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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: 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: Kisker, Ellen Eliason; Rangarajan, Anu; Boller, Kimberly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Anticipating the mandatory participation requirements of the 1988 Family Support Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in 1986, launched the Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD) to test the feasibility and effects of requiring teenage parents on welfare to participate in activities aimed at achieving economic self-sufficiency in order to receive maximum welfare benefits. Public welfare agencies in Illinois and New Jersey were awarded grants to design and implement the TPD programs. The Illinois program, Project Advance, operated in the south side of Chicago; the New Jersey program. Teen Progress, operated in Newark and Camden. The programs began serving young mothers in mid-1987 and continued through mid-1991. DHHS contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to evaluate the demonstration programs. The first phase of the evaluation focused on documenting the implementation and costs of the programs, assessing the service needs and use of participants (including special studies of child care needs and use), and examining the short-term impacts of the...

    Anticipating the mandatory participation requirements of the 1988 Family Support Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in 1986, launched the Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD) to test the feasibility and effects of requiring teenage parents on welfare to participate in activities aimed at achieving economic self-sufficiency in order to receive maximum welfare benefits. Public welfare agencies in Illinois and New Jersey were awarded grants to design and implement the TPD programs. The Illinois program, Project Advance, operated in the south side of Chicago; the New Jersey program. Teen Progress, operated in Newark and Camden. The programs began serving young mothers in mid-1987 and continued through mid-1991. DHHS contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to evaluate the demonstration programs. The first phase of the evaluation focused on documenting the implementation and costs of the programs, assessing the service needs and use of participants (including special studies of child care needs and use), and examining the short-term impacts of the programs on mothers' prospects for attaining economic self-sufficiency. The second phase of the evaluation focused on measuring the endurance of the short-term impacts of the programs on mothers' prospects and assessing program impacts on the well-being of each mother's first-born child during the first few years after the program requirements and special services ended.

    This report presents the findings from the second phase of the evaluation. The remaining sections of this chapter provide an overview of the demonstration rationale, the intervention design, the demonstration evaluation, and a summary of the key findings. The following chapters present the evaluation findings in detail. (author abstract)

  • 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)

  • Individual Author: Cole, Patricia; Buel, Sarah M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    This paper looks at family violence and its impact upon the transition from welfare to work under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) established by the 1996 welfare reform. Recommendations are presented which encourages advocates and others to increase their involvement in welfare reform and other initiatives that target families living in extreme poverty. The paper addressed two primary issues. First, working within the TANF and welfare to work systems were discussed in order to identify and assist women in violent partnerships. And, second, helping low-income women gain employment and other necessary assistance so they are able to support themselves and escape the violent situation their poverty had perpetuated. Insights offered included: (1) women in extremely low-income households are much more likely to be victims of violence than women in higher-income households; (2) traditional mainstream approaches to helping battered women are often ineffective; and (3) it is impossible to separate women’s experiences with and responses to partner violence from...

    This paper looks at family violence and its impact upon the transition from welfare to work under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) established by the 1996 welfare reform. Recommendations are presented which encourages advocates and others to increase their involvement in welfare reform and other initiatives that target families living in extreme poverty. The paper addressed two primary issues. First, working within the TANF and welfare to work systems were discussed in order to identify and assist women in violent partnerships. And, second, helping low-income women gain employment and other necessary assistance so they are able to support themselves and escape the violent situation their poverty had perpetuated. Insights offered included: (1) women in extremely low-income households are much more likely to be victims of violence than women in higher-income households; (2) traditional mainstream approaches to helping battered women are often ineffective; and (3) it is impossible to separate women’s experiences with and responses to partner violence from the impact of poverty and other oppressions in their lives. The paper emphasized the Family Violence Option (FVO) allowing States to exempt TANF recipients from workforce participation if it would escalate domestic violence, impede escape from domestic violence, or result in sanctions against women as a result of domestic violence. Several insights were gained on how to reach and assist women in dealing with violent relationships that included: (1) services need to be located at or near TANF offices; (2) programs need to be race conscious, being both sensitive and responsive to different cultural experiences and values in order to achieve program participation; (3) basic survival needs, such as housing, food, clothing, or health care must be resolved before or as part of the work around family violence issues; and (4) assistance must be offered to increase their safety while in the abusive relationship. Several recommendations were offered as to how women in poverty who suffer from domestic violence should be treated that included: (1) providing pre- and post- employment education and training; (2) providing services necessary to gain and maintain living-wage employment; and (3) providing ongoing support in the areas of housing, child care, food stamps, and health care for those unable to get and keep jobs that have adequate wages and benefits. Welfare reform is seen as having brought attention to many battered women previously overlooked. Creating effective solutions is viewed as necessary to allow them to be both safe and financially secure. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Miller, Cynthia; Knox, Virginia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Fathers provide important financial and emotional support to their children. Yet low-income noncustodial fathers, with low wages and high rates of joblessness, often do not fulfill their parenting roles. The child support system has not traditionally helped these men to do so, since its focus has been on securing financial support from fathers who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, fathers who cannot pay child support accumulate debts that can lead them to evade the system and its penalties altogether - and further limit their contact with their children.

    Parents' Fair Share (PFS) was designed as an alternative to standard enforcement. Launched in 1994 in seven sites, PFS was a national demonstration program that aimed to help low-income noncustodial fathers find more stable and better-paying jobs, pay child support on a consistent basis, and become more involved parents. Funded by the organizations listed at the front of this monograph, PFS provided employment and training services, peer support groups, voluntary mediation between parents, and...

    Fathers provide important financial and emotional support to their children. Yet low-income noncustodial fathers, with low wages and high rates of joblessness, often do not fulfill their parenting roles. The child support system has not traditionally helped these men to do so, since its focus has been on securing financial support from fathers who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, fathers who cannot pay child support accumulate debts that can lead them to evade the system and its penalties altogether - and further limit their contact with their children.

    Parents' Fair Share (PFS) was designed as an alternative to standard enforcement. Launched in 1994 in seven sites, PFS was a national demonstration program that aimed to help low-income noncustodial fathers find more stable and better-paying jobs, pay child support on a consistent basis, and become more involved parents. Funded by the organizations listed at the front of this monograph, PFS provided employment and training services, peer support groups, voluntary mediation between parents, and modified child support enforcement.

    Besides designing the PFS demonstration, MDRC evaluated it. Between 1994 and 1996, each of more than 5,500 fathers was randomly assigned to PFS or a control group, and the program's effects were estimated by comparing how the two groups fared over a two-year period. This monograph synthesizes the demonstration's key findings and uses them to formulate several recommendations for the next generation of fatherhood programs.

    Key Findings

    As a group, the fathers were very disadvantaged, although some were able to find low-wage work fairly easily. PFS increased employment and earnings for the least-employable men but not for the men who were more able to find work on their own. Most participated in job club services, but fewer than expected took part in skill-building activities.

    PFS encouraged some fathers, particularly those who were least involved initially, to take a more active parenting role. Many of the fathers visited their children regularly, although few had legal visitation agreements. There were modest increases in parental conflict over child-rearing decisions, and some mothers restricted the fathers' access to their children.

    Men referred to the PFS program paid more child support than men in the control group. The process of assessing eligibility uncovered a fair amount of employment, which disqualified some fathers from participation but which led, nonetheless, to increased child support payments. 

    (author abstract)

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