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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: 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: Venohr, Jane C.; Price, David A.; Van Wert, Laurie Davis; Anders, Christa M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Landmark welfare reform legislation in 1996 — the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) — changed the landscape of public assistance programs dramatically. First, PRWORA eliminated the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which was the major source of public assistance to low-income, single-parent families, and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. PRWORA also changed many policies and procedures that govern implementation of the TANF program. Among those changes, it established a 60-month lifetime limit on the receipt of cash assistance. It also eliminated the requirement that states distribute the first $50 of current child support collections to families and instead gave states the option of whether to distribute and how much of child support collections to distribute to families eligible for TANF benefits. In response to the changes authorized by PRWORA, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a child support passthrough law, which was implemented in January 2001. The law included...

    Landmark welfare reform legislation in 1996 — the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) — changed the landscape of public assistance programs dramatically. First, PRWORA eliminated the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which was the major source of public assistance to low-income, single-parent families, and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. PRWORA also changed many policies and procedures that govern implementation of the TANF program. Among those changes, it established a 60-month lifetime limit on the receipt of cash assistance. It also eliminated the requirement that states distribute the first $50 of current child support collections to families and instead gave states the option of whether to distribute and how much of child support collections to distribute to families eligible for TANF benefits. In response to the changes authorized by PRWORA, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a child support passthrough law, which was implemented in January 2001. The law included the following two key provisions of importance to TANF-eligible families: - All collections of current child support and spousal maintenance must be distributed, or passed through, to the custodial parent; and - All collections passed through to the custodial parent must reduce, dollar for dollar, the amount of cash assistance the family might otherwise have received under TANF. This is known as a zero disregard policy since passed through child support has no effect on the total income the family receives. In seeking to understand the impacts of the passthrough law, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Support Enforcement Division, contracted with  Policy Studies Inc. to conduct an evaluation. (Excerpt from executive summary)

  • Individual Author: Bir, Anupa; Greene, Jody; Pilkauskas, Natasha; Root, Elisabeth; Lerman, Robert; Castaneda, Rosa Maria; Holcomb, Pamela
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    The Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) is a key component of the demonstration strategy of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine how public policies can best support healthy marriages. Two concepts underlie the CHMI strategy. One is that community coalitions can be an effective vehicle for developing a range of healthy marriage and healthy family activities, including classes that build relationship skills, partnerships with clergy and others, celebration days, and media messages about the value of marriage and healthy families. The second is that communities with a critical mass of such activities can exert positive family impacts on individuals and couples directly through their participation in classes and other services and indirectly through their interactions with friends, family, and others in the community who were themselves influenced by a local marriage-related activity sponsored by the local coalition. The goals of the 1115 healthy marriage initiatives are to achieve child support objectives through healthy marriage activities....

    The Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) is a key component of the demonstration strategy of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine how public policies can best support healthy marriages. Two concepts underlie the CHMI strategy. One is that community coalitions can be an effective vehicle for developing a range of healthy marriage and healthy family activities, including classes that build relationship skills, partnerships with clergy and others, celebration days, and media messages about the value of marriage and healthy families. The second is that communities with a critical mass of such activities can exert positive family impacts on individuals and couples directly through their participation in classes and other services and indirectly through their interactions with friends, family, and others in the community who were themselves influenced by a local marriage-related activity sponsored by the local coalition. The goals of the 1115 healthy marriage initiatives are to achieve child support objectives through healthy marriage activities.

    This report focuses on the role of community coalitions in supporting healthy marriage activities and presents a description and analysis of the early implementation of the section 1115 child support waiver demonstration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a city of nearly 190,000 people. This report provides evidence that a local community coalition can leverage sufficient resources to stimulate a substantial amount of marriage-related and family relationship activities at a modest cost. This report does not address the question of impacts on marriage or child support outcomes of participants or others in the community. Healthy Marriages Healthy Relationships’ initial operations should be viewed as a pilot of community approaches to healthy marriage that, given time and available funding, could develop into a full-scale community healthy marriage initiative.

    Healthy Marriages Healthy Relationships (HMHR) is a community-based initiative that delivers relationship skills-building services intended to encourage healthy relationships between parents, and between parents and their children, and to further the objectives of child support enforcement by increasing the financial well-being of children in a low-income, urban area of Grand Rapids. The HMHR Project in Grand Rapids was awarded a Child Support Enforcement Demonstration Section 1115 waiver in June 2003 and began operations in October 2003. To examine how HMHR became operational, how it formed and maintained community coalitions, and how it began operations, RTI/Urban Institute staff collected information from several sources, including a site visit in December 2004, monthly project status update calls, a focus group with recent recipients of local marriage- and parenting-education services, and data on individuals participating in HMHR classes (drawn from HMHR’s Management Information System [MIS]). Because HMHR is still at a relatively early stage of operation, and some of the report’s material is based on operations as of December 2004, readers should view this report as providing a snapshot of the constantly evolving and developing community initiative. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dion, M. Robin; Avellar, Sarah A.; Zaveri, Heather H.; Hershey, Alan M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    The BSF project is both a demonstration and a rigorous evaluation. The evaluation will thoroughly analyze whether the intervention is successful in improving the outcomes of the couples and their children. Interested and eligible couples are randomly assigned to either the program group or to a control group. Program group couples are invited to participate in the BSF intervention; control group couples are free to receive whatever services may be available except the BSF program. Randomly assigning couples in this way eliminates the concern that differences between couples who choose to participate in the program and those who do not would generate differences in outcomes that would obscure the true effects of the program. This could happen, for example, if these couples had greater commitment or stability in their relationship compared to couples who did not express interest in the program. With random assignment, differences in outcomes are unbiased and can be attributed to the program.

