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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: Derr, Michelle; McCay, Jonathan; Person, Ann; Anderson, Mary Anne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well.

    Unfortunately, these approaches have produced mixed results on program participants’ employment outcomes. As a result, in recent years TANF staff have explored new strategies aimed at improving these outcomes.

    New research focused on the role of self-regulation could help. Self-regulation refers to a core set of skills and personality factors that allow people to intentionally control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is what enables all of us to set goals, make plans, solve problems, monitor our actions, and control our impulses. These skills are essential for managing work and family...

    Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well.

    Unfortunately, these approaches have produced mixed results on program participants’ employment outcomes. As a result, in recent years TANF staff have explored new strategies aimed at improving these outcomes.

    New research focused on the role of self-regulation could help. Self-regulation refers to a core set of skills and personality factors that allow people to intentionally control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is what enables all of us to set goals, make plans, solve problems, monitor our actions, and control our impulses. These skills are essential for managing work and family activities such as planning morning and after school routines, completing job-related tasks, and engaging in quality parent and child interactions. Successful execution of these skills can lead to better outcomes for children and families.

    In recent years, researchers have explored how the conditions associated with poverty can hinder the development of self-regulation skills. In particular, chronic exposure to high levels of stress can have adverse consequences on self-regulation skills. The effects of this underdevelopment may continue into adulthood. Exposure to chronic stress can even inhibit individuals’ ability to access and use the self-regulation skills they already have.

    The good news is that research also suggests that self-regulation skills can improve throughout a person’s lifetime by deliberately practicing and using them. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Fusaro, Vincent A.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2017

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program created by welfare reform in 1996, is implemented as a fixed federal block grant that states partially match through a "Maintenance of Effort" contribution. States can use funds in support of any of the four goals of reform: ending dependence on public support through work and marriage, promoting the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, and facilitating care of children in their own homes. Rather than a cash assistance program, TANF is a funding stream states partially use for cash assistance. Traditional welfare now only constitutes approximately one-quarter of TANF expenditures, though the fraction varies widely by state. Most research on state TANF implementation, however, examines the requirements and activities associated with cash assistance receipt. This dissertation comprises three studies intended to better align welfare scholarship with the contemporary form of TANF. The first study examines state TANF cash assistance expenditures and change in...

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program created by welfare reform in 1996, is implemented as a fixed federal block grant that states partially match through a "Maintenance of Effort" contribution. States can use funds in support of any of the four goals of reform: ending dependence on public support through work and marriage, promoting the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, and facilitating care of children in their own homes. Rather than a cash assistance program, TANF is a funding stream states partially use for cash assistance. Traditional welfare now only constitutes approximately one-quarter of TANF expenditures, though the fraction varies widely by state. Most research on state TANF implementation, however, examines the requirements and activities associated with cash assistance receipt. This dissertation comprises three studies intended to better align welfare scholarship with the contemporary form of TANF. The first study examines state TANF cash assistance expenditures and change in expenditures over time using multilevel growth curve models and a sample of all states from 1998 to 2013. I express expenditures as a per-family-in-poverty expense and as a percentage of overall TANF spending. Predictors include a number of political, social, and economic factors. I pay particular attention to the role of race in state politics. In contrast to many earlier studies, which operationalize the salience of race using welfare caseload or population demographics, I create a state-level measure of the prevalence of white stereotyping of blacks. I find that a larger proportion of whites expressing negative views of blacks is related to reduced basic assistance effort but not to rate of change in effort. Additionally, fiscal distress is associated with lower cash assistance effort. In the second study I investigate influences on categorical uses of TANF funds from 2000 to 2013. For categories of expenditures, such as work activities and supportive services, in which almost all states expend resources in almost all years, I estimate multilevel linear models of spending, again expressed both as percentages of total effort and as per-family-in-poverty expenditures. For categories with less consistent spending, I estimate logistic regression models of the probability of a state spending in the category in 2001, 2006, and 2012. I once again find a relationship between prevalence of negative stereotypes of blacks among whites and basic assistance spending. It is also related to the probability of a state using resources for pregnancy prevention or two-parent family support. Fiscal stress is associated with a higher probability of a state transferring funds to the Social Services Block Grant. Finally, the third study considers the consequences of the decline of cash assistance for low-income families. Using data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (2001-2013), I model food insecurity in low-income households as a function of state cash assistance coverage (ratio of TANF cases to low-income families). Higher coverage is associated with a reduced risk of food insecurity, particularly for households headed by a single female with no other adults. Coverage is generally not related to the presence of an employed adult in the household, however. Tying economic relief to the low-wage labor market, while having beneficial effects for some, has also increased the risk of material hardship in the most vulnerable households. Market-oriented policy may have limits as a safety net of last resort. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Office of Child Support Enforcement
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    In the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) demonstration project, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has competitively awarded grants to seven states and the District of Columbia to better understand individuals' behavior and decision-making ability when it comes to participating in the child support program.The five-year demonstration is exploring the potential relevance and application of behavioral economics principles to child support services, focusing on areas such as modification of orders and early engagement in the child support establishment process.

    The project launched on September 30, 2014, and builds on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project conducted by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Ohio, Texas and Washington's child support programs participated in BIAS and showed promising results. The eight sites participating in BICS are California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. (Author...

    In the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) demonstration project, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has competitively awarded grants to seven states and the District of Columbia to better understand individuals' behavior and decision-making ability when it comes to participating in the child support program.The five-year demonstration is exploring the potential relevance and application of behavioral economics principles to child support services, focusing on areas such as modification of orders and early engagement in the child support establishment process.

    The project launched on September 30, 2014, and builds on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project conducted by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Ohio, Texas and Washington's child support programs participated in BIAS and showed promising results. The eight sites participating in BICS are California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Choi, Laura; Erickson, David; Griffin, Kate; Levere, Andrea; Seidman, Ellen
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2015

    This book examines the concept of financial health and well-being from many perspectives, bringing together the voices of long-time champions of financial capability and newer voices hailing from a variety of sectors, such as public health, criminal justice, and business. What unites them is the shared recognition that we must do more to help all Americans have control over their financial lives and achieve their financial goals. As represented on the book’s cover, financial health and well-being is the bridge to a strong financial future, connecting individuals and families to greater opportunity, creating more vibrant communities, and in turn, strengthening the social and economic fabric of our nation. (Author introduction)

    This book examines the concept of financial health and well-being from many perspectives, bringing together the voices of long-time champions of financial capability and newer voices hailing from a variety of sectors, such as public health, criminal justice, and business. What unites them is the shared recognition that we must do more to help all Americans have control over their financial lives and achieve their financial goals. As represented on the book’s cover, financial health and well-being is the bridge to a strong financial future, connecting individuals and families to greater opportunity, creating more vibrant communities, and in turn, strengthening the social and economic fabric of our nation. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Perez-Johnson, Irma
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    This presentation describes the DOL Behavioral Interventions Project.  The project identifies issues for which behavioral solutions may be a good fit, designs low-cost behavioral solutions and rigorous evaluations of them, conducts rapid testing of these solutions, and shares the results.

    This presentation was given at the 2014 National Association of Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Annual Workshop.

    This presentation describes the DOL Behavioral Interventions Project.  The project identifies issues for which behavioral solutions may be a good fit, designs low-cost behavioral solutions and rigorous evaluations of them, conducts rapid testing of these solutions, and shares the results.

    This presentation was given at the 2014 National Association of Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Annual Workshop.

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