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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: Rothwell, David W. ; Ottusch, Timothy ; Finders, Jennifer K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    Children who grow up in income poverty experience increased risks for lifelong hardship. These hardships include low birth weight, increased infant mortality, emotional and behavioral problems, delayed cognitive development, lower academic achievement, and high school dropout, to name a few. The effects of income poverty are intergenerational, such that children in poverty are substantially more likely to be poor as adults. A recent review summarizing the past 50 years of research on this subject, highlights toxic stress and compromised immunity as the most conclusive mechanisms by which low income shapes later outcomes. The consequences of income poverty justify why more research is needed on the nature and extent of childhood poverty and interventions to reduce it. Within the existing literature, the vast majority of child poverty research uses household income as the sole indicator of well-being. Yet, families rely on a range of economic resources beyond income to meet basic needs and support children's development. Reeves and colleagues have recognized that poverty and...

    Children who grow up in income poverty experience increased risks for lifelong hardship. These hardships include low birth weight, increased infant mortality, emotional and behavioral problems, delayed cognitive development, lower academic achievement, and high school dropout, to name a few. The effects of income poverty are intergenerational, such that children in poverty are substantially more likely to be poor as adults. A recent review summarizing the past 50 years of research on this subject, highlights toxic stress and compromised immunity as the most conclusive mechanisms by which low income shapes later outcomes. The consequences of income poverty justify why more research is needed on the nature and extent of childhood poverty and interventions to reduce it. Within the existing literature, the vast majority of child poverty research uses household income as the sole indicator of well-being. Yet, families rely on a range of economic resources beyond income to meet basic needs and support children's development. Reeves and colleagues have recognized that poverty and disadvantage are complex and should be measured with multiple dimensions. Specifically, assets—financial and non-financial—shape family functioning and children's development in ways that are unique and independent from income. We begin by defining assets to include financial capital such as savings and stocks, along with non-financial assets such as real estate holdings, vehicles, etc. We then focus on financial assets as especially important to household finances because they can be easily liquidated to smooth consumption during times of economic hardship. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Howard, Lanikque; Vogel, Lisa Klein; Cancian, Maria; Noyes, Jennifer L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Davis, Owen
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    This article provides new evidence on the relationship between benefit conditionality and mental health. Using data on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families policies (TANF) – the main form of poverty relief in the United States – it explores whether the mental health of low-educated single mothers varies according to the stringency of conditionality requirements attached to receipt of benefit. Specifically, the article combines state-level data on sanctioning practices, work requirements and welfare-to-work spending with health data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and evaluates the impact of conditionality on mental health over a fifteen-year period (2000 to 2015). It finds that states that have harsher sanctions, stricter job search requirements and higher expenditure on welfare-to-work policies, have worse mental health among low-educated single mothers. There is also evidence that between-wave increases in the stringency of conditionality requirements are associated with deteriorations in mental health among the recipient population. It is suggested that...

    This article provides new evidence on the relationship between benefit conditionality and mental health. Using data on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families policies (TANF) – the main form of poverty relief in the United States – it explores whether the mental health of low-educated single mothers varies according to the stringency of conditionality requirements attached to receipt of benefit. Specifically, the article combines state-level data on sanctioning practices, work requirements and welfare-to-work spending with health data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and evaluates the impact of conditionality on mental health over a fifteen-year period (2000 to 2015). It finds that states that have harsher sanctions, stricter job search requirements and higher expenditure on welfare-to-work policies, have worse mental health among low-educated single mothers. There is also evidence that between-wave increases in the stringency of conditionality requirements are associated with deteriorations in mental health among the recipient population. It is suggested that these findings may reflect an overall effect of ‘intensive conditionality’, rather than of the individual variables per se. The article ends by considering the wider implications for policy and research. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Shaefer, H. Luke ; Edin, Kathryn ; Fusaro, Vincent ; Wu, Pinghui
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    Since the early 1990s, the social safety net for families with children in the United States has undergone an epochal transformation. Aid to poor working families has become more generous. In contrast, assistance to the deeply poor has declined sharply, and what remains often takes the form of in-kind aid. A historical view finds that this dramatic change mirrors others. For centuries, the nature and form of poor relief has been driven in part by shifting cultural notions of which social groups constitute the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. This line was firmly redrawn in the 1990s. Did the re-institutionalization of these categorizations in policy have material consequences? In this study, we examine the relationship between the decline of traditional cash welfare during the 2001-2015 period and two direct measures of wellbeing among households with children: household food insecurity and public school child homelessness. Using models that control for state and year trends, along with other factors, we find that the decline of cash assistance is associated with increases in...

    Since the early 1990s, the social safety net for families with children in the United States has undergone an epochal transformation. Aid to poor working families has become more generous. In contrast, assistance to the deeply poor has declined sharply, and what remains often takes the form of in-kind aid. A historical view finds that this dramatic change mirrors others. For centuries, the nature and form of poor relief has been driven in part by shifting cultural notions of which social groups constitute the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. This line was firmly redrawn in the 1990s. Did the re-institutionalization of these categorizations in policy have material consequences? In this study, we examine the relationship between the decline of traditional cash welfare during the 2001-2015 period and two direct measures of wellbeing among households with children: household food insecurity and public school child homelessness. Using models that control for state and year trends, along with other factors, we find that the decline of cash assistance is associated with increases in these two forms of hardship. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Todd, Timothy M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    The tax code is designed to raise government revenue. Domestic support obligations (DSOs) — namely, child support and spousal support — are designed to ameliorate the financial burdens that arise upon divorce. To determine the amount of domestic support obligations, statutes often refer to commonly used taxation concepts, such as “income.” Courts determining domestic support obligations have been confronted with the question of how to treat “phantom income” — that is, amounts that are includible as gross income under the federal tax code but that have not resulted in any actual current cash receipt. Individuals obligated to make domestic support payments have argued that phantom income should not be included when calculating or modifying such obligations because the individual’s ability to pay has not materially changed. This Article analyzes the intersection of federal tax law and domestic support obligations concerning phantom income. This Article considers several solutions — judicial and legislative — to address the phantom income issue in the domestic support context....

    The tax code is designed to raise government revenue. Domestic support obligations (DSOs) — namely, child support and spousal support — are designed to ameliorate the financial burdens that arise upon divorce. To determine the amount of domestic support obligations, statutes often refer to commonly used taxation concepts, such as “income.” Courts determining domestic support obligations have been confronted with the question of how to treat “phantom income” — that is, amounts that are includible as gross income under the federal tax code but that have not resulted in any actual current cash receipt. Individuals obligated to make domestic support payments have argued that phantom income should not be included when calculating or modifying such obligations because the individual’s ability to pay has not materially changed. This Article analyzes the intersection of federal tax law and domestic support obligations concerning phantom income. This Article considers several solutions — judicial and legislative — to address the phantom income issue in the domestic support context. Notably, this Article evaluates the current judicial decisional framework to examine the potential tax and DSO asymmetries. Finally, this Article advances a legislative proposal for a charging-order type remedy specific to domestic support obligations—one that would resolve the phantom income issue in many situations. (Author abstract)

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