    An initial pilot stage offered seven local sites the opportunity to develop...

    The BSF project is both a demonstration and a rigorous evaluation. The evaluation will thoroughly analyze whether the intervention is successful in improving the outcomes of the couples and their children. Interested and eligible couples are randomly assigned to either the program group or to a control group. Program group couples are invited to participate in the BSF intervention; control group couples are free to receive whatever services may be available except the BSF program. Randomly assigning couples in this way eliminates the concern that differences between couples who choose to participate in the program and those who do not would generate differences in outcomes that would obscure the true effects of the program. This could happen, for example, if these couples had greater commitment or stability in their relationship compared to couples who did not express interest in the program. With random assignment, differences in outcomes are unbiased and can be attributed to the program.

    An initial pilot stage offered seven local sites the opportunity to develop programs in accordance with the BSF model and make refinements based on early experiences. At the end of the pilot, sites were selected for the evaluation. To be selected, sites had to demonstrate that they could effectively implement the program model and recruit and retain a sufficient number of couples. All seven pilot sites qualified for the evaluation, although some conditions must still be fulfilled in some sites.

    This report documents early lessons from the program development and pilot stages of the project. The information we draw on was gathered during the pilot period, which generally ran from February 2005 to February 2006. Since that time, all sites have expanded into full-scale operations, and changes may be occurring as a result of ongoing experience and technical assistance. Therefore, current practices may differ somewhat from what is reported here.

    Although this report is based on a very early stage of the BSF project, it represents a policy-relevant advance in our understanding of the field of healthy marriage initiatives—particularly in terms of the strategies that hold promise for supporting low-income unwed couples as they strive to achieve their aspirations for a healthy marriage. The report does not analyze impacts, nor does it replace a full-scale implementation study, which will not be available for another year. It does, however, document the successes and challenges experienced by the BSF pilot sites and the approaches they took to address these challenges. It also sheds some light on the types of families that are attracted to the BSF program and on their responses to it. As such, the report offers lessons not only for federal policymakers, but also for other states, agencies, and program practitioners seeking to develop similar programs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Joshi, Pamela; Flaherty, Scott; Corwin, Elise; Bir, Anupa; Lerman, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    In 2002, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) instituted the Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) evaluation to document operational lessons and assess the effectiveness of community-based approaches to support healthy relationships and marriages and child well-being. A component of the CHMI study involves implementation research on demonstrations approved by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. The goals of the demonstrations are to achieve child support objectives through community engagement and service delivery activities related to healthy marriage and relationship (HMR) education programs.

    A series of reports is being produced on the implementation of the Section 1115 projects. A total of 14 programs are included in the CHMI evaluation implementation study. Earlier reports covered the implementation of demonstrations in five locations: Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Grand Rapids, MI; Jacksonville, FL; and Nampa, ID. This report focuses on the demonstrations in Minneapolis, MN;...

    In 2002, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) instituted the Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) evaluation to document operational lessons and assess the effectiveness of community-based approaches to support healthy relationships and marriages and child well-being. A component of the CHMI study involves implementation research on demonstrations approved by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. The goals of the demonstrations are to achieve child support objectives through community engagement and service delivery activities related to healthy marriage and relationship (HMR) education programs.

    A series of reports is being produced on the implementation of the Section 1115 projects. A total of 14 programs are included in the CHMI evaluation implementation study. Earlier reports covered the implementation of demonstrations in five locations: Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Grand Rapids, MI; Jacksonville, FL; and Nampa, ID. This report focuses on the demonstrations in Minneapolis, MN; Lexington, KY; New Orleans, LA, Atlanta, GA; and Denver, CO. The report examines community engagement efforts, the design and implementation of service delivery (healthy marriage and relationship training workshops and related services), and links with child support. It does not present estimates of program impacts or effectiveness. The report is based on site visits conducted from November 2008 to June 2009, a time when the sites were in various stages of program implementation—demonstrations in Denver and Minneapolis were each in the last year of funding, whereas the other three demonstrations were in earlier stages of implementation.(author abstract)

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