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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: Polit, Denise F.; Nelson, Laura; Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Seith, David; Rich, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    The 1996 national welfare reform law imposed a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance, established stricter work requirements, and provided greater flexibility for states in designing and managing programs. This report — the last in a series from MDRC’s Project on Devolution and Urban Change — describes how welfare reform unfolded in Los Angeles County (particularly between 1998 and 2001) and compares welfare reform experiences and outcomes there with those in the other three Urban Change sites: Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Miami- Dade County, and Philadelphia.

    After presenting a digest of the study’s findings, this summary report offers background on the Urban Change study in Los Angeles, depicts the county’s demographic and economic environment, describes the implementation of welfare reform, explains the effects of reform on welfare receipt and employment and on the lives of welfare recipients, describes what happened in Los Angeles neighborhoods during welfare reform, and concludes with policy implications drawn from conclusions from all four Urban...

    The 1996 national welfare reform law imposed a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance, established stricter work requirements, and provided greater flexibility for states in designing and managing programs. This report — the last in a series from MDRC’s Project on Devolution and Urban Change — describes how welfare reform unfolded in Los Angeles County (particularly between 1998 and 2001) and compares welfare reform experiences and outcomes there with those in the other three Urban Change sites: Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Miami- Dade County, and Philadelphia.

    After presenting a digest of the study’s findings, this summary report offers background on the Urban Change study in Los Angeles, depicts the county’s demographic and economic environment, describes the implementation of welfare reform, explains the effects of reform on welfare receipt and employment and on the lives of welfare recipients, describes what happened in Los Angeles neighborhoods during welfare reform, and concludes with policy implications drawn from conclusions from all four Urban Change sites. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brock, Thomas; Coulton, Claudia; London, Andrew; Polit, Denise; Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Scott, Ellen; Verma, Nandita; Kwakye, Isaac; Martin, Vanessa; Polyne, Judy C.; Seith, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This report - one of a series from MDRC's Project on Devolution and Urban Change - examines how welfare reform unfolded in Ohio's largest city and county: Cleveland, in Cuyahoga County. Ohio's TANF program features one of the country's shortest time limits (36 months) and has a strong emphasis on moving welfare recipients into employment. This study uses field research, surveys and interviews of current and former welfare recipients, state and county welfare and employment records, and indicators of social and economic trends to assess TANF's implementation and effects. Because of the strong economy and ample funding for services in the late 1990s, it captures welfare reform in the best of times, while also focusing on the poorest families and neighborhoods...

    The study's findings counter the notion that welfare reform would lead to service retrenchment and a worsening of conditions for families and neighborhoods. To the contrary, there were many improvements in Cleveland - though the favorable economy played a major role, and time limits had just been implemented when the...

    This report - one of a series from MDRC's Project on Devolution and Urban Change - examines how welfare reform unfolded in Ohio's largest city and county: Cleveland, in Cuyahoga County. Ohio's TANF program features one of the country's shortest time limits (36 months) and has a strong emphasis on moving welfare recipients into employment. This study uses field research, surveys and interviews of current and former welfare recipients, state and county welfare and employment records, and indicators of social and economic trends to assess TANF's implementation and effects. Because of the strong economy and ample funding for services in the late 1990s, it captures welfare reform in the best of times, while also focusing on the poorest families and neighborhoods...

    The study's findings counter the notion that welfare reform would lead to service retrenchment and a worsening of conditions for families and neighborhoods. To the contrary, there were many improvements in Cleveland - though the favorable economy played a major role, and time limits had just been implemented when the study ended. Further study is needed to determine the long-term effects of time limits and how welfare reform will fare under less auspicious conditions. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Fink, Barbara; Widom, Rebecca
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    In order to fully understand how welfare reform influences the well-being of low-income families and communities, we must learn how human service organizations are affected by new welfare policies. This report examines agency staff members’ knowledge about welfare reform, their overall views of welfare reform, their experience of its impact on their agencies, and their expectations of how it will affect them. The findings offer preliminary insights into how new government policies shape other components of the network of service provision that is essential to the well-being of low-income families. (Author abstract) 

    In order to fully understand how welfare reform influences the well-being of low-income families and communities, we must learn how human service organizations are affected by new welfare policies. This report examines agency staff members’ knowledge about welfare reform, their overall views of welfare reform, their experience of its impact on their agencies, and their expectations of how it will affect them. The findings offer preliminary insights into how new government policies shape other components of the network of service provision that is essential to the well-being of low-income families. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Fein, David J.; Long, David A.; Behrens, Joy M.; Lee, Wang S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    In September 1999, Delaware’s A Better Chance Welfare Reform Program (ABC)–one of the nation’s first comprehensive, statewide welfare reforms–reached the end of its first four years. The milestone is significant as the point after which recipients began reaching ABC’s 48-month, full-family time limit. This report summarizes evaluation findings for ABC’s early years, a period extending through early 1999. Upcoming reports will cover ABC’s last two years, when the State made some important changes in the program.

    This report is one of a series that Abt Associates has provided as part of a continuing evaluation of ABC for the State of Delaware. The study began in 1995 as a random assignment evaluation, then required as a condition for federal approval to waive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) rules. Delaware discontinued the experiment in early 1997, when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) lifted the federal evaluation requirement. As documented in this report, important treatment-control differences nevertheless have...

    In September 1999, Delaware’s A Better Chance Welfare Reform Program (ABC)–one of the nation’s first comprehensive, statewide welfare reforms–reached the end of its first four years. The milestone is significant as the point after which recipients began reaching ABC’s 48-month, full-family time limit. This report summarizes evaluation findings for ABC’s early years, a period extending through early 1999. Upcoming reports will cover ABC’s last two years, when the State made some important changes in the program.

    This report is one of a series that Abt Associates has provided as part of a continuing evaluation of ABC for the State of Delaware. The study began in 1995 as a random assignment evaluation, then required as a condition for federal approval to waive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) rules. Delaware discontinued the experiment in early 1997, when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) lifted the federal evaluation requirement. As documented in this report, important treatment-control differences nevertheless have persisted well beyond the official end of the experiment and afford useful insights into the impacts of welfare reform.

    Findings provided here summarize the early challenges Delaware faced in implementing ABC, and welfare recipients’ experiences over roughly a two-and-a-half-year follow-up period. The study finds that Delaware implemented a strict, work-oriented program that fundamentally altered the State’s welfare system. In refashioning its cash welfare program, the State’s Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Social Services (DSS) made many basic changes in policies and procedures, administrative arrangements, and services. Delaware strongly enforced Contracts of Mutual Responsibilities requiring clients to participate in work activities and meet specified parenting responsibilities. The program had a number of significant impacts on clients, of which the most striking was a reduction in welfare use. Thanks to Delaware’s strong economy and no-nonsense work program, the vast majority of clients went to work during at least part of the follow-up period. However, few participants achieved economic independence within the study period, and the majority still was struggling to make ends meet. (author introduction)

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