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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: Palla, Seri; Kakuska, Courtney J.; Hercik, Jeanette M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, child-only cases—those in which no adult is included in the cash grant—have become an increasing proportion of State TANF caseloads in recent years. Child-only cases are either parental or non-parental – parental cases are those in which the parent is resident in the home, but ineligible for TANF receipt for such reasons as time limits,1 sanction, alien status, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receipt, or previous drug felony conviction. Non-parental cases are those in which neither biological parent is present, and another adult, usually a relative, is the primary caregiver. Research indicates that the percentage of child-only cases relative to overall national caseloads increased 200 percent in one decade –from 12 percent in 1990 to nearly 35 percent by 2000.  In some States, over fifty percent of their FY2002 caseloads were child-only.

    In addition to the variability in the proportion of a State’s total caseload accounted for by child-only cases, the current research indicates that the composition of the...

    Under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, child-only cases—those in which no adult is included in the cash grant—have become an increasing proportion of State TANF caseloads in recent years. Child-only cases are either parental or non-parental – parental cases are those in which the parent is resident in the home, but ineligible for TANF receipt for such reasons as time limits,1 sanction, alien status, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receipt, or previous drug felony conviction. Non-parental cases are those in which neither biological parent is present, and another adult, usually a relative, is the primary caregiver. Research indicates that the percentage of child-only cases relative to overall national caseloads increased 200 percent in one decade –from 12 percent in 1990 to nearly 35 percent by 2000.  In some States, over fifty percent of their FY2002 caseloads were child-only.

    In addition to the variability in the proportion of a State’s total caseload accounted for by child-only cases, the current research indicates that the composition of the child-only caseload across the States varies as well. In some States, for example, there is a significantly higher proportion of relative (non-parental) cases, while in others, SSI, immigrant, and sanctioned or time-limited parental cases are more common.

    In response to these trends, the OFA Peer Technical Assistance Network conducted discussions with State TANF administrators around the country to assess their current policies and programs designed to meet the needs of the child-only caseload, and to gauge their level of interest in participating a Roundtable on this topic. The responses were overwhelming – we gathered significant information on the current child-only environment, and more than thirty States expressed an interest in the Roundtable concept. As a result, eleven States participated in the first Roundtables entitled Developing Strategies to Address the Child-Only Caseload held April 8-9, 2003 in Colorado Springs (El Paso County), Colorado. In response to the positive feedback received following the first Roundtable, a second Roundtable was held in Trenton, New Jersey on June 3-4, 2003. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Medley, Barbara C.; Edelhoch, Marilyn ; Liu, Qiduan; Martin, Linda S.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    The success of state welfare-to-work programs has been closely scrutinized as the 1996 TANF legislation underwent extensive review prior to renewal in 2003. Although most states' caseloads have been reduced by more than half, the poverty rates have not proportionately declined, and obtaining jobs that offer economic security remains a persistent problem for post-welfare women. The goal of this ethnographic study was to discern the factors that distinguished women with greater success after welfare from those who were less successful. Factors related to levels of assistance received, resource utilization, mentorship, and self-help attitudes differentiated the experiences of more successful women from those less successful. Public policy implications of these findings are discussed. (author abstract)

    The success of state welfare-to-work programs has been closely scrutinized as the 1996 TANF legislation underwent extensive review prior to renewal in 2003. Although most states' caseloads have been reduced by more than half, the poverty rates have not proportionately declined, and obtaining jobs that offer economic security remains a persistent problem for post-welfare women. The goal of this ethnographic study was to discern the factors that distinguished women with greater success after welfare from those who were less successful. Factors related to levels of assistance received, resource utilization, mentorship, and self-help attitudes differentiated the experiences of more successful women from those less successful. Public policy implications of these findings are discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ribar, David C.; Edelhoch, Marilyn; Liu, Qiduan
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    We use administrative data to examine how “clock” policies—program time limits and recurring deadlines for confirming eligibility—affected participation in South Carolina’s TANF and Food Stamp Programs from 1996–2003. South Carolina’s TANF program limits most families to two years of benefits in any ten-year period; so, recipients began exhausting their eligibility as early as 1998. The state’s Food Stamp Program sets regular recertification intervals that can be distinguished from other calendar effects and increased these intervals after October 2002. We find that the two-year time limit reduced TANF caseloads and that the longer recertification intervals increased food stamp caseloads. (author abstract)                 

    We use administrative data to examine how “clock” policies—program time limits and recurring deadlines for confirming eligibility—affected participation in South Carolina’s TANF and Food Stamp Programs from 1996–2003. South Carolina’s TANF program limits most families to two years of benefits in any ten-year period; so, recipients began exhausting their eligibility as early as 1998. The state’s Food Stamp Program sets regular recertification intervals that can be distinguished from other calendar effects and increased these intervals after October 2002. We find that the two-year time limit reduced TANF caseloads and that the longer recertification intervals increased food stamp caseloads. (author abstract)                 

  • Individual Author: Golden, Olivia; Loprest, Pamela J. ; Adams, Gina
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    In this commentary collection, twelve authors - national, state, and county leaders along with research and policy experts -- offer perspectives on lessons from the first year of Work Support Strategies (WSS). WSS is a multi-state initiative to design and test cutting-edge improvements in policy, service delivery, and technology to help low-income working families get and keep the benefits for which they are eligible. Its lessons will interest local, state, and federal officials seeking to integrate health and human services programs (Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance); health reform experts; and others who care about programs for low-income families. (Author abstract)

    In this commentary collection, twelve authors - national, state, and county leaders along with research and policy experts -- offer perspectives on lessons from the first year of Work Support Strategies (WSS). WSS is a multi-state initiative to design and test cutting-edge improvements in policy, service delivery, and technology to help low-income working families get and keep the benefits for which they are eligible. Its lessons will interest local, state, and federal officials seeking to integrate health and human services programs (Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance); health reform experts; and others who care about programs for low-income families. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hendra, Richard; Dillman, Keri-Nicole; Hamilton, Gayle; Lundquist, Erika; Martinson, Karin; Wavelet, Melissa; Hill, Aaron; Williams, Sonya
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three...

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three programs increased employment retention and advancement. Increases in employment retention and earnings were largest and most consistent over time in the Texas ERA program in Corpus Christi (one of three sites that operated this program); the Chicago ERA program; and the Riverside County, California, Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) ERA program. These programs increased annual earnings by between 7 percent and 15 percent relative to control group levels. Each of them served a different target group, which suggests that employment retention and advancement programs can work for a range of populations. However, three-fourths of the ERA programs included in this report did not produce gains in targeted outcomes beyond what control group members were able to attain on their own with the existing services and supports available in the ERA sites.

     - Increases in participation beyond control group levels were not consistent or large, which may have made it difficult for the programs to achieve impacts on employment retention and advancement. Engaging individuals in employment and retention services at levels above what they would have done in the absence of the programs was a consistent challenge. In addition, staff had to spend a lot of time and resources on placing unemployed individuals back into jobs, which made it difficult for them to focus on helping those who were already working to keep their jobs or move up.

    Before the ERA project began, there was not much evidence about the types of programs that could improve employment retention and advancement outcomes for current or former welfare recipients. The ERA evaluation provides valuable insights about the nature of retention and advancement problems and it underscores a number of key implementation challenges that a program would have to address. In addition, it reveals shortcomings in a range of common approaches now in use, while identifying three distinct approaches that seem promising and worthy of further exploration. (author abstract)

     

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