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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: Bellotti, Jeanne; Sattar, Samina; Gould-Werth, Alix; Berk, Jillian; Gutierrez, Ivette; Stein, Jillian; Betesh, Hannah; Ochoa, Lindsay; Wiegand, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    To help individuals successfully reenter society after time in jail, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded $10 million in grants to 20 local workforce development boards (LWDBs) in June 2015 for the Linking to Employment Activities PreRelease (LEAP) initiative. Central to the LEAP initiative was creating jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) with direct linkages to community-based AJCs. A complex array of factors including jail and local community characteristics influenced the development and operations of jail-based AJCs as well as the experiences and outcomes of participants (Figure ES.1). The overarching goals were to increase participants’ work readiness at the time of release, increase employment after release, and reduce recidivism; additional goals for the pilot initiative included demonstrating that corrections and workforce agencies could effectively collaborate to provide pre-release services, generate lessons learned around promising strategies and common challenges that could inform future efforts; and identify ways for grantees to sustain the jail-based AJCs...

    To help individuals successfully reenter society after time in jail, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded $10 million in grants to 20 local workforce development boards (LWDBs) in June 2015 for the Linking to Employment Activities PreRelease (LEAP) initiative. Central to the LEAP initiative was creating jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) with direct linkages to community-based AJCs. A complex array of factors including jail and local community characteristics influenced the development and operations of jail-based AJCs as well as the experiences and outcomes of participants (Figure ES.1). The overarching goals were to increase participants’ work readiness at the time of release, increase employment after release, and reduce recidivism; additional goals for the pilot initiative included demonstrating that corrections and workforce agencies could effectively collaborate to provide pre-release services, generate lessons learned around promising strategies and common challenges that could inform future efforts; and identify ways for grantees to sustain the jail-based AJCs when the DOL-funded grant ended. The grants covered 9 months of planning and 15 months of service delivery, with many grantees receiving up to a one-year no-cost extension to finish spending down remaining grant resources. Grantees were geographically diverse, located in 13 states across 5 DOL regions, and involved a total of 22 county jails.

    Workforce development, corrections, and other partners, as well as participants, identified many successes along with significant challenges and promising strategies to address them. The qualitative evidence collected through this implementation evaluation suggests that introducing new services, partnerships, and ways of thinking about reentry hold promise for lasting effects on the workforce and corrections systems in some sites. The experiences of the LEAP grantees highlight important lessons learned and some areas for continued refinement or potential replication in similar or different contexts. Although this implementation evaluation cannot make causal claims, the evidence suggests that it is possible to use jail-based AJCs to link participants to post-release services and that this may be a promising approach to support returning individuals in successful reentry. (Edited author executive summary)

  • Individual Author: Adams, Gina; Derrick-Mills, Teresa; Heller, Caroline
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    Child care can be an insurmountable barrier for low-income parents seeking education and training so they can get better jobs to support their families. Helping families with child care can also be challenging for programs trying to help these parents get ahead. Despite funding and policy barriers, there are programs that have taken on this challenge. This brief summarizes a longer study and lays out six steps that local and state programs can take to address the child care needs of parents in education and training. This is part of the Urban Institute’s series of reports from the Bridging the Gap project, which focuses on what we know about the child care needs of parents needing education and training. (Author abstract)

    Child care can be an insurmountable barrier for low-income parents seeking education and training so they can get better jobs to support their families. Helping families with child care can also be challenging for programs trying to help these parents get ahead. Despite funding and policy barriers, there are programs that have taken on this challenge. This brief summarizes a longer study and lays out six steps that local and state programs can take to address the child care needs of parents in education and training. This is part of the Urban Institute’s series of reports from the Bridging the Gap project, which focuses on what we know about the child care needs of parents needing education and training. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dion, M. Robin; Kleinman, Rebecca; Kauff, Jackie; Dworsky, Amy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    When youth in foster care reach age 18 (age 21 in some states) and leave the child welfare system without having achieved permanency through reunification, adoption, or legal guardianship, they must abruptly transition to living independently. Unlike their peers, these youth typically must make the transition without financial or other support from parents. As a result, many who age out of foster care find themselves homeless or precariously housed.

    One resource for such youth is the Family Unification Program (FUP). FUP is a special-purpose voucher program under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV, also known as Section 8) program. The primary purpose of FUP is to provide housing vouchers to child-welfare involved families for whom the lack of adequate housing is the primary reason for imminent out-of-home placement of children or delays in family reunification. Youth ages 18 to 21 who leave foster care at age 16 or older and who do not have adequate housing, however, are also eligible for a time-limited housing...

    When youth in foster care reach age 18 (age 21 in some states) and leave the child welfare system without having achieved permanency through reunification, adoption, or legal guardianship, they must abruptly transition to living independently. Unlike their peers, these youth typically must make the transition without financial or other support from parents. As a result, many who age out of foster care find themselves homeless or precariously housed.

    One resource for such youth is the Family Unification Program (FUP). FUP is a special-purpose voucher program under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV, also known as Section 8) program. The primary purpose of FUP is to provide housing vouchers to child-welfare involved families for whom the lack of adequate housing is the primary reason for imminent out-of-home placement of children or delays in family reunification. Youth ages 18 to 21 who leave foster care at age 16 or older and who do not have adequate housing, however, are also eligible for a time-limited housing voucher. FUP vouchers offer up to 18 months of rental subsidy and supportive services to help such youth gain skills for independent living.

