parents. Finally, New Chance was explicitly "two-generational" in its approach, seeking to enhance the cognitive abilities, health, and socioemotional well-being of enrollees' children. The program was, for the most part, voluntary; that is, young women were generally not required to attend in order to receive public assistance. Instead, most joined it because they wanted to earn their General Educational Development (GED, or high school equivalency) certificates and the program offered free child care to enable them to participate.

    To evaluate the program's effectiveness, young women who applied and were determined to be eligible for New Chance were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the experimental group, whose members could enroll in the program, or the control group, whose members could not join New Chance but could receive other services available in their communities. To ascertain both short- and longer-term program effects, comparable information was collected from each member of both groups through in-home survey interviews conducted approximately 1½ and 3½ years after the individual had been randomly assigned. The measured average differences between the two groups' outcomes over time (such as their differences in rates of GED attainment, employment, or subsequent childbearing) and between the outcomes for their children are the observed results (or impacts) of New Chance. This, the final report on the New Chance program and its impacts, examines the trajectories of 2,079 young mothers who responded to the 3½-year survey.  (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John; Strong, Debra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency...

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency collaborations in effect. No single strategy or set of services predominates. Rather, local grant recipients have discretion in developing and implementing program models, within the parameters of the WtW regulations. Thus, the experiences of these programs illustrate a variety of strategies and approaches that are being implemented around the nation and highlight key issues that must be addressed to serve this population group. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gennetian, Lisa A.; Miller, Cynthia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    In 1994, the state of Minnesota began a major welfare reform initiative aimed at encouraging work, reducing dependence on public assistance, and reducing poverty. The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) differed from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) system in three key ways: (1) Financial incentives to work. In MFIP, more earnings were disregarded when calculating grant levels, and child care payments were paid directly to providers; (2) Participation requirements for long-term recipients. If not working full time, long-term welfare recipients had to participate in services designed to move them quickly into the workforce., and; (3) Simplification of rules and procedures. MFIP combined AFDC, Food Stamps, and the state-run Family General Assistance (FGA) program into a single program with one set of rules and procedures and one monthly payment.

    A central concern surrounding the recent wave of welfare reforms is how children will fare if their parents are subject to such policies as work mandates, time limits, and enhanced earnings disregards....

    In 1994, the state of Minnesota began a major welfare reform initiative aimed at encouraging work, reducing dependence on public assistance, and reducing poverty. The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) differed from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) system in three key ways: (1) Financial incentives to work. In MFIP, more earnings were disregarded when calculating grant levels, and child care payments were paid directly to providers; (2) Participation requirements for long-term recipients. If not working full time, long-term welfare recipients had to participate in services designed to move them quickly into the workforce., and; (3) Simplification of rules and procedures. MFIP combined AFDC, Food Stamps, and the state-run Family General Assistance (FGA) program into a single program with one set of rules and procedures and one monthly payment.

    A central concern surrounding the recent wave of welfare reforms is how children will fare if their parents are subject to such policies as work mandates, time limits, and enhanced earnings disregards. Although research in child development suggests that children are affected by changes in their parents’ employment, income, and other aspects of the family environment, the net effects of these types of programs are not well understood. The findings in this report present one of the first looks at the effects of an innovative welfare reform policy on children. It also provides an unusual opportunity to more broadly assess how changes in income and employment can affect children’s outcomes. MFIP began operating in April 1994 in three urban and four rural Minnesota counties, and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), under contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), has been tracking its implementation and effects. Between April 1994 and March 1996, over 14,000 families were assigned at random, using a lottery-type process, to either the MFIP or the AFDC system. This study, which focuses on family and child well-being, follows a sample of families in the urban counties of the MFIP evaluation who had a child age 2 to 9 at the time of random assignment. MFIP’s effects on families and children are assessed by comparing the outcomes for the experimental group (MFIP) and the control group (AFDC) three years after they entered the evaluation. Reforming Welfare and Rewarding Work: Final Report on the Minnesota Family Investment Program, Effects on Adults, Volume 1 of the final report on MFIP, discusses adults in the study and focuses on MFIP’s effects on such economic outcomes as employment, earnings, welfare receipt, and income for the full evaluation sample. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pearson, Jessica; Griswold, Esther Ann; Thoennes, Nancy
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    This article reports on three demonstration projects involving efforts to address the needs of public assistance applicants/recipients who are domestic violence victims while also developing effective methods to improve cooperation with child support agencies. Through various approaches, such as direct questioning, screening and referrals, and domestic violence specialists, the projects explore ways to identify victims of domestic violence, levels of interest in child support and exemptions, barriers to cooperation, and clients' responses to specialists and referrals for community-based services. (Author abstract)

    This article reports on three demonstration projects involving efforts to address the needs of public assistance applicants/recipients who are domestic violence victims while also developing effective methods to improve cooperation with child support agencies. Through various approaches, such as direct questioning, screening and referrals, and domestic violence specialists, the projects explore ways to identify victims of domestic violence, levels of interest in child support and exemptions, barriers to cooperation, and clients' responses to specialists and referrals for community-based services. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brooks, Jennifer L.; Hair, Elizabeth C.; Zaslow, Martha J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    With the passage of the 1996 welfare reform law, numerous commentators expressed concern about what “ending welfare as we know it” would mean for the young children of welfare recipients. These children, after all, would be experiencing significant changes in their everyday lives as their mothers, who had relied on public assistance to support their families, entered or prepared to enter the work force. However, little concern was expressed about how the adolescent children of welfare recipients might fare as a result of the changes ushered in by the historic new legislation.

    Despite the expectation that older children would be relatively less affected by welfare reform than their younger counterparts, recent experimental evaluations of welfare-to-work programs suggest that the adolescent sons and daughters in welfare households are indeed affected when their parents are assigned to participate in these programs. What’s more, it seems that these young people may be negatively affected by this participation.

    In this Research Brief, we describe these negative impacts...

    With the passage of the 1996 welfare reform law, numerous commentators expressed concern about what “ending welfare as we know it” would mean for the young children of welfare recipients. These children, after all, would be experiencing significant changes in their everyday lives as their mothers, who had relied on public assistance to support their families, entered or prepared to enter the work force. However, little concern was expressed about how the adolescent children of welfare recipients might fare as a result of the changes ushered in by the historic new legislation.

    Despite the expectation that older children would be relatively less affected by welfare reform than their younger counterparts, recent experimental evaluations of welfare-to-work programs suggest that the adolescent sons and daughters in welfare households are indeed affected when their parents are assigned to participate in these programs. What’s more, it seems that these young people may be negatively affected by this participation.

    In this Research Brief, we describe these negative impacts and explore the possible explanations for these unexpected findings in light of available data and the research literature on child development. We conclude with key issues for policy makers to take into account when considering policies to support adolescent development in families affected by welfare reform. This brief is one of a series being prepared by researchers at Child Trends to help inform the public debate surrounding the 2002 reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, the centerpiece of the 1996 welfare law. (author abstract)

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