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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: Hill, Heather D.; Morris, Pamela A.; Castells, Nina; Walker, Jessica T.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    This study uses data from an experimental employment program and instrumental variables (IV) estimation to examine the effects of maternal job loss on child classroom behavior. Random assignment to the treatment at one of three program sites is an exogenous predictor of employment patterns. Cross-site variation in treatment-control differences is used to identify the effects of employment levels and transitions. Under certain assumptions, this method controls for unobserved correlates of job loss and child well-being, as well as measurement error and simultaneity. IV estimates suggest that maternal job loss sharply increases problem behavior but has neutral effects on positive social behavior. Current employment programs concentrate primarily on job entry, but these findings point to the importance of promoting job stability for workers and their children. (Author abstract)

    This study uses data from an experimental employment program and instrumental variables (IV) estimation to examine the effects of maternal job loss on child classroom behavior. Random assignment to the treatment at one of three program sites is an exogenous predictor of employment patterns. Cross-site variation in treatment-control differences is used to identify the effects of employment levels and transitions. Under certain assumptions, this method controls for unobserved correlates of job loss and child well-being, as well as measurement error and simultaneity. IV estimates suggest that maternal job loss sharply increases problem behavior but has neutral effects on positive social behavior. Current employment programs concentrate primarily on job entry, but these findings point to the importance of promoting job stability for workers and their children. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Miller, Cynthia; Deitch, Victoria; Hill, Aaron
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    Between 2000 and 2003, the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project identified and implemented a diverse set of innovative models designed to promote employment stability and wage or earnings progression among low-income individuals, mostly current or former welfare recipients. The project’s goal was to determine which strategies could help low-wage workers stay employed and advance over time –– and which strategies seem not to work.

    Over a dozen different ERA program models have now been evaluated using experimental, random assignment research designs, and three of the programs increased single parents’ employment and earnings. This report augments the ERA project’s experimental findings by examining the work, education, and training experiences of single parents targeted by the studied programs. Although the analysis is descriptive only and cannot be used to identify the exact causes of advancement, examining the characteristics of single parents who advance and the pathways by which they do so can inform the design of the next generation of retention and...

    Between 2000 and 2003, the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project identified and implemented a diverse set of innovative models designed to promote employment stability and wage or earnings progression among low-income individuals, mostly current or former welfare recipients. The project’s goal was to determine which strategies could help low-wage workers stay employed and advance over time –– and which strategies seem not to work.

    Over a dozen different ERA program models have now been evaluated using experimental, random assignment research designs, and three of the programs increased single parents’ employment and earnings. This report augments the ERA project’s experimental findings by examining the work, education, and training experiences of single parents targeted by the studied programs. Although the analysis is descriptive only and cannot be used to identify the exact causes of advancement, examining the characteristics of single parents who advance and the pathways by which they do so can inform the design of the next generation of retention and advancement programs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Alderson, Desiree Principe; Gennetian, Lisa A. ; Dowsett, Chantelle J. ; Imes, Amy; Huston, Aletha C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    This study examines how welfare and employment policies affect subpopulations of low-income families that have different levels of initial disadvantage. Education, prior earnings, and welfare receipt are used to measure disadvantage. The analysis of data from experiments suggests that employment-based programs have no effects on economic well-being among the least-disadvantaged low-income, single-parent families, but they have positive effects on employment and income for the most-disadvantaged and moderately disadvantaged families. These programs increase school achievement and enrollment in center-based child care of children only in moderately disadvantaged families. The most-disadvantaged families are found to increase use of child care that is not center based. Parents in these families experience depressive symptoms and aggravation. The findings raise questions about how to support families at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. (author abstract)