    FUP functions as an interagency collaboration between local public housing agencies (PHAs) and public child welfare agencies (PCWAs). Participating communities decide whether to apply for FUP vouchers, and, if awarded vouchers, whether to serve families, youth, or both in their FUP programs. In communities using FUP for youth, PCWAs refer eligible youth to PHAs and offer supportive services to those who receive a FUP voucher. When PHAs receive youth referrals, they verify HCV eligibility and subsidize the rent of eligible youth who are able to find and secure housing.

    This report describes the extent to which—and how—communities are using FUP to support youth. The research draws on findings from a survey of PHAs administering FUP, a survey of PCWAs partnered with PHAs that serve youth, and site visits to four areas that use FUP to serve youth. The surveys were designed to identify the universe of communities providing FUP vouchers to youth and to gather basic information about how they administer the program. The site visits sought to provide a finer grained understanding of how communities are using FUP to serve this population and sought to identify promising practices and lessons learned. (author summary)

  • Individual Author: Joshi, Pamela; Pilkauskas, Natasha; Bir, Anupa; Lerman, Bob
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    The Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) is a key component of the healthy marriage demonstration strategy of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine how public policies can best support healthy marriages and child well-being. The community healthy marriage demonstrations discussed in this report are funded through waivers granted by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. 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 marriage 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 lead to positive outcomes for families, individuals and couples as a direct result of their participation in classes and other services and indirectly through their interactions with friends, family,...

    The Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) is a key component of the healthy marriage demonstration strategy of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine how public policies can best support healthy marriages and child well-being. The community healthy marriage demonstrations discussed in this report are funded through waivers granted by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. 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 marriage 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 lead to positive outcomes for families, individuals and couples as a direct result of 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 section 1115 healthy marriage waiver initiatives are to achieve child support objectives through healthy marriage activities.

    This report focuses on the implementation of three OCSE funded Section 1115 CHMI projects:  the demonstrations in Boston, Massachusetts; Jacksonville, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois. CHMI projects generally involve local coalitions that aim to provide their communities with marriage education, relationship skills training, media messages, and other related activities. Although each site has its specific mix of services, all attempt to engage a coalition of public, private, secular, and religious organizations to sponsor their own activities and thereby promote the overall goals of the initiative. All are trying to implement community-level strategies to encourage healthy marriages and parenting and improve child support outcomes, thereby generating benefits for children as well as couples. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Paulsell, Diane; Max, Jeffrey; Derr, Michelle; Burwick, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The public workforce investment system aims to serve all job seekers, but many of those most in need of help do not use it. Language barriers, dislike or fear of government agencies, limited awareness of available services, and difficulties using self-directed services are some of the challenges that may limit the accessibility of the system. While not traditionally partners in the workforce investment system, small, grassroots faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) may be well positioned to serve people who do not currently use the public workforce system. Some job seekers may be more likely to access services from FBCOs because they typically have earned the trust of local community members and understand their needs. Moreover, FBCOs often provide personal, flexible, and comprehensive services that are well suited to people who face multiple barriers to employment.

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized that by filling a service gap and serving some of the neediest populations, FBCOs have the potential to be valuable partners in the workforce...

    The public workforce investment system aims to serve all job seekers, but many of those most in need of help do not use it. Language barriers, dislike or fear of government agencies, limited awareness of available services, and difficulties using self-directed services are some of the challenges that may limit the accessibility of the system. While not traditionally partners in the workforce investment system, small, grassroots faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) may be well positioned to serve people who do not currently use the public workforce system. Some job seekers may be more likely to access services from FBCOs because they typically have earned the trust of local community members and understand their needs. Moreover, FBCOs often provide personal, flexible, and comprehensive services that are well suited to people who face multiple barriers to employment.

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized that by filling a service gap and serving some of the neediest populations, FBCOs have the potential to be valuable partners in the workforce investment system. Collaborating with FBCOs may also allow the government to leverage its workforce investment funds by taking advantage of the volunteers, donated goods and services, and other resources FBCOs are often able to access. Moreover, an FBCO’s knowledge of its community and its needs may help workforce investment agencies plan and deliver services more effectively.

    Collaborations between government agencies and FBCOs may not, however, come easily. In many communities, workforce investment agencies and grassroots FBCOs have little experience working together. Government agencies may not know about the work of FBCOs, and FBCOs may be unaware of the ways that public agencies could help their clients. Each may perceive the other’s mission as different from its own. In addition, government agencies may be concerned about their customers’ rights and legal issues when services are provided by faith-based organizations (FBOs), and the limited administrative and service capacity of some FBCOs may also be a barrier to collaborative relationships.

    Cognizant of the potential barriers to these collaborations, DOL has since 2002 granted over $30 million to promote and sustain collaborations between FBCOs and the workforce investment system. These grants have been made to FBCOs, states, intermediaries, and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). Intermediaries are larger nonprofit faith- or community-based agencies that can facilitate collaboration with smaller, grassroots organizations. WIBs are state or local entities that oversee the local workforce investment systems. (author abstract)

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