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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: Thompson, Terri; O'Brien, Carolyn T.; Van Ness, Asheley
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Welfare reform efforts and significant caseload declines have resulted in a commonly held belief that those remaining on welfare face multiple barriers to employment, or are in some way "hard-to-serve." Clients with complex barriers to employment, disabilities, or medical conditions, are often grouped under this broad heading. One of the most significant challenges facing states and localities related to serving the hard-to-serve population is identifying the specific conditions and disabilities clients have that may be a barrier to finding and maintaining employment.

    In 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct a Study of Screening and Assessment in TANF/Welfare-to-Work (WtW). The first phase of the study involved a review of the issues and challenges faced by TANF agencies and their partners in developing strategies and selecting instruments to identify substance abuse and mental health problems, learning disabilities, and domestic violence situations among TANF clients. The issues and challenges...

    Welfare reform efforts and significant caseload declines have resulted in a commonly held belief that those remaining on welfare face multiple barriers to employment, or are in some way "hard-to-serve." Clients with complex barriers to employment, disabilities, or medical conditions, are often grouped under this broad heading. One of the most significant challenges facing states and localities related to serving the hard-to-serve population is identifying the specific conditions and disabilities clients have that may be a barrier to finding and maintaining employment.

    In 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct a Study of Screening and Assessment in TANF/Welfare-to-Work (WtW). The first phase of the study involved a review of the issues and challenges faced by TANF agencies and their partners in developing strategies and selecting instruments to identify substance abuse and mental health problems, learning disabilities, and domestic violence situations among TANF clients. The issues and challenges identified through that review are presented in Ten Important Questions TANF Agencies and Their Partners Should Consider (hereafter referred to as Ten Important Questions). The second phase of the study involved case studies of a limited number of localities to further explore how TANF agencies and their partners responded to the issues and challenges identified during phase one. The findings from the case studies are presented in this report.

    Findings are based on discussions held between November 2000 and February 2001 with TANF agency staff and staff of key partner agencies in six localities: Montgomery County, KS, Owensboro, KY, Minneapolis, MN (the IRIS Program), Las Vegas, NV, Arlington, VA, and Kent, WA. Highlights of the insights offered by the case studies are provided below. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anderson, Steven; Gryzlak, Brian
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    This study examined early research findings concerning the well-being of people who leave Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs and then applies these findings in the development of TANF-related advocacy strategies. Based on secondary data analysis of TANF leaver studies from 12 states with large TANF caseloads, the authors focus on the employment and earnings experiences of leavers; TANF recidivism and its relationship to job stability; and the use of support services. State studies typically have found employment levels among leavers in the 55 percent to 65 percent range, but average earnings fall below the poverty level. Although those who remain employed can expect earnings growth, job instability is a significant problem and contributes to TANF recidivism rates of 21 percent to 35 percent within the first year. Available support services such as Medicaid, food stamps, and child care subsidies are underused, often because leavers do not understand that they are eligible. Recommended advocacy strategies include policy interventions to improve the economic...

    This study examined early research findings concerning the well-being of people who leave Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs and then applies these findings in the development of TANF-related advocacy strategies. Based on secondary data analysis of TANF leaver studies from 12 states with large TANF caseloads, the authors focus on the employment and earnings experiences of leavers; TANF recidivism and its relationship to job stability; and the use of support services. State studies typically have found employment levels among leavers in the 55 percent to 65 percent range, but average earnings fall below the poverty level. Although those who remain employed can expect earnings growth, job instability is a significant problem and contributes to TANF recidivism rates of 21 percent to 35 percent within the first year. Available support services such as Medicaid, food stamps, and child care subsidies are underused, often because leavers do not understand that they are eligible. Recommended advocacy strategies include policy interventions to improve the economic well-being of low-income working people, as well as administrative and direct practice strategies to improve the implementation of existing policies. The authors argue that attention to such advocacy efforts is both critical and opportune for social work, given the profession's historical mission, impending federal TANF reauthorization, and unspent TANF allocations. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Gibbs, Deborah; Kasten, Jennifer; Bir, Anupa; Hoover, Sonja; Duncan, Dean; Mitchell, Janet
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Since the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, much attention has been given to reductions in the number of welfare cases. Welfare cases declined nationally by 52 percent between 1996 and 2001; however, child-only cases declined by much less. Thus, while the number of child-only cases has fluctuated over time, their proportionate share of the TANF caseload has increased. Children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers occupy uncertain territory between the TANF and the child welfare service systems. Since these children are exempt from work requirements and not expected to move to self-sufficiency prior to adulthood, they are not well aligned with the TANF agency’s expectations and service offerings. Because they have not been identified as having experienced maltreatment, they are outside the child welfare system’s protective mandate, although they may be in need of supportive services. (author abstract)

