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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: Mills, Gregory; Kornfeld, Robert; Porcari, Diane; Laliberty, Don
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This report presents the findings of the final phase of a five-year evaluation of welfare reforms implemented by the Arizona Department of Economic Security under two major initiatives that altered the rules and procedures for providing cash assistance to low-income families.

    The first set of reforms was implemented in November 1995 under the title EMPOWER, for “Employing and Moving People Off Welfare and Encouraging Responsibility.” These policy changes included time-limited assistance, a family benefit cap, restricted eligibility for unwed minor parents, mandatory JOBS participation for teen parents, stricter JOBS sanctions, extended Transitional Medical Assistance and Transitional Child Care, elimination of the 100-hour rule for two-parent families, and individual development accounts.

    The second set of reforms, entitled EMPOWER Redesign and referred to in this report simply as “Redesign,” was implemented in August 1997. These changes included the use of a Personal Responsibility Agreement, imposition of progressive sanctions (including possible loss of the full...

    This report presents the findings of the final phase of a five-year evaluation of welfare reforms implemented by the Arizona Department of Economic Security under two major initiatives that altered the rules and procedures for providing cash assistance to low-income families.

    The first set of reforms was implemented in November 1995 under the title EMPOWER, for “Employing and Moving People Off Welfare and Encouraging Responsibility.” These policy changes included time-limited assistance, a family benefit cap, restricted eligibility for unwed minor parents, mandatory JOBS participation for teen parents, stricter JOBS sanctions, extended Transitional Medical Assistance and Transitional Child Care, elimination of the 100-hour rule for two-parent families, and individual development accounts.

    The second set of reforms, entitled EMPOWER Redesign and referred to in this report simply as “Redesign,” was implemented in August 1997. These changes included the use of a Personal Responsibility Agreement, imposition of progressive sanctions (including possible loss of the full family benefit) for non-compliance with program requirements (relating to JOBS, child support enforcement, school attendance, and child immunization), removal of adult exemptions from JOBS participation (with a limited number of deferrals), and local office administrative reforms aimed at co-locating program services and establishing a more employment-focused “work first” pattern of client flow. Under the latter reforms, applicants attended a group orientation session and were offered job-finding resources (including a resource center) before being considered for cash assistance and other transitional income support, and before receiving employment-related services (including job-readiness classes).

    Overall, this final phase of the evaluation found that the Arizona welfare recipients who were among the first subject to the EMPOWER reforms have continued to show general improvement in their economic circumstances, as followed for four years since implementation of the reforms. A significant minority, however, have experienced financial hardships. Although most have gone off welfare and now consider themselves better-off, many feel financially insecure. Among recent welfare applicants, most view favorably the changes in local offices, as adopted under Redesign, to co-locate programs and establish a “work first” emphasis in providing services to clients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pistilli, Linda
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Volume II is a qualitative study of success rates in rural areas. The purpose of this study is to explore Section 8 success rates and the factors that affect success rates in rural areas through in-depth qualitative research at five rural public housing authorities. The report is based on field work conducted between May and August, 2000. The rural study was not intended to feed into or re-validate the conclusions drawn from the larger quantitative study (Volume I report) regarding the relationships between household demographics, market tightness, and program success in metropolitan areas. Although these factors were considered, this study focused on identifying and examining the unique factors that affect voucher holders in rural areas. (author abstract)

    Volume II is a qualitative study of success rates in rural areas. The purpose of this study is to explore Section 8 success rates and the factors that affect success rates in rural areas through in-depth qualitative research at five rural public housing authorities. The report is based on field work conducted between May and August, 2000. The rural study was not intended to feed into or re-validate the conclusions drawn from the larger quantitative study (Volume I report) regarding the relationships between household demographics, market tightness, and program success in metropolitan areas. Although these factors were considered, this study focused on identifying and examining the unique factors that affect voucher holders in rural areas. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Moffitt, Robert A.; Ver Ploeg, Michele
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2001

    With the passing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, the United States embarked on a major social experiment with its social welfare and safety net programs for the poor. The most far-reaching reform of the cash welfare system for single mothers since 1935, PRWORA replaced the federal entitlement program for low-income families and children (Aid to Families with Dependent Children, AFDC) with a state-administered block grant program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Determining the consequences of this experiment is of great importance. Has welfare reform “worked?” What were the effects of the reforms on families and individuals? What reforms worked for whom and why? In looking toward the development of new policies to aid low-income families, which elements of the new welfare system need to be changed and which left as is?

    For these fundamental questions to be answered adequately, two issues need to be addressed. First, how should one go about answering these...

    With the passing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, the United States embarked on a major social experiment with its social welfare and safety net programs for the poor. The most far-reaching reform of the cash welfare system for single mothers since 1935, PRWORA replaced the federal entitlement program for low-income families and children (Aid to Families with Dependent Children, AFDC) with a state-administered block grant program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Determining the consequences of this experiment is of great importance. Has welfare reform “worked?” What were the effects of the reforms on families and individuals? What reforms worked for whom and why? In looking toward the development of new policies to aid low-income families, which elements of the new welfare system need to be changed and which left as is?

