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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Morrison, Carly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is...

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is statistically significant at the 10 percent level (which suggests that it is due to the Start Smart intervention rather than random chance), and represents a 9 percent increase in payments made during the first month. Start Smart did not produce statistically significant differences in payments made in the second or third month. (Edited author overview)

  • Individual Author: Blumenthal, Anne; Shanks, Trina R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    As they are a long-term policy instrument, the results of many child savings account (CSA) programs take decades to realize. Because of this, important questions regarding the long-term impacts of the programs, as well as participants' perceptions regarding the programs' long-term impacts, are unanswered. In this study, we present findings from a qualitatively driven complex mixed methods follow-up of the first large CSA demonstration project, the quasi-experimental Michigan Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) program. We asked SEED account-holding and non-account-holding families how they communicated about college, saving for college, and future educational attainment, nearly ten years after the CSA demonstration project ended. In a novel approach, we conducted separate semi-structured interviews with dyads of parents and children, combining that information with survey data and account balance monitoring data, ultimately gaining a multidimensional picture of how families with and without SEED accounts were approaching planning for post-secondary...

    As they are a long-term policy instrument, the results of many child savings account (CSA) programs take decades to realize. Because of this, important questions regarding the long-term impacts of the programs, as well as participants' perceptions regarding the programs' long-term impacts, are unanswered. In this study, we present findings from a qualitatively driven complex mixed methods follow-up of the first large CSA demonstration project, the quasi-experimental Michigan Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) program. We asked SEED account-holding and non-account-holding families how they communicated about college, saving for college, and future educational attainment, nearly ten years after the CSA demonstration project ended. In a novel approach, we conducted separate semi-structured interviews with dyads of parents and children, combining that information with survey data and account balance monitoring data, ultimately gaining a multidimensional picture of how families with and without SEED accounts were approaching planning for post-secondary education right before the transition to adulthood. We found that: (1) the vast majority of account-holding families did not make withdrawals from their SEED accounts, (2) recent family communication about the SEED accounts was related to the specificity of a child's post-secondary plans, (3) there were tensions between college aspirations and the concrete steps needed to get there, and (4) families voiced concerns regarding the substantial barriers to post-secondary education. These findings point to both the promises and challenges of CSAs that newly developed programs might want to consider. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Lehman, Gretchen; Baird, Peter; Brown, Susan; Mayers, Roberta
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2018

    The video and its accompanying presentation slides are from the 2018 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS). Recent research has rigorously explored the ways in which insights from behavioral sciences can support improved program performance in government services, including in the child support system. This panel examined three randomized controlled experiments to discuss the design, implementation, findings, and lessons learned for the application of behavioral insights to child support programs. Two of these were funded by ACF's Office of Child Support Enforcement under the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services demonstration. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) moderated this session. Various methodologies were used across the presentations. (Author introduction)

    The video and its accompanying presentation slides are from the 2018 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS). Recent research has rigorously explored the ways in which insights from behavioral sciences can support improved program performance in government services, including in the child support system. This panel examined three randomized controlled experiments to discuss the design, implementation, findings, and lessons learned for the application of behavioral insights to child support programs. Two of these were funded by ACF's Office of Child Support Enforcement under the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services demonstration. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) moderated this session. Various methodologies were used across the presentations. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Fontaine, Jocelyn ; Kurs, Emma
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    With funding from the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct an implementation evaluation of OFA’s Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”). Six organizations were funded to implement a range of activities intended to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. This brief, one of three in a series, focuses on the economic stability activities implemented by the projects. Economic stability was a core focus of the Fatherhood Reentry projects based on the extant literature highlighting formerly incarcerated people’s needs for assistance in achieving self-sufficiency to reach their reentry and family reunification goals. Incarceration is a risk factor for unemployment, and formerly incarcerated people have difficulty achieving economic stability for various reasons that encompass both personal challenges and systemic barriers. This brief provides a short overview...

    With funding from the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct an implementation evaluation of OFA’s Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”). Six organizations were funded to implement a range of activities intended to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. This brief, one of three in a series, focuses on the economic stability activities implemented by the projects. Economic stability was a core focus of the Fatherhood Reentry projects based on the extant literature highlighting formerly incarcerated people’s needs for assistance in achieving self-sufficiency to reach their reentry and family reunification goals. Incarceration is a risk factor for unemployment, and formerly incarcerated people have difficulty achieving economic stability for various reasons that encompass both personal challenges and systemic barriers. This brief provides a short overview of this literature, highlighting the importance of economic stability activities for fathers who are incarcerated or were formerly incarcerated, the barriers people face upon their return to the community, and how employment is associated with better outcomes among returning people, their families, and the community. We then include descriptions of the activities the Fatherhood Reentry projects used to foster economic stability for participating fathers and their families. We conclude with recommendations, based on the experiences of the Fatherhood Reentry projects, for practitioners implementing economic stability activities for the reentry population. (Author introduction) 

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Anzelone, Caitlin; Dechausay, Nadine; Landers, Patrick
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    This report represents the final synthesis of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project. Overall, the project’s findings demonstrated that applying behavioral insights to challenges facing human services programs can improve program efficiency, operations, and outcomes at a relatively low cost.

    The report discusses in detail:

    •overall findings from the project;

    •lessons learned during the knowledge development period as well as across the project’s sites;

    •the broader context in which the findings are situated, with respect to both applied behavioral insights and human services; and

    •implications for future research and practice.

    Each chapter is accompanied by at least one independent commentary by an expert in the field. (Author abstract)

    This report represents the final synthesis of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project. Overall, the project’s findings demonstrated that applying behavioral insights to challenges facing human services programs can improve program efficiency, operations, and outcomes at a relatively low cost.

    The report discusses in detail:

    •overall findings from the project;

    •lessons learned during the knowledge development period as well as across the project’s sites;

    •the broader context in which the findings are situated, with respect to both applied behavioral insights and human services; and

    •implications for future research and practice.

    Each chapter is accompanied by at least one independent commentary by an expert in the field. (Author abstract)

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