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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: 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; 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: Hayes, Eileen ; Sherwood, Kay
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2000

    The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum is intended to assist fathers in more effectively fulfilling their roles as parents, partners, and workers. It was developed over a number of years' use in the peer support groups that were the "glue" of the Parents' Fair Share Demonstration for low-income noncustodial fathers. Anyone operating a program for fathers -- or even for mothers -- will find the curriculum a rich source of useful, down-to-earth material organized into 20 sessions on dealing with issues such as male-female relationships, fathers as providers, managing conflict and anger (on and off the job), and race and racism. The curriculum materials are contained in 21 files in PDF format, each containing the material for one session of the curriculum. Use the links in the Contents section below to access the session files. Each session has bookmarks to specific activities within the session that can be accessed using the "show navigation pane" option on the Acrobat Reader toolbar. (author abstract)

    The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum is intended to assist fathers in more effectively fulfilling their roles as parents, partners, and workers. It was developed over a number of years' use in the peer support groups that were the "glue" of the Parents' Fair Share Demonstration for low-income noncustodial fathers. Anyone operating a program for fathers -- or even for mothers -- will find the curriculum a rich source of useful, down-to-earth material organized into 20 sessions on dealing with issues such as male-female relationships, fathers as providers, managing conflict and anger (on and off the job), and race and racism. The curriculum materials are contained in 21 files in PDF format, each containing the material for one session of the curriculum. Use the links in the Contents section below to access the session files. Each session has bookmarks to specific activities within the session that can be accessed using the "show navigation pane" option on the Acrobat Reader toolbar. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Knox, Virginia; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    For the past two decades, the nation's efforts to reform the welfare system and the child support system have often proceeded on separate tracks. However, there has been a growing realization that neither has very explicitly considered how to work with the group of men who bridge them both: low-income noncustodial fathers whose children receive welfare. The Parents' Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration, run from 1994 to 1996, was aimed at increasing the ability of these fathers to attain well-paying jobs, increase their child support payments — to increase their involvement in parenting in other ways. These reports — one examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' financial and nonfinancial involvement with their children and the other examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' employment and earnings — provide important insights into policies aimed at this key group. (author abstract)

    For the past two decades, the nation's efforts to reform the welfare system and the child support system have often proceeded on separate tracks. However, there has been a growing realization that neither has very explicitly considered how to work with the group of men who bridge them both: low-income noncustodial fathers whose children receive welfare. The Parents' Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration, run from 1994 to 1996, was aimed at increasing the ability of these fathers to attain well-paying jobs, increase their child support payments — to increase their involvement in parenting in other ways. These reports — one examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' financial and nonfinancial involvement with their children and the other examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' employment and earnings — provide important insights into policies aimed at this key group. (author abstract)

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