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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: 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: Pennsylvania University, National Center on Fathers and Families
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 1998

    In December 1998, approximately 100 researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and other specialists in the field of fathers and families convened the Welfare Reform, Fathers, and Families roundtable to explore to potential of enabling services for low-income, noncustodial fathers in the context of welfare reform and child support enforcement. This report synthesizes the discussion of the themes of the meeting and their implications for policymaking, the directions they indicate for future research, and the lessons they impart for practice. The first section of this report describes the current and emerging issues in welfare reform, child support enforcement, and fatherhood initiatives. The second section explores the implications of the issues raised for policymaking. The third section offers new directions for research that arose from the discussion, and the fourth section describes lessons learned for practice. The report concludes with the roundtable agenda and a list of participants. (author abstract)

    In December 1998, approximately 100 researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and other specialists in the field of fathers and families convened the Welfare Reform, Fathers, and Families roundtable to explore to potential of enabling services for low-income, noncustodial fathers in the context of welfare reform and child support enforcement. This report synthesizes the discussion of the themes of the meeting and their implications for policymaking, the directions they indicate for future research, and the lessons they impart for practice. The first section of this report describes the current and emerging issues in welfare reform, child support enforcement, and fatherhood initiatives. The second section explores the implications of the issues raised for policymaking. The third section offers new directions for research that arose from the discussion, and the fourth section describes lessons learned for practice. The report concludes with the roundtable agenda and a list of participants. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Barton, Paul E.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    This report attempts to assemble data on the trends that are favorable or unfavorable to independence from welfare. Twelve such conditions are examined in this report, and they are summarized in table form, with an indication of the direction of the trend and comments. The information is also summarized in narrative form to give an idea of what may be expected for welfare in the future. Overall, the trends that relate to family structure are unfavorable, with a slightly decreasing birth rate outside marriage being offset by the increase in births to teenage mothers. Figures relating to poverty that causes people to seek welfare assistance have been fairly constant. The proportion of the poor who do apply for welfare is rising, and contributing to higher dependency rates. Trend data are not available for literacy, an important component of independence, but the current state of literacy is not favorable for reducing dependence. The state of the economy is favorable to fostering independence; and the job market, while it has been unfavorable for welfare dependent persons, is...

    This report attempts to assemble data on the trends that are favorable or unfavorable to independence from welfare. Twelve such conditions are examined in this report, and they are summarized in table form, with an indication of the direction of the trend and comments. The information is also summarized in narrative form to give an idea of what may be expected for welfare in the future. Overall, the trends that relate to family structure are unfavorable, with a slightly decreasing birth rate outside marriage being offset by the increase in births to teenage mothers. Figures relating to poverty that causes people to seek welfare assistance have been fairly constant. The proportion of the poor who do apply for welfare is rising, and contributing to higher dependency rates. Trend data are not available for literacy, an important component of independence, but the current state of literacy is not favorable for reducing dependence. The state of the economy is favorable to fostering independence; and the job market, while it has been unfavorable for welfare dependent persons, is improving. The trends in social deviancy (crime in particular) are not favorable to reducing dependence. If people are removed from the welfare rolls because of arbitrary time caps, the rate of being on welfare will not reflect need. New measures of deprivation may be needed to show how many people are in great need, independent of the welfare rate. The following indicators are discussed: (1) literacy; (2) poverty; (3) employment prospects; (4) early sexual intercourse; (5) births outside of marriage; (6) establishing fatherhood; (7) child support enforcement; (8) intergenerational dependence; (9) teenage violent crime; (10) adult incarceration; (11) the welfare choice; and (12) deprivation indicators. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bernard, Stanley
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    This issue brief discusses those provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996—P.L. 104-193 (PRA), and those in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) that are related to fatherhood.* It gives some suggestions to states on how to promote responsible fatherhood given the federal laws, presents some of the previous welfare laws related to fatherhood, and provides a brief overview of PRA provisions that affect fathers. (author abstract) 

    The original hyperlink to this resource has been removed by the publisher. You may obtain a single use PDF by emailing the SSRC at ssrc@opressrc.org

    This issue brief discusses those provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996—P.L. 104-193 (PRA), and those in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) that are related to fatherhood.* It gives some suggestions to states on how to promote responsible fatherhood given the federal laws, presents some of the previous welfare laws related to fatherhood, and provides a brief overview of PRA provisions that affect fathers. (author abstract) 

    The original hyperlink to this resource has been removed by the publisher. You may obtain a single use PDF by emailing the SSRC at ssrc@opressrc.org

  • Individual Author: Johnson, Earl S.; Levine, Ann; Doolittle, Fred C.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1999

    This book examines the experiences of 32 men participating in Parents' Fair Share (PFS), which was designed to help them get better jobs, pay child support, and become more involved with their children. All participants were low-income, noncustodial fathers who were not paying court mandated child support. Most were African American or Latino and lived in inner city, low-income neighborhoods. Data came from semi-structured interviews, informal conversations, and observations. Participants offered their opinions of and reactions to PFS and discussed whether it helped them become consistent child support payers. They also discussed their lives outside of PFS, articulating obstacles encountered when trying to become more active parents. Eight appendixes present sample data and research methodology; maps; lists and descriptions of peer support sessions; family tree; personal shields; profiles of two participants deciding how to use their money; profiles of selected participants; questions for noncustodial parents in PFS; and profile of interviewees. (author abstract)

    This book examines the experiences of 32 men participating in Parents' Fair Share (PFS), which was designed to help them get better jobs, pay child support, and become more involved with their children. All participants were low-income, noncustodial fathers who were not paying court mandated child support. Most were African American or Latino and lived in inner city, low-income neighborhoods. Data came from semi-structured interviews, informal conversations, and observations. Participants offered their opinions of and reactions to PFS and discussed whether it helped them become consistent child support payers. They also discussed their lives outside of PFS, articulating obstacles encountered when trying to become more active parents. Eight appendixes present sample data and research methodology; maps; lists and descriptions of peer support sessions; family tree; personal shields; profiles of two participants deciding how to use their money; profiles of selected participants; questions for noncustodial parents in PFS; and profile of interviewees. (author abstract)

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