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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: Kauff, Jacqueline; Derr, Michelle K. ; Pavetti, LaDonna; Martin, Emily S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) provided a block grant to states to create the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  In doing so, it required states to engage certain minimum percentages of their TANF caseloads—50 percent of all families and 90 percent of two-parent families—in specified work and work-related activities for a specified number of hours per week.  Sanctions, or financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements, have long been perceived as a major tool for encouraging TANF recipients who might not be inclined to participate in work activities to do so.  The logic behind sanctions is that adverse consequences—such as a reduction in the TANF cash grant (a partial sanction) or gradual or immediate termination of the TANF grant (a full-family sanction)—can help influence the participation decisions that welfare recipients make.

    In reauthorizing the TANF program, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) changed the way the work participation rates are calculated and thereby...

    The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) provided a block grant to states to create the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  In doing so, it required states to engage certain minimum percentages of their TANF caseloads—50 percent of all families and 90 percent of two-parent families—in specified work and work-related activities for a specified number of hours per week.  Sanctions, or financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements, have long been perceived as a major tool for encouraging TANF recipients who might not be inclined to participate in work activities to do so.  The logic behind sanctions is that adverse consequences—such as a reduction in the TANF cash grant (a partial sanction) or gradual or immediate termination of the TANF grant (a full-family sanction)—can help influence the participation decisions that welfare recipients make.

    In reauthorizing the TANF program, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) changed the way the work participation rates are calculated and thereby effectively increased the rates required of states.  Work participation rates are calculated by dividing a numerator consisting of “participants”—families engaged in federally acceptable work activities for the requisite hours per week—by a denominator that is a count of “total families.”  Largely because states received credits in their participation rates for caseload reductions that occurred after 1995 and because the count of “total families” included only certain TANF recipients, the real rates that states had to meet prior to the DRA were substantially below 50 and 90 percent.  As of fiscal year 2007, states will receive credits in their participation rates for caseload reductions that occur after 2005 and the count of “total families” will include TANF recipients as well as families receiving assistance through separate state programs that count toward maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements.  Because of these changes, states now face the challenge of achieving participation rates that are considerably higher and close to the 50 and 90 percent standards set in the law.  As states consider their options for meeting the higher work participation rates, they are likely to consider how they might redefine their TANF and separate state programs and make better use of sanction policies and procedures to encourage higher levels of participation in program activities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Gennetian, Lisa; Morris, Pamela
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This article contributes to the literature on parental self-sufficiency and child well-being in two ways. First, we bring a novel interdisciplinary perspective to formulating hypotheses about the pathways by which policy-induced changes in the environments in which children are embedded, both within and outside the home, facilitate or harm children’s development. These hypotheses help to organize the contradictory assertions regarding child impacts that have surrounded the debate over welfare reform. Second, we draw on a set of policy experiments to understand the effects of reforms targeting parents’ self-sufficiency on both parents and their children. The random-assignment design of these evaluations provides an unusually strong basis for identifying conditions under which policy-induced increases in employment among low-income and mostly single parents can help or hurt young children’s achievement. (Author introduction)

    This article contributes to the literature on parental self-sufficiency and child well-being in two ways. First, we bring a novel interdisciplinary perspective to formulating hypotheses about the pathways by which policy-induced changes in the environments in which children are embedded, both within and outside the home, facilitate or harm children’s development. These hypotheses help to organize the contradictory assertions regarding child impacts that have surrounded the debate over welfare reform. Second, we draw on a set of policy experiments to understand the effects of reforms targeting parents’ self-sufficiency on both parents and their children. The random-assignment design of these evaluations provides an unusually strong basis for identifying conditions under which policy-induced increases in employment among low-income and mostly single parents can help or hurt young children’s achievement. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Chapman, Peter; Ciurea, Michelle; Epp, Gayle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    HOPE VI redevelopment efforts are inextricably linked to the challenges and opportunities found in their surrounding neighborhoods. Indeed, the HOPE VI program has evolved from a large scale rehabilitation program into a comprehensive revitalization initiative whose scope extends beyond the immediate housing project to include the broader community. At times, community development objectives are explicitly woven into the redevelopment plan in the form of specific proposals, and other times these objectives are viewed as implicit spillover effects of the housing redevelopment itself. Regardless, nearly every HOPE VI initiative is viewed as a catalyst for positive community change and neighborhood revitalization.

