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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: Taylor, Mary; Barusch, Amanda; Vogel, Mary
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The call came forth to “end welfare as we know it,” and so we have. This study of Utah’s long-term welfare families represents a commitment by the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to understand and document the situations of families as they reach the mandatory three-year lifetime limit for receipt of cash assistance. It also represents a snapshot of a historic time of change. This study reflects transitions at both societal and individual levels. At the societal level, the AFDC program that had been in place for over 60 years was replaced by a time-limited program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The individual transitions documented here reflect this broader change. The long-term welfare recipients described were familiar with, and often dependent on, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Their experiences adjusting to TANF are in some ways unique to their cohort. Indeed, their difficulty understanding the reality of lifetime limits and related policies may not be experienced by their successors in the Family Employment Program (...

    The call came forth to “end welfare as we know it,” and so we have. This study of Utah’s long-term welfare families represents a commitment by the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to understand and document the situations of families as they reach the mandatory three-year lifetime limit for receipt of cash assistance. It also represents a snapshot of a historic time of change. This study reflects transitions at both societal and individual levels. At the societal level, the AFDC program that had been in place for over 60 years was replaced by a time-limited program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The individual transitions documented here reflect this broader change. The long-term welfare recipients described were familiar with, and often dependent on, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Their experiences adjusting to TANF are in some ways unique to their cohort. Indeed, their difficulty understanding the reality of lifetime limits and related policies may not be experienced by their successors in the Family Employment Program (FEP). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2000

    Plunging caseloads and soaring employment among single mothers lead many to judge welfare reform a stunning success. Lost in the caseload counts and political rhetoric is the subject of our chapter: welfare reform and children. We sort through conflicting theory and evidence regarding the impacts of welfare reform on children’s well-being and development.

    A brief examination of recent trends in national indicators of potential problems shows that the sky has not fallen. Poverty rates are down, as are teen crime and fertility as well as substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, the dearth of timely and consistent state level data on indicators of child well-being precludes a serious analysis of the role of welfare reform, the booming economy and other recent changes for all but a handful of these indicators.

    We turn instead to lessons that can be gleaned from a set of welfare-reform random assignment experiments conducted during the 1990s. Experiments provide strong evidence on the impacts of the welfare reform packages under evaluation relative to the old...

    Plunging caseloads and soaring employment among single mothers lead many to judge welfare reform a stunning success. Lost in the caseload counts and political rhetoric is the subject of our chapter: welfare reform and children. We sort through conflicting theory and evidence regarding the impacts of welfare reform on children’s well-being and development.

    A brief examination of recent trends in national indicators of potential problems shows that the sky has not fallen. Poverty rates are down, as are teen crime and fertility as well as substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, the dearth of timely and consistent state level data on indicators of child well-being precludes a serious analysis of the role of welfare reform, the booming economy and other recent changes for all but a handful of these indicators.

    We turn instead to lessons that can be gleaned from a set of welfare-reform random assignment experiments conducted during the 1990s. Experiments provide strong evidence on the impacts of the welfare reform packages under evaluation relative to the old AFDC system. Regrettably, the reform packages evaluated in the experiments do not span the diverse set of reforms instituted by states in the late 1990s.

    Our conclusions regarding likely child impacts depend crucially on the ages of the children studied. In the case of elementary-school children, the picture is fairly positive. We find strong evidence that welfare reform  can be a potent force for enhancing achievement and positive behavior.  When welfare reform packages do not appear to help younger children, there is little evidence of harm, even in the one experiment with time limits. If anything, the beneficial impacts are strongest for children in families with longer histories of welfare receipt. On the other hand, in the case of adolescents, more limited evidence suggests that welfare reforms may cause detrimental increases in school problems and risky behavior. The jury is still out on impacts on infants and toddlers.

    Distinguishing among programs, we find that reforms with work mandates but few supports (e.g., wage and childcare subsidies) for working mothers appear to be significantly less beneficial for elementary-school-aged children than programs with work supports. Furthermore, and here the evidence is also less definitive, reforms with positive impacts on children appeared  to operate more through changes outside the family – e.g., in childcare and after-school programs – than through changes in parental mental health, family routines or other aspects of the home environment. Finally, poverty, maternal depression, domestic violence and children’s developmental problems are alarmingly common, even among families offered a generous package of work supports.

