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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: Hahn, Heather; Adams, Gina; Spaulding, Shayne; Heller, Caroline
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    Low-income families receiving cash assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) also need assistance with workforce development and child care. Workforce development and child care subsidy systems support low-income families and individuals, but are TANF families well served by these systems? This report outlines the opportunities that the workforce development and child care subsidy systems offer, highlights the challenges of meeting the complex needs of these highly disadvantaged families, and identifies implications for federal and state policy improvements. (Author abstract)

    Low-income families receiving cash assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) also need assistance with workforce development and child care. Workforce development and child care subsidy systems support low-income families and individuals, but are TANF families well served by these systems? This report outlines the opportunities that the workforce development and child care subsidy systems offer, highlights the challenges of meeting the complex needs of these highly disadvantaged families, and identifies implications for federal and state policy improvements. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Rich, Sarah; Turner, Lesley; Seith, David; Bloom, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    One of the most controversial features of the 1990s welfare reforms was the imposition of time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits became a central feature of federal policy in the landmark 1996 welfare law, which created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The law prohibits states from using federal TANF funds to assist most families for more than 60 months. Under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Lewin Group and MDRC have conducted a comprehensive review of what has been learned about time limits. The review, which updates a 2002 study, includes analysis of administrative data reported by states to ACF, visits to several states, and a literature review. The update is timely because most states now have several years’ experience with time limits.

    Federal law affords states great flexibility in setting time-limit policies. The federal 60-month limit does not apply to state-funded benefits; also, states may use federal TANF funds to support up to 20 percent...

    One of the most controversial features of the 1990s welfare reforms was the imposition of time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits became a central feature of federal policy in the landmark 1996 welfare law, which created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The law prohibits states from using federal TANF funds to assist most families for more than 60 months. Under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Lewin Group and MDRC have conducted a comprehensive review of what has been learned about time limits. The review, which updates a 2002 study, includes analysis of administrative data reported by states to ACF, visits to several states, and a literature review. The update is timely because most states now have several years’ experience with time limits.

    Federal law affords states great flexibility in setting time-limit policies. The federal 60-month limit does not apply to state-funded benefits; also, states may use federal TANF funds to support up to 20 percent of the caseload beyond 60 months. Thus, states may set a 60-month time limit, a shorter limit, or no time limit, and they may choose to exempt families from time limits. Not surprisingly, time-limit policies vary dramatically from state to state. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Herd, Dean; Lightman, Ernie; Mitchell, Andrew
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    This paper examines time limits on the receipt of welfare, based on experiences in the United States and, since 2002, in British Columbia, the only province to have introduced time limits in Canada. In effect, time limits start a ‘clock’ running and when the time has expired, welfare recipients become subject to penalties, up to lifetime exclusion from welfare. The paper begins by describing the introduction of time limits in the US and Canada, detailing the often complex policies themselves. It then reviews the research evidence, drawing primarily on the US experience which has been more fully evaluated. Overall, the research shows that time limits are both philosophically flawed and a blunt and ineffective policy tool. Proponents of time limits advocate their use as part of a package of measures designed to change the behaviour of individuals and to reduce welfare “dependency”. Instead, the research shows that those who reach time limits face multiple barriers to employment. In practical terms, recognition of the human costs of time limits in both the US and British Columbia...

    This paper examines time limits on the receipt of welfare, based on experiences in the United States and, since 2002, in British Columbia, the only province to have introduced time limits in Canada. In effect, time limits start a ‘clock’ running and when the time has expired, welfare recipients become subject to penalties, up to lifetime exclusion from welfare. The paper begins by describing the introduction of time limits in the US and Canada, detailing the often complex policies themselves. It then reviews the research evidence, drawing primarily on the US experience which has been more fully evaluated. Overall, the research shows that time limits are both philosophically flawed and a blunt and ineffective policy tool. Proponents of time limits advocate their use as part of a package of measures designed to change the behaviour of individuals and to reduce welfare “dependency”. Instead, the research shows that those who reach time limits face multiple barriers to employment. In practical terms, recognition of the human costs of time limits in both the US and British Columbia has led to the development of broad exemptions and extensions. While this has negated many of the impacts of time limits, the powerful symbolism remains. The presence of time limits graphically highlights the transformed purpose and scope of welfare. As such, while the practical impact in British Columbia has been significantly reduced, time limits continue to cast an ominous shadow over those in need of assistance. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Tyuse, Sabrina W.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    For six decades welfare entitlements were designated for the aid of poor children and since 1950, their caretaker. The current TANF program, however, represents a fundamental shift from child-focused aid programs to caretaker-focused work obligations. What are the economic and social consequences of a time-limited governmental reordering of responsibility for vulnerable children? More importantly, what impacts will caretaker-centered requirements and untested time limits have on the life chances of disadvantaged children? This article assesses from a social justice perspective previous income maintenance welfare initiatives, reviews their intended and actual outcomes, and explores the expected growing economic and social isolation of welfare recipients with current TANF policies. Following this assessment, future government initiatives as well social justice-type strategies to address the economic and social isolation of welfare recipients are recommended. (author abstract)

    For six decades welfare entitlements were designated for the aid of poor children and since 1950, their caretaker. The current TANF program, however, represents a fundamental shift from child-focused aid programs to caretaker-focused work obligations. What are the economic and social consequences of a time-limited governmental reordering of responsibility for vulnerable children? More importantly, what impacts will caretaker-centered requirements and untested time limits have on the life chances of disadvantaged children? This article assesses from a social justice perspective previous income maintenance welfare initiatives, reviews their intended and actual outcomes, and explores the expected growing economic and social isolation of welfare recipients with current TANF policies. Following this assessment, future government initiatives as well social justice-type strategies to address the economic and social isolation of welfare recipients are recommended. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bloom, Dan; Farrell, Mary; Fink, Barbara; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Few features of the 1990s welfare reforms have generated as much attention and controversy as time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits first emerged at the state level and subsequently became a central feature of federal welfare policy in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which imposed a 60-month time limit on federally funded assistance for most families.

    To inform discussions about the reauthorization of PRWORA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of what is known about time limits. The project included a survey of state welfare agencies (conducted for MDRC by The Lewin Group), site visits to examine the implementation of time limits, and a review of research on time limits.

    Though a simple idea, time limits raise a host of complex issues in practice. Many experts believe that time limits have played a key role in reshaping welfare, but the knowledge base about this key policy change is still...

    Few features of the 1990s welfare reforms have generated as much attention and controversy as time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits first emerged at the state level and subsequently became a central feature of federal welfare policy in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which imposed a 60-month time limit on federally funded assistance for most families.

    To inform discussions about the reauthorization of PRWORA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of what is known about time limits. The project included a survey of state welfare agencies (conducted for MDRC by The Lewin Group), site visits to examine the implementation of time limits, and a review of research on time limits.

    Though a simple idea, time limits raise a host of complex issues in practice. Many experts believe that time limits have played a key role in reshaping welfare, but the knowledge base about this key policy change is still thin. Few families have reached the federal time limit, and it is too early to draw conclusions about how states will respond as more families reach limits or how families will fare without benefits over the long-term, in varying economic conditions. (author abstract)

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