    This study examines how welfare and employment policies affect subpopulations of low-income families that have different levels of initial disadvantage. Education, prior earnings, and welfare receipt are used to measure disadvantage. The analysis of data from experiments suggests that employment-based programs have no effects on economic well-being among the least-disadvantaged low-income, single-parent families, but they have positive effects on employment and income for the most-disadvantaged and moderately disadvantaged families. These programs increase school achievement and enrollment in center-based child care of children only in moderately disadvantaged families. The most-disadvantaged families are found to increase use of child care that is not center based. Parents in these families experience depressive symptoms and aggravation. The findings raise questions about how to support families at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: McGroder, Sharon M.; Zaslow, Martha J.; Moore, Kristin A.; Brooks, Jennifer L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Policy makers and others have expressed an interest in how children may be affected by mandatory welfare-to-work programs. Though superceded in 1996 by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (or JOBS) Program shares the current goal of replacing welfare with work. It also contained many of the elements — such as work requirements and sanctions for non-compliance — still operating in welfare-to-work programs today. This brief presents findings from the Child Outcomes Study, a substudy of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), which examined the impacts of 11 JOBS programs in seven sites across the country.

    In three of these sites, the Child Outcomes Study looked at the long-term impacts of two alternative pre-employment strategies — employment-focused and education-focused — on children ages 3 to 5 at the start of the study. It sought to determine whether one approach was more or less beneficial than the other for children's development. Because these programs did not...

    Policy makers and others have expressed an interest in how children may be affected by mandatory welfare-to-work programs. Though superceded in 1996 by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (or JOBS) Program shares the current goal of replacing welfare with work. It also contained many of the elements — such as work requirements and sanctions for non-compliance — still operating in welfare-to-work programs today. This brief presents findings from the Child Outcomes Study, a substudy of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), which examined the impacts of 11 JOBS programs in seven sites across the country.

    In three of these sites, the Child Outcomes Study looked at the long-term impacts of two alternative pre-employment strategies — employment-focused and education-focused — on children ages 3 to 5 at the start of the study. It sought to determine whether one approach was more or less beneficial than the other for children's development. Because these programs did not provide services aimed at improving the development and well-being of children — as in early childhood education programs — any impacts on children would likely result from their mothers' exposure to the program (for example, self-sufficiency messages from case managers) and from program-induced changes in maternal education, employment, and/or family income. Three general areas of child development were studied — cognitive development and academic functioning, social skills and behavior, and health and safety.

    Overall, there were few impacts of the six JOBS programs studied when children were of elementary school age. When found, impacts on cognitive outcomes were favorable early on but faded over time; impacts on behavioral outcomes were both favorable and unfavorable both early and later on, and impacts on health outcomes were unfavorable, both early and later on. Of particular interest was the finding that impacts on young children did not vary according to the type of welfare-to-work strategy used but, rather, tended to vary more according to the site in which the program was implemented. Researchers conclude that impacts on outcomes important to children — such as stable maternal employment, adequate family income, and supportive environments — were too few, occurred for too brief a period, or were of an insufficient magnitude to lead to large, widespread impacts on elementary school-age children. They also emphasize that even when favorably affected by these programs, young children still remained at risk for problem outcomes, especially pertaining to academic achievement and school progress. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hamilton, Gayle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building...

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building activities (primarily basic education) before entering the labor market — and a third approach that mixed elements of the other two.  The strategies’ success was measured with respect to the goals and combinations of goals that policymakers and program operators have set for welfare-to-work programs, which include cutting the welfare rolls, increasing employment, reducing poverty, not worsening (or, better still, improving) the well-being of children, and saving government money.  The study examined the programs’ effects on single-parent welfare recipients, who account for the vast majority of the national welfare caseload, as well as on different subgroups thereof for example, those considered to be most disadvantaged with respect to their likelihood of finding steady employment.  The evaluation also addressed important policy questions such as how to engage a substantial proportion of people in program activities and how enforcement of welfare-to-work participation mandates influences program effectiveness.  A complete list of the questions covered in this synthesis, along with the primary sources from NEWWS that address them in detail, is provided in Table 1.The effects of the NEWWS programs were estimated based on a wealth of data on more than 40,000 single-parent families, making NEWWS the largest study of welfare-to-work programs ever conducted.  Parents and their children were tracked over a five-year follow-up period, which, depending on the site, spanned different parts of the 1990s.  In the study’s innovative and rigorous research design, each parent was randomly assigned to a program group (in some sites, there were two program groups), whose members were eligible for program services and subject to the mandate, or a control group, whose members were not. (author abstract)

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