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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: Blagg, Kristin; Chingos, Matthew; Corcoran, Sean P.; Cordes, Sarah A.; Cowen, Joshua; Denice, Patrick ; Gross, Betheny; Lincove, Jane Arnold ; Sattin-Bajaj, Carolyn; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Valant, Jon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    How to get to school is an important issue for families who want to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood and for education policymakers seeking to implement school choice policies that mitigate educational inequality. We analyze travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice:  Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. We find: 

    • Despite wide variation across cities in student transportation policy, there are similar student transportation patterns across our cities. Most students live within a 20-minute drive from home to their school. Older students travel farther to school than younger students, and black students travel farther than white or Hispanic students. Students who are not low income tend to travel farther than their low-income peers.
    • Particularly among older students, those enrolled in traditional public schools tend to travel as far, or in some cases farther, than those attending charter schools....

    How to get to school is an important issue for families who want to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood and for education policymakers seeking to implement school choice policies that mitigate educational inequality. We analyze travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice:  Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. We find: 

    • Despite wide variation across cities in student transportation policy, there are similar student transportation patterns across our cities. Most students live within a 20-minute drive from home to their school. Older students travel farther to school than younger students, and black students travel farther than white or Hispanic students. Students who are not low income tend to travel farther than their low-income peers.
    • Particularly among older students, those enrolled in traditional public schools tend to travel as far, or in some cases farther, than those attending charter schools.
    • Access to “high quality” high schools varies across cities, race and ethnicity, and on the quality measure used. However, ninth-grade students, on average, tend to live about a 10-minute drive from a “high quality” high school.
    • Access to a car can significantly increase the number of schools available to a family. Typical travel times to school by public transit are significantly greater than by car, especially in cities with less efficient transit networks.

    Just as there are inequalities and differences in students’ academic performance across these cities, we see parallel inequalities and differences in the distances that students travel and in the availability of nearby school options. Experiments in targeted policy interventions, such as implementing transportation vouchers for low-income parents of very young students, using yellow buses on circulating routes, or changing the way that school siting decisions are made, might yield pragmatic solutions that further level the playing field for a city’s most disadvantaged students. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Lake Research Partners; Ascend at the Aspen Institute; American Viewpoint
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    A critical aspect of Ascend's work is listening to, learning from, and lifting up the voices of the most vulnerable families in the United States today. Ascend commissioned this bipartisan series of focus groups to examine the experiences, perspectives, and needs of low-income families. By listening to the perspectives of families across demographics - race, gender, and family structure - Ascend aims to elevate their voices and use these findings to inform programmatic and policy work, in particular two-generation strategies to improve educational and economic outcomes for both parents and children. (author introduction)

    A critical aspect of Ascend's work is listening to, learning from, and lifting up the voices of the most vulnerable families in the United States today. Ascend commissioned this bipartisan series of focus groups to examine the experiences, perspectives, and needs of low-income families. By listening to the perspectives of families across demographics - race, gender, and family structure - Ascend aims to elevate their voices and use these findings to inform programmatic and policy work, in particular two-generation strategies to improve educational and economic outcomes for both parents and children. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Dinan, Kinsey A.
    Reference Type: Report, Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2009

    Millions of parents find themselves struggling to make ends meet, despite hard work. Even a full-time job is no guarantee of economic security, with the high cost of everyday expenses and a federal minimum wage of just $6.55 an hour – less than $14,000 a year with full-time, year-round employment.

    The Basic Needs Budgets developed by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) show the cost of basic day-to-day necessities for families with children. Using examples from these bare-bones budgets, this brief examines the question of how much families need to get by and provides insight into the struggles that working families face. Examples are drawn from 12 localities and are based on families with two children; budgets for other family types and localities are available through NCCP’s Basic Needs Budget Calculator (see box).

    Basic Needs Budgets show that it takes an income of about 1.5 to 3.5 times the official poverty level ($22,050 a year for a family of four), depending on locality, to cover the cost of a family’s minimum day-to-day needs. The largest...