    Our list of policy recommendations includes ways of better supporting work, providing after-school and community programs for older children, addressing safety-net issues for families with barriers to stable, full-time employment, and encouraging fathers to become more involved with their children. More generally, we hope that the debate over the future of welfare reform will pay more attention to children’s well-being, to the diverse situations in which children in low-income families find themselves, and to the very different developmental needs of children of different ages. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dreilinger, Danielle; Timmons, Jaimie C.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    On August 22, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). One of the many stated goals under PRWORA was to encourage recipients of welfare to improve their economic status by returning to or entering employment. The emphasis on employment presents challenges for welfare caseworkers who must assist individuals in acquiring the necessary skills and training to enter employment. People with disabilities offer an additional challenge to caseworkers who in the past were not required to be familiar with disability-specific public supports, disability rights protections, and employment supports.

    This study examined how welfare reform affected Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) case-workers in Massachusetts who may work with individuals with disabilities and investigated how their roles as caseworkers have changed since the reform. This brief will describe the findings of this research and share recommendations and resources with welfare caseworkers as they serve individuals with disabilities in...

    On August 22, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). One of the many stated goals under PRWORA was to encourage recipients of welfare to improve their economic status by returning to or entering employment. The emphasis on employment presents challenges for welfare caseworkers who must assist individuals in acquiring the necessary skills and training to enter employment. People with disabilities offer an additional challenge to caseworkers who in the past were not required to be familiar with disability-specific public supports, disability rights protections, and employment supports.

    This study examined how welfare reform affected Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) case-workers in Massachusetts who may work with individuals with disabilities and investigated how their roles as caseworkers have changed since the reform. This brief will describe the findings of this research and share recommendations and resources with welfare caseworkers as they serve individuals with disabilities in their caseloads. Although the findings are specifically related to DTA caseworkers in Massachusetts, it is our hope that the strategies provided are relevant to caseworkers in other states as well. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Turetsky, Vicki
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The mission of the child support program is undergoing a basic shift from welfare cost recovery to helping parents support their children. However, the child support program's reimbursement policies have interfered with states' ability to implement policies to bolster family support. As states assess their capacity to improve their services to low-income parents, there are a number of policies they can consider. These policies include: (1) paying all child support to families on welfare; (2) setting realistic orders for poor fathers; (3) developing arrearage management policies; and (4) implementing case management strategies. By implementing realistic and flexible practices that encourage, rather than inhibit, the payment of regular child support by low-income fathers, child support programs can help low-income families more effectively in sustaining employment, improving family relationships, and supporting the involvement of both parents in their children's lives. (author abstract)

    The mission of the child support program is undergoing a basic shift from welfare cost recovery to helping parents support their children. However, the child support program's reimbursement policies have interfered with states' ability to implement policies to bolster family support. As states assess their capacity to improve their services to low-income parents, there are a number of policies they can consider. These policies include: (1) paying all child support to families on welfare; (2) setting realistic orders for poor fathers; (3) developing arrearage management policies; and (4) implementing case management strategies. By implementing realistic and flexible practices that encourage, rather than inhibit, the payment of regular child support by low-income fathers, child support programs can help low-income families more effectively in sustaining employment, improving family relationships, and supporting the involvement of both parents in their children's lives. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Paulsell, Diane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Interest among policymakers and program operators in services designed to promote employment retention among welfare recipients has increased greatly since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. This legislation, which ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), imposed a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance for most families and stricter work requirements on most able-bodied recipients. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) implemented TANF in March 1997. As required by the federal legislation, DPW has imposed a five-year limit on TANF receipt and now requires most recipients, after two years of TANF benefits, to work or participate in a work-related activity for at least 25 hours a week.

    In response to these policy changes, The Pittsburgh Foundation, in collaboration with the Allegheny County Assistance Office (ACAO) of DPW, developed the GAPS initiative, an employment retention program that consisted of case management...

    Interest among policymakers and program operators in services designed to promote employment retention among welfare recipients has increased greatly since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. This legislation, which ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), imposed a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance for most families and stricter work requirements on most able-bodied recipients. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) implemented TANF in March 1997. As required by the federal legislation, DPW has imposed a five-year limit on TANF receipt and now requires most recipients, after two years of TANF benefits, to work or participate in a work-related activity for at least 25 hours a week.

    In response to these policy changes, The Pittsburgh Foundation, in collaboration with the Allegheny County Assistance Office (ACAO) of DPW, developed the GAPS initiative, an employment retention program that consisted of case management and other support services for employed Allegheny County welfare recipients. The program was called “GAPS” because it aimed to help welfare recipients bridge the gap between dependence on welfare and self-sufficiency. This report is the second and final report on the GAPS initiative. It examines how the program operated and how participants fared while enrolled in GAPS. (author abstract)

     

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