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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: Berger, Lawrence M. (ed.); Cancian, Maria (ed.); Magnuson, Katherine (ed.)
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2018

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty...

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty from a variety of perspectives. Some of these proposals are more of a departure from existing policies than others, some borrow from other countries or revive old ideas, some are narrow in focus and others much broader, but all seek to move anti-poverty efforts into new territory. (Author abstract) 

    Contents:

    Introduction

    Anti-Poverty Policy Innovations: New Proposals for Addressing Poverty in the United States

    Lawrence Berger, Maria Cancian, and Katherine Magnuson

    Part I. Employment, Education, and Family Planning

    Coupling a Federal Minimum Wage Hike with Public Investments to Make Work Pay and Reduce Poverty

    Jennifer Romich and Heather Hill

    A Path to Ending Poverty by Way of Ending Unemployment: A Federal Job Guarantee

    Mark Paul, William Darity Jr., Darrick Hamilton, and Khaing Zaw

    Working to Reduce Poverty: A National Subsidized Employment Proposal

    Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Kali Grant, Julie Kerksick, Dan Bloom, and Ajay Chaudry 

    A "Race to the Top" in Public Higher Education to Improve Education and Employment Among the Poor

    Harry Holzer

    Postsecondary Pathways out of Poverty: City University of New York Accelerated Study in Associate Programs and the Case for National Policy

    Diana Strumbos, Donna Linderman, and Carson Hicks

    A Two-Generation Human Capital Approach to Anti-poverty Policy

    Teresa Eckrich Sommer, Terri Sabol, Elise Chor, William Schneider, P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Mario Small, Christopher King, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

    Could We Level the Playing Field? Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives, Nonmarital Fertility, and Poverty in the United States

    Lawrence Wu and Nicholas Mark

    Assessing the Potential Impacts of Innovative New Policy Proposals on Poverty in the United States

    Christopher Wimer, Sophie Collyer, and Sara Kimberlin

  • Individual Author: Seefeldt, Kristin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This brief summarizes findings from in-depth interviews with 39 members of the control group in the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study. PACE is a rigorous evaluation of nine career pathways programs. PACE used an experimental design in which eligible program applicants were randomly assigned to a treatment group that could access the program under study or a control group that could not. In order to accurately interpret impact findings, it is important that evaluators understand the experiences of control group members. (Author abstract)   

    This brief summarizes findings from in-depth interviews with 39 members of the control group in the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study. PACE is a rigorous evaluation of nine career pathways programs. PACE used an experimental design in which eligible program applicants were randomly assigned to a treatment group that could access the program under study or a control group that could not. In order to accurately interpret impact findings, it is important that evaluators understand the experiences of control group members. (Author abstract)   

  • Individual Author: Arkin, Monica
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    Posted by Monica Arkin, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Case workers and other practitioners in the welfare system benefit from keeping abreast of new research and clinical approaches when working with clients. One such method that has been around for decades but has only recently been popularized in the field of self-sufficiency is motivational interviewing. Developed in the 1980s by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing was created as an approach to behavioral change particularly for individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Compared with the more traditional dynamic of counselor-patient relationships, which commonly features an expert counselor educating or persuading a less-informed client, motivational interviewing...

    Posted by Monica Arkin, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Case workers and other practitioners in the welfare system benefit from keeping abreast of new research and clinical approaches when working with clients. One such method that has been around for decades but has only recently been popularized in the field of self-sufficiency is motivational interviewing. Developed in the 1980s by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing was created as an approach to behavioral change particularly for individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Compared with the more traditional dynamic of counselor-patient relationships, which commonly features an expert counselor educating or persuading a less-informed client, motivational interviewing occurs in the context of a partnership where client autonomy is the foundation. Together, the counselor and client engage in a collaborative conversation about identifying problems and solutions, particularly by focusing on barriers to change that are preventing progress toward the client’s goals. Rather than imposing change externally, motivational interviewing seeks to elicit and strengthen an individual’s intrinsic motivation for change.

    Since its initial development in substance abuse treatment spaces, motivational interviewing has proven to be an effective approach for facilitating productive change in various client contexts. With respect to self-sufficiency, studies of TANF-eligible client outcomes have shown that motivational interviewing is a valuable addition to case worker interventions. For example, a six-month follow-up evaluation of 322 randomly selected TANF-eligible clients participating in Kentucky’s Targeted Assessment Program (TAP), which combines motivational interviewing, holistic assessment and strengths-based case management, found medium-to-strong decreases in self-reported barriers to self-sufficiency. These included barriers related to physical health (at six-month follow-up the percentage of participants who had seen a doctor in the previous 12 months decreased, as did the percentage of participants who wanted to see a doctor but reported being unable to), mental health (feeling badly about oneself, having thoughts of self-harm, and feeling worried or anxious), substance use, and intimate partner violence. Additionally, TAP participants reported lower work difficulty and higher employment rates at the time of follow-up.

    Another study found a connection between motivational interviewing and veterans’ self-sufficiency. Eighty-four veterans who had psychiatric disorders and had applied for service-connected compensation were assigned to either a control condition, where they received an orientation to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care system and services, or an experimental condition, where they received four 50-minute sessions of individual counseling that followed a motivational interviewing framework. At a six-month follow up, veterans in the experimental group reported significantly more days of paid employment compared with participants in the control group. This suggests that motivational interviewing may reduce barriers to employment that are associated with disability payments for psychiatric disorders.