    This study has several purposes: 1. to identify some key indicators for measuring change in a neighborhood, based on current research in this emerging area; 2. to undertake case studies across five different cities to explore evidence of change in selected key indicators; 3. to identify preliminary patterns of change that are emerging across the case study sites;...

    HOPE VI redevelopment efforts are inextricably linked to the challenges and opportunities found in their surrounding neighborhoods. Indeed, the HOPE VI program has evolved from a large scale rehabilitation program into a comprehensive revitalization initiative whose scope extends beyond the immediate housing project to include the broader community. At times, community development objectives are explicitly woven into the redevelopment plan in the form of specific proposals, and other times these objectives are viewed as implicit spillover effects of the housing redevelopment itself. Regardless, nearly every HOPE VI initiative is viewed as a catalyst for positive community change and neighborhood revitalization.

    This study has several purposes: 1. to identify some key indicators for measuring change in a neighborhood, based on current research in this emerging area; 2. to undertake case studies across five different cities to explore evidence of change in selected key indicators; 3. to identify preliminary patterns of change that are emerging across the case study sites; and 4. to provide guidance to local evaluators of HOPE VI efforts in the types of indicators that might be useful and in sources of data for measuring change at the neighborhood level. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Maloy, Kathleen A.; Pavetti, LaDonna A.; Darnell, Julie; Shin, Peter
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) ended the individual entitlement to welfare benefits and gave states new flexibility to emphasize work instead welfare. PRWORA also severed the traditional eligibility link between Medicaid and welfare. This research examined the emergence of diversion programs as a particular aspect of state welfare reform efforts and the potential for diversion programs to reduce access to Medicaid. In this second of two reports, we present the results of case studies in five states.

    Major findings from this research are:

    • Formal strategies to divert families from welfare are an increasingly common aspect of states' efforts to shift to a work-oriented assistance system. These efforts to emphasize work instead of welfare on the “front end” can also result in informal diversion.
    • Design and implementation of diversion programs reflect state and/or local goals and philosophies; these five states represent a range of diversion strategies that illustrate the importance of understanding key...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) ended the individual entitlement to welfare benefits and gave states new flexibility to emphasize work instead welfare. PRWORA also severed the traditional eligibility link between Medicaid and welfare. This research examined the emergence of diversion programs as a particular aspect of state welfare reform efforts and the potential for diversion programs to reduce access to Medicaid. In this second of two reports, we present the results of case studies in five states.

    Major findings from this research are:

    • Formal strategies to divert families from welfare are an increasingly common aspect of states' efforts to shift to a work-oriented assistance system. These efforts to emphasize work instead of welfare on the “front end” can also result in informal diversion.
    • Design and implementation of diversion programs reflect state and/or local goals and philosophies; these five states represent a range of diversion strategies that illustrate the importance of understanding key design and implementation choices in each state and, in some cases, each local office within a state.
    • Of the three types of formal diversion, mandatory applicant job search represents the fastest growing program with the greatest potential to divert large numbers of families.
    • Diversion, both formal and informal, has substantial potential to reduce initial access to Medicaid, particularly as families increasingly bypass welfare or go to work quickly thereby becoming ineligible for Medicaid under most states’ current eligibility criteria.
    • State officials can ameliorate this effect on Medicaid by improving implementation efforts and taking advantage of policy options under Section 1931 to focus attention on Medicaid as a stand-alone health insurance program for low-income families.
    • The compelling Medicaid and welfare reform policy challenge posed by diversion is how to use Medicaid effectively to support the welfare reform goal to promote work. Because PRWORA fundamentally changed the nature of the welfare system, states can and should consider whether it is a desirable consequence of their Medicaid and welfare policies that access to Medicaid for diverted families is limited or unavailable.
    • Little information is available on the number and circumstances of families who have been diverted from the welfare rolls. Without such information, reports on the success or failure of state welfare reform efforts will be incomplete.

    (author abstract)

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