    Millions of parents find themselves struggling to make ends meet, despite hard work. Even a full-time job is no guarantee of economic security, with the high cost of everyday expenses and a federal minimum wage of just $6.55 an hour – less than $14,000 a year with full-time, year-round employment.

    The Basic Needs Budgets developed by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) show the cost of basic day-to-day necessities for families with children. Using examples from these bare-bones budgets, this brief examines the question of how much families need to get by and provides insight into the struggles that working families face. Examples are drawn from 12 localities and are based on families with two children; budgets for other family types and localities are available through NCCP’s Basic Needs Budget Calculator (see box).

    Basic Needs Budgets show that it takes an income of about 1.5 to 3.5 times the official poverty level ($22,050 a year for a family of four), depending on locality, to cover the cost of a family’s minimum day-to-day needs. The largest expenses are typically child care and housing, although health care and transportation can cost nearly as much – and in some cases more. While the struggle to make ends meet is particularly difficult for single parents, paying the bills is a tough challenge for two-parent families as well. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Snyder, Kathleen ; Bernstein, Sara ; Koralek, Robin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study. It is based on focus groups conducted in four locations in 2003 with current TANF participants and parents who had left TANF within the past year and were receiving child care subsidies. The report examines how these parents accessed and retained child care subsidies as they moved through and off welfare. However, it is important to note that this study did not examine the experiences of families that were not using subsidies. As a consequence, this study provides important information to help us better understand how these systems and polices work for families in the system, but it does not represent the perspectives...

    Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study. It is based on focus groups conducted in four locations in 2003 with current TANF participants and parents who had left TANF within the past year and were receiving child care subsidies. The report examines how these parents accessed and retained child care subsidies as they moved through and off welfare. However, it is important to note that this study did not examine the experiences of families that were not using subsidies. As a consequence, this study provides important information to help us better understand how these systems and polices work for families in the system, but it does not represent the perspectives of families that were unsuccessful in navigating these systems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Adams, Gina; Snyder, Kathleen; Koralek, Robin; Martinson, Karin; Bernstein, Sara; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.

    The first phase, conducted in 2001, examined these issues from the perspective of welfare-to-work and child care administrators and staff in 11 local sites, and documented how these systems were set up and connected, the factors that aided or impeded coordination between the systems, and the processes TANF clients needed to complete as they moved through the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems while on welfare. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Pamela Holcomb, Kathleen Snyder, Robin Koralek, and Jeffrey Capizzano, Child Care Subsidies for TANF Families: The Nexus of Systems and Policies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)...

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.

    The first phase, conducted in 2001, examined these issues from the perspective of welfare-to-work and child care administrators and staff in 11 local sites, and documented how these systems were set up and connected, the factors that aided or impeded coordination between the systems, and the processes TANF clients needed to complete as they moved through the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems while on welfare. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Pamela Holcomb, Kathleen Snyder, Robin Koralek, and Jeffrey Capizzano, Child Care Subsidies for TANF Families: The Nexus of Systems and Policies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    The second phase of the study examined a range of issues around subsidy use among parents who leave TANF. It included data from these 11 sites, as well as an examination of research on welfare leavers and subsidy patterns, a review of state policies regarding child care subsidies for welfare leavers for a range of states, and interviews with national experts to discuss the retention of child care subsidies as parents transition off cash assistance. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Robin Koralek, and Karin Martinson, Child Care Subsidies and Leaving Welfare: Policy Issues and Strategies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    The third phase used focus groups in four of the 11 sites to explore the connections between the welfare-to-work and child care systems from the perspective of parents. These focus groups were made up of parents currently receiving TANF and child care subsidies, as well as parents who had left TANF within the previous year and were still receiving child care subsidies. (The findings from this phase are reported in Kathleen Snyder, Sara Bernstein, and Robin Koralek, Parents' Perspectives on Child Care Subsidies and Moving from Welfare to Work [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    This document highlights overarching issues and themes that emerged from all three phases of this study, including those facing administrators and agencies working to provide these services to parents, and the implications of these issues for TANF clients and their children. (author abstract)

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