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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: Turetsky, Vicki
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    Two decades of research present a stark message to Maryland policymakers: Unrealistic child support policies and practices entangle low-income black families in poverty and have become a destabilizing force in the Baltimore community. Child support orders set beyond the ability of noncustodial parents to comply push them out of low-wage jobs, drown them in debt, hound them into the underground economy, and chase them out of their children’s lives. Of Maryland parents who paid all of their current support, they were expected to pay 18 percent of their earnings toward child support. Parents who paid the least amount were expected to pay more than 70 percent of their income. Parents who struggle to pay some or all of their child support often have low incomes – earning below $20,000 per year. This disparity is unfair and unsustainable. In our latest report, Reforming Child Support to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families, author Vicki Turetsky, who served as the commissioner for the U.S. office of child support enforcement for nearly eight years, examines the data and finds...

    Two decades of research present a stark message to Maryland policymakers: Unrealistic child support policies and practices entangle low-income black families in poverty and have become a destabilizing force in the Baltimore community. Child support orders set beyond the ability of noncustodial parents to comply push them out of low-wage jobs, drown them in debt, hound them into the underground economy, and chase them out of their children’s lives. Of Maryland parents who paid all of their current support, they were expected to pay 18 percent of their earnings toward child support. Parents who paid the least amount were expected to pay more than 70 percent of their income. Parents who struggle to pay some or all of their child support often have low incomes – earning below $20,000 per year. This disparity is unfair and unsustainable. In our latest report, Reforming Child Support to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families, author Vicki Turetsky, who served as the commissioner for the U.S. office of child support enforcement for nearly eight years, examines the data and finds that it is time for Maryland to reform its child support system. Not only are orders for many low-income parents set unrealistically high, but policies around enforcement and collection are unnecessarily punitive. For example, people who fail to pay child support can have their license suspended. But the research shows that this strategy further interferes with low-income parents’ ability to pay by affecting their ability to find and maintain employment and does not yield more money for the state. The report focuses on 15 policy recommendations that Maryland should implement to increase the effectiveness of our child support system. Three key evidence-based strategies underlie the policy recommendations in the report:

    1. Set child support orders that reflect parents’ actual ability to pay.
    2. Reduce uncollectible child support debt.
    3. Ensure that children, not the state, receive the money when their parents pay child support.

    By focusing on these three evidence-based strategies—and the specific policy recommendations in this report—we hope to offer promising alternatives that better meet the needs of low-income children and families. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Walton, Douglas; Wood, Michelle; Dunton, Lauren
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This series of research briefs explores issues of family homelessness that are especially relevant to HHS, to state and local decision makers, and for programs. The Child Separation among Families Experiencing Homelessness brief explores child separations among families experiencing homelessness. It builds upon the fourth brief in this series, “Child and Partner Transitions among Families Experiencing Homelessness,” which looked at family separations and reunifications in the 20 months after being in emergency shelter and the association between family separation and recent housing instability following an initial shelter stay. This new brief provides a more detailed examination of these families and their children before and after the initial shelter stay, revealing more extensive and persistent levels of child separation. It gives detailed characteristics of separated children and examines whether future child separation after a shelter stay is related to either housing instability of previous separations. (Author abstract)

     

    This series of research briefs explores issues of family homelessness that are especially relevant to HHS, to state and local decision makers, and for programs. The Child Separation among Families Experiencing Homelessness brief explores child separations among families experiencing homelessness. It builds upon the fourth brief in this series, “Child and Partner Transitions among Families Experiencing Homelessness,” which looked at family separations and reunifications in the 20 months after being in emergency shelter and the association between family separation and recent housing instability following an initial shelter stay. This new brief provides a more detailed examination of these families and their children before and after the initial shelter stay, revealing more extensive and persistent levels of child separation. It gives detailed characteristics of separated children and examines whether future child separation after a shelter stay is related to either housing instability of previous separations. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Shinn, Marybeth; Gubits, Daniel ; Dunton, Lauren
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The Homeless Families Research Briefs project, conducted by Abt Associates, is producing a series of research briefs on issues related to the well-being and economic self-sufficiency of families and children experiencing homelessness. Using data collected from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Family Options Study, these briefs build on the data and analysis already being conducted for HUD to answer additional questions of interest to HHS. 

    This brief builds on previous research by describing the behavioral health problems reported by 2,020 parents—including some fathers—at the outset of a shelter stay with their children and the association of these problems with parents’ prior experiences. For the purposes of this brief, behavioral health includes psychological distress, alcohol dependence, drug abuse, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).The brief then looks at changes in the parents’ behavioral health problems over the next 37 months and how those changes were related to housing stability following the episode of homelessness. (...

    The Homeless Families Research Briefs project, conducted by Abt Associates, is producing a series of research briefs on issues related to the well-being and economic self-sufficiency of families and children experiencing homelessness. Using data collected from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Family Options Study, these briefs build on the data and analysis already being conducted for HUD to answer additional questions of interest to HHS. 

    This brief builds on previous research by describing the behavioral health problems reported by 2,020 parents—including some fathers—at the outset of a shelter stay with their children and the association of these problems with parents’ prior experiences. For the purposes of this brief, behavioral health includes psychological distress, alcohol dependence, drug abuse, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).The brief then looks at changes in the parents’ behavioral health problems over the next 37 months and how those changes were related to housing stability following the episode of homelessness. (Edited author introduction)

     

  • Individual Author: Benton, Amanda; Dunton, Lauren; Khadduri, Jill; Walton, Douglas
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2018

    These PowerPoints are from the 2018 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS). The Homeless Families Research Briefs project uses data from a large randomized controlled trial, the Family Options Study, to answer questions that are of interest to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This panel included presentations on three aspects of homeless families that may help HHS ensure that the agency’s programs and policies are used to assist families that have experienced homelessness in becoming self-sufficient. Amanda Benton (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) moderated this session. Various methodologies were used across the presentations. (Author introduction)

    These PowerPoints are from the 2018 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS). The Homeless Families Research Briefs project uses data from a large randomized controlled trial, the Family Options Study, to answer questions that are of interest to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This panel included presentations on three aspects of homeless families that may help HHS ensure that the agency’s programs and policies are used to assist families that have experienced homelessness in becoming self-sufficient. Amanda Benton (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) moderated this session. Various methodologies were used across the presentations. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Glendening, Zachary; Shinn, Marybeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Research indicates that most families using emergency shelters stay briefly—one to four or five months—and rarely return (Culhane et al. 2007). However, some families remain homeless for long periods of time or experience repeated episodes of homelessness. These families may have characteristics and service needs that differ from those of families who leave shelter quickly and permanently. Communities and homelessness practitioners might benefit from identifying those families’ characteristics and experiences to improve targeting of services.

    Using data on families experiencing a shelter stay, this analysis seeks to identify family characteristics and past experiences that might help practitioners identify families with repeated or persistent experiences of homelessness, with homelessness defined as staying in an emergency shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation (e.g., in a vehicle or abandoned building). (Author abstract)

    Research indicates that most families using emergency shelters stay briefly—one to four or five months—and rarely return (Culhane et al. 2007). However, some families remain homeless for long periods of time or experience repeated episodes of homelessness. These families may have characteristics and service needs that differ from those of families who leave shelter quickly and permanently. Communities and homelessness practitioners might benefit from identifying those families’ characteristics and experiences to improve targeting of services.

    Using data on families experiencing a shelter stay, this analysis seeks to identify family characteristics and past experiences that might help practitioners identify families with repeated or persistent experiences of homelessness, with homelessness defined as staying in an emergency shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation (e.g., in a vehicle or abandoned building). (Author abstract)

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