    For these fundamental questions to be answered adequately, two issues need to be addressed. First, how should one go about answering these questions— what methods should be used and what types of studies should be conducted in order to determine the effects of welfare reform? Second, what types of data are needed to measure the effects of welfare reform? Are federal and state data sources currently available sufficient to carry out needed evaluations, and, if not, what investments in that infrastructure are needed?

    To answer these questions, the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council formed the Panel on Data and Methods for Measuring the Effects of Changes in Social Welfare Programs. This panel is sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) through a congressional appropriation. The charge to the panel is to review methods and data needed to evaluate the outcomes of changes in social welfare programs on families and individuals. The panel is specifically charged with assisting the department in (1) identifying how best to measure and track program eligibility, participation, child well-being, and other outcomes; (2) evaluating data, research designs, and methods for the study of welfare reform outcomes; and (3) identifying needed areas and topics of research. In doing so, the panel was asked to consider alternative federal and state data sources, the limitations of currently available data, appropriate evaluation designs and methods for analysis, and findings from previous research and evaluation. The panel is also specifically charged with reviewing data needs and methods for tracking and assessing the effects of program changes on families who stop receiving cash assistance—i.e., welfare leavers. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Harris, Ronal; Jones, Loring; Finnegan, Daniel
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    The School Attendance Demonstration Project (SADP) was aimed at encouraging AFDC teens to attend school and finish high school. The project used a combined approach of the financial incentive in the form of a penalty for non-attendance, and the provision of social services. SADP tracked the school attendance and graduation status of eligible teens (n = 997) in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). The study used a control group with random assignment. Data indicated that SADP did not effect graduations. The findings seem to indicate that at-risk teens from families receiving public assistance have on-going problems with securing an education that are difficult to correct with SADP services and sanctions. (author abstract)

    The School Attendance Demonstration Project (SADP) was aimed at encouraging AFDC teens to attend school and finish high school. The project used a combined approach of the financial incentive in the form of a penalty for non-attendance, and the provision of social services. SADP tracked the school attendance and graduation status of eligible teens (n = 997) in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). The study used a control group with random assignment. Data indicated that SADP did not effect graduations. The findings seem to indicate that at-risk teens from families receiving public assistance have on-going problems with securing an education that are difficult to correct with SADP services and sanctions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Okuyama, Kumiko ; Weber, Roberta B.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act  of 1996, commonly known as PRWORA, emphasizes employment. With its emphasis on time limit sand work requirements, PRWORA makes it imperative that low-income parents find both a job and child care. A study of employment patterns of low-income parents using child care subsidies in order to work provides a valuable opportunity to increase our knowledge of an important characteristic of low-income working parents.

    For any working parent, finding stable employment with enough flexibility to meet parental responsibilities is not an easy task, and the challenge is greater for those who lack financial resources, education, and work experience. Knowing employment patterns of low-income parents is a first step toward understanding conditions of the working poor with children. A systematic analysis of where parents receiving child care subsidies are employed enhances our understanding of what is happening to families moving out of welfare. In which occupations are they finding jobs? Which...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act  of 1996, commonly known as PRWORA, emphasizes employment. With its emphasis on time limit sand work requirements, PRWORA makes it imperative that low-income parents find both a job and child care. A study of employment patterns of low-income parents using child care subsidies in order to work provides a valuable opportunity to increase our knowledge of an important characteristic of low-income working parents.

    For any working parent, finding stable employment with enough flexibility to meet parental responsibilities is not an easy task, and the challenge is greater for those who lack financial resources, education, and work experience. Knowing employment patterns of low-income parents is a first step toward understanding conditions of the working poor with children. A systematic analysis of where parents receiving child care subsidies are employed enhances our understanding of what is happening to families moving out of welfare. In which occupations are they finding jobs? Which industries are they able to penetrate? Prior to the studies that form the basis of this paper, there appeared to be no systematic study of where parents receiving child care subsidies are employed.

    This paper is a product of the Child Care Policy Research Consortium, a collaborative group of researchers that carries out policy-relevant research through partnerships of researchers, state child care administrators, and child care resource and referral practitioners. Through this national collaboration of state partnerships, the Consortium is able to report cross-state findings and compare results from seven studies in four states and the District of Columbia with regard to the employment of parents receiving subsidies.

    The first Consortium study, “Parents receiving subsidized child care: Where do they work?” (Lee, Ohlandt, and Witte, 1996) has had significant impacts on both research and policies. The significance of their paper is four-fold. First, they recognized and responded to the importance of this topic and the lack of previous studies. Second, the authors provided a simple but elegant methodology to analyze employment patterns of the working poor with children. Third, their paper had an impact on state policy. Their findings led to the passage of the Florida Child Care Executive Partnership Act in 1996.

    Through the Child Care Executive Partnership, the state of Florida matches child care contributions of employers dollar for dollar and creates pools of funds to provide child care subsidies for subsidy-eligible workers. This increases the funds available for subsidies and builds support for child care subsidies in the business community. Finally, the study provided a model that is easily replicated at either county or state levels.

    This document is organized as follows. The next section presents background of the seven studies. In the third section, we summarize the common methodology used in the studies and describe variations among the studies. In the fourth section, we discuss findings and make recommendations for further studies. In the last section, we examine the study implications for employers, child care providers, businesses, and policy makers. (author introduction)

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