    The benefits of motivational interviewing serve the client as well as the practitioner. A qualitative study in Alamance County, North Carolina gathered the perceptions of case workers within the child welfare system that were trained in motivational interviewing. When initial training was supplemented with coaching from clinical coaches, case workers reported that motivational interviewing “helped them deal with difficult issues they encountered, changed-long held perspectives, and provided a new approach to working with families.”

    The SSRC Library contains numerous reports and stakeholder resources about motivational interviewing, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

     

  • Individual Author: Waters, Damon; Chester, Hilary; Gaffney, Angela; Hetling, Andrea
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2018

    This session discussed how TANF and employment services programs can serve special populations. Presenters shared strategies that state and local systems use to provide financial support and related employment services to newly arrived refugees, the feasibility and benefits of providing enhanced employment services to foreign trafficking victims, and a risk assessment tool for domestic violence survivors applying for services and waivers under the Family Violence Options. Damon Waters (Administration for Children and Families) moderated this session.

     

    This session discussed how TANF and employment services programs can serve special populations. Presenters shared strategies that state and local systems use to provide financial support and related employment services to newly arrived refugees, the feasibility and benefits of providing enhanced employment services to foreign trafficking victims, and a risk assessment tool for domestic violence survivors applying for services and waivers under the Family Violence Options. Damon Waters (Administration for Children and Families) moderated this session.

     

  • Individual Author: Oster, Maryjo M.
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    Posted by Maryjo M. Oster, Ph.D., Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Paying one’s “debt to society” for criminal behavior does not end after serving a prison sentence. Incarceration has immense implications for one’s labor market prospects, and by extension, one’s economic self-sufficiency. Roughly half of all ex-prisoners remain jobless a year after their release. Many of these individuals return to criminal activity, perceiving it as their only viable option to financially support themselves and their families, which contributes to a cycle of recurring imprisonment that fails to rehabilitate offenders and harms communities.

    A 2014 report by the National Research Council identified...

    Posted by Maryjo M. Oster, Ph.D., Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Paying one’s “debt to society” for criminal behavior does not end after serving a prison sentence. Incarceration has immense implications for one’s labor market prospects, and by extension, one’s economic self-sufficiency. Roughly half of all ex-prisoners remain jobless a year after their release. Many of these individuals return to criminal activity, perceiving it as their only viable option to financially support themselves and their families, which contributes to a cycle of recurring imprisonment that fails to rehabilitate offenders and harms communities.

    A 2014 report by the National Research Council identified three primary mechanisms that help explain the poor employment outcomes for former prisoners: selection, transformation, and labeling. Selection refers to the fact that many of the same factors that increase risk for incarceration are also associated with poor labor market outcomes. Examples include lower levels of educational attainment and functional literacy, and increased rates of mental illness and drug addiction. No specific claims of causality can be made, given the complex interplay of psychosocial factors, but the associations are nevertheless relevant when considering the employment struggles of former prisoners. The second mechanism, transformation, refers to the experience of imprisonment that negatively affects job readiness, such as deterioration of job skills, and failure to obtain useful work experience. The third mechanism is labeling—that is, the stigmatization of ex-prisoners; many employers formally prohibit individuals with criminal records from employment, and many others employers are reluctant to hire former prisoners, even in the absence of formal legal restrictions.

    Studies demonstrate that the economy could benefit substantially if the impediments to employment for former prisoners were removed. A 2010 Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) report estimated that in 2008 there were between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatly reduces an individual’s labor market prospects, CEPR estimated the total male employment rate was lowered by 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points. These reductions in employment resulted in a loss of between $57 and $65 billion in gross domestic product.

    Improving the employment prospects and economic mobility of former prisoners is in society’s best interest. As a 2010 report from the Pew Charitable Trusts notes, “when returning offenders can find and keep legitimate employment, they are more likely to be able to pay restitution to their victims, support their children, and avoid crime.” Further, data indicate that the children of incarcerated parents suffer psychologically, educationally, and financially. A former prisoner’s ability to obtain gainful employment, therefore, has implications for the future prospects of his or her children, as well, given that educational attainment and parental income are both predictors of economic mobility.

    The National Research Council offers two categories of evidence-based policy and program recommendations to improve the employment prospects and outcomes of former prisoners. The first is to implement employment re-entry programs, including transitional employment programs, residential and training programs for disadvantaged youth, prison work and education programs, and income supplements that pay unemployment benefits to released prisoners to spur economic opportunities. Their second recommendation is to limit inquiring about criminal records (e.g., the “Ban the Box” campaign to eliminate questions on job applications about previous felony convictions and/or imprisonment). Additionally, Pew finds that, while incarceration is undoubtedly necessary for some criminals, it is immensely costly and not necessary for managing many non-violent and lower-risk offenders. Pew suggests that lower-risk offenders could be redirected to high-quality community supervision programs, which reduce recidivism, enhance public safety, and are far more cost-effective.

    The SSRC Library contains numerous evaluation reports and stakeholder resources on incarceration, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC, or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you, and more.

     

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