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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: Manzi, Jim
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2016

    This video from the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency includes the lunch symposium on the second day of the conference. Author Jim Manzi discusses his book, Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society, and what can be learned from the private sector about evaluating social policy.

    This video from the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency includes the lunch symposium on the second day of the conference. Author Jim Manzi discusses his book, Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society, and what can be learned from the private sector about evaluating social policy.

  • Individual Author: Wood, Michelle; Gubits, Daniel; Dastrup, Sam; Dunton, Lauren; Wulff, Carli
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2016

    This video from the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) describes the Family Options Study, which is a random assignment study examining the impact of housing and services for homeless families in twelve communities across the United States. Topics covered include the study design, findings from the first 18 months, and the services needs of the families involved in the study.
    See fam more at:https://www.opressrc.org/content/workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act-federal-interagency-coordination-state

    This video from the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) describes the Family Options Study, which is a random assignment study examining the impact of housing and services for homeless families in twelve communities across the United States. Topics covered include the study design, findings from the first 18 months, and the services needs of the families involved in the study.
    See fam more at:https://www.opressrc.org/content/workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act-federal-interagency-coordination-state

  • Individual Author: Miller, Cynthia; Mincy, Ronald; Sorrensen, Elaine; Turetsky, Vicki; Hicks, Carson
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    This session will explore the emerging research on an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for single adults. The EITC, a refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and couples, is an effective way to make work pay for low-wage workers. However, many childless adults are ineligible for benefits. This session will explore emerging evidence on how expanding the EITC may improve self-sufficiency for low-income, single adults, including non-custodial parents. Carson Hicks (New York City Center for Economic Opportunity) will moderate this session, and Vicki Turetsky (Administration for Children and Families) will serve as a discussant.

    • Paycheck Plus: Testing an Expanded EITC for Single Adults in New York City

    Cynthia Miller (MDRC)

    • Effects of an Expanded EITC on Labor Market Participation for Black and Latino Young Men

    Ronald Mincy (Columbia University)

    • Strengthening Families with Non-Custodial Parents: Effects of an Expanded EITC on Child Support

    Elaine Sorensen (Administration for Children and Families) (...

    This session will explore the emerging research on an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for single adults. The EITC, a refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and couples, is an effective way to make work pay for low-wage workers. However, many childless adults are ineligible for benefits. This session will explore emerging evidence on how expanding the EITC may improve self-sufficiency for low-income, single adults, including non-custodial parents. Carson Hicks (New York City Center for Economic Opportunity) will moderate this session, and Vicki Turetsky (Administration for Children and Families) will serve as a discussant.

    • Paycheck Plus: Testing an Expanded EITC for Single Adults in New York City

    Cynthia Miller (MDRC)

    • Effects of an Expanded EITC on Labor Market Participation for Black and Latino Young Men

    Ronald Mincy (Columbia University)

    • Strengthening Families with Non-Custodial Parents: Effects of an Expanded EITC on Child Support

    Elaine Sorensen (Administration for Children and Families) (conference program description)

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

  • Individual Author: Scrivener, Susan; Coghlan, Erin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    In today’s economy, having a postsecondary credential means better jobs and wages. Community colleges, with their open access policies and low tuition, are an important pathway into postsecondary education for nearly half of all U.S. undergraduates. Yet only one-third of all students who enter these institutions with the intent to earn a degree or certificate actually meet this goal within six years. The reasons for this are many, including that community college students are typically underprepared for college-level work, face competing priorities outside of school, and lack adequate financial resources. Recent cuts to higher education spending along with insufficient financial aid and advising at colleges only add to the problem. Ultimately, these factors contribute to unacceptably low persistence and completion rates.

    In response to these issues, MDRC launched the Opening Doors Demonstration in 2003 — the first large-scale random assignment study in a community college setting. The demonstration pursued promising strategies that emerged from focus groups with low-income...

    In today’s economy, having a postsecondary credential means better jobs and wages. Community colleges, with their open access policies and low tuition, are an important pathway into postsecondary education for nearly half of all U.S. undergraduates. Yet only one-third of all students who enter these institutions with the intent to earn a degree or certificate actually meet this goal within six years. The reasons for this are many, including that community college students are typically underprepared for college-level work, face competing priorities outside of school, and lack adequate financial resources. Recent cuts to higher education spending along with insufficient financial aid and advising at colleges only add to the problem. Ultimately, these factors contribute to unacceptably low persistence and completion rates.

    In response to these issues, MDRC launched the Opening Doors Demonstration in 2003 — the first large-scale random assignment study in a community college setting. The demonstration pursued promising strategies that emerged from focus groups with low-income students, discussions with college administrators, and an extensive literature review. Partnering with six community colleges across the country, MDRC helped develop and evaluated four distinct programs based on the following approaches: financial incentives, reforms in instructional practices, and enhancements in student services. Colleges were encouraged to focus on one strategy but to think creatively about combining elements of the other strategies to design programs that would help students perform better academically and persist toward degree completion.

    Opening Doors provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can, indeed, improve educational outcomes for community college students. The findings spurred some of the colleges to scale up their programs and led to additional large-scale demonstrations to test some of the most promising strategies. More work must be done, however, both to determine whether the early effects can last and to test even bolder reforms. This 12-page policy brief describes the different strategies tested, discusses what MDRC has learned from Opening Doors, and offers some suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for moving forward. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Robins, Philip K.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Background

    One of the primary goals of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) has been to move welfare recipients into work and economic self-sufficiency. It is well known that child care costs often create a significant barrier to employment among parents with young children, particularly among low-income families receiving welfare or among families having a previous welfare history. Using data from four random assignment studies that tested ten welfare and employment programs, this working paper examines the impact of welfare reform policies on the child care decisions of families. Responses are measured for the combined sample of families participating in these programs as well as for each program separately. Responses are also measured separately for families that left welfare and for families that stayed on welfare during the study period.

    Key Findings

    • The ten experimental programs increased average employment by almost 7...

    Background

    One of the primary goals of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) has been to move welfare recipients into work and economic self-sufficiency. It is well known that child care costs often create a significant barrier to employment among parents with young children, particularly among low-income families receiving welfare or among families having a previous welfare history. Using data from four random assignment studies that tested ten welfare and employment programs, this working paper examines the impact of welfare reform policies on the child care decisions of families. Responses are measured for the combined sample of families participating in these programs as well as for each program separately. Responses are also measured separately for families that left welfare and for families that stayed on welfare during the study period.

    Key Findings

    • The ten experimental programs increased average employment by almost 7 percentage points. This impact was measured between two and four years after the programs began operating.
    • The percentage of school-age children using any child care increased by about the same amount as the percentage of parents who were employed. Most of the increased child care was informal care provided by a relative, particularly by a sibling or a grandparent. There was also a small, statistically insignificant increase in the use of formal child care.
    • There are significant differences in the employment and child care impacts across the various programs tested. The employment impacts ranged from -4 to +14 percentage points, and the child care impacts ranged from -3 to +14 percentage points.
    • Although child care impacts are larger for welfare leavers (reflecting the larger employment impacts), they are not significantly different from the child care impacts of welfare stayers.

    Conclusions and Implications

    The results confirm expectations that welfare reform creates an additional need for child care. However, because most of the children studied here were of school age when their parents' child care choices were observed, the additional need was met mostly through informal sources, primarily care provided by relatives. Because care by a relative is often provided a little or no cost, the welfare reform programs did not create any additional program costs. However, current welfare reform programs that offer more generous child care subsidies could stimulate more employment and subsidy use among parents of children in this age group and, hence, could generate higher program costs. (author abstract)

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