    Since the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, much attention has been given to reductions in the number of welfare cases. Welfare cases declined nationally by 52 percent between 1996 and 2001; however, child-only cases declined by much less. Thus, while the number of child-only cases has fluctuated over time, their proportionate share of the TANF caseload has increased. Children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers occupy uncertain territory between the TANF and the child welfare service systems. Since these children are exempt from work requirements and not expected to move to self-sufficiency prior to adulthood, they are not well aligned with the TANF agency’s expectations and service offerings. Because they have not been identified as having experienced maltreatment, they are outside the child welfare system’s protective mandate, although they may be in need of supportive services. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burt, Martha R.; Pindus, Nancy M.; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive...

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive case studies during 1996 and 1997 as part of the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project. Thereafter we look at where programs of interest are located in the state organizational structure, and the degree to which state control or local autonomy prevails in administering programs at the local level.

    Once the state context is understood, the paper shifts to the local level and the client perspective. It looks at access to services for welfare and nonwelfare families and asks whether differences in state organizational arrangements make a difference for clients' ability to access an array of services through local programs. It establishes a baseline in 1996-1997, describing the linkages as they existed in the 13 ANF intensive case study states. Against the background of this baseline, data being collected for the 1999-2000 wave of case studies will let us see how much PRWORA has changed the landscape of safety net programs.

    This paper focuses on specific elements of the social safety net, including income support programs such as AFDC, TANF, general assistance (GA),2 and food stamps; Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) and other non-welfare-specific employment and training programs; the child support system; child care assistance; child welfare services; and Medicaid and other publicly supported health insurance for low-income families. These programs were selected for several reasons, including their historic linkages and their anticipated linkages under TANF. Historically, families receiving AFDC have been categorically eligible for Medicaid, and many states developed combined application procedures for AFDC, Medicaid, and food stamps. JOBS is specifically a work-readiness program for AFDC recipients, and states have been obliged to provide child care for any AFDC recipients required to participate in JOBS. Medicaid and child care have also been important transitional benefits to which many families leaving welfare were entitled for specified periods of time. PRWORA changed the relationships among these programs, in some instances delinking them and in others increasing the support requirements for current and former TANF recipients. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Feins, Judie; Gubits, Daniel; Bulbul, Kaul; Long, David; Mills, Gregory; Orr, Larry; Wood, Michelle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    This report presents the final analysis of a study conducted over several years to measure the impacts of Housing Choice Vouchers on the housing mobility of low-income families, the characteristics of their neighborhoods, the composition of their households, their employment, earnings, participation in education and training, their receipt of public assistance, their poverty and material hardship, and the well-being of their children. The analysis, based on a six-site research sample of 8,731 families, uses an experimental design and makes use of outcome measures derived from tract-level Census data, person-level administrative data, and a follow-up survey. The impact estimates in this report encompass a follow-up period that is sixteen quarters in duration for all sites, and longer for some sites. Augmenting the experimental findings are insights from intensive interviews with a sample of 141 families. (author abstract)

    This report presents the final analysis of a study conducted over several years to measure the impacts of Housing Choice Vouchers on the housing mobility of low-income families, the characteristics of their neighborhoods, the composition of their households, their employment, earnings, participation in education and training, their receipt of public assistance, their poverty and material hardship, and the well-being of their children. The analysis, based on a six-site research sample of 8,731 families, uses an experimental design and makes use of outcome measures derived from tract-level Census data, person-level administrative data, and a follow-up survey. The impact estimates in this report encompass a follow-up period that is sixteen quarters in duration for all sites, and longer for some sites. Augmenting the experimental findings are insights from intensive interviews with a sample of 141 families. (author abstract)

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