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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: Kornfeld, Bob; Porcari, Diane; Peck, Laura R.
    Reference Type:
    Year: 2003

    This report summarizes a three-year study of the implementation, impacts, and costs of the Arizona Works Pilot Program, a program that privatized Arizona’s Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Beginning on April 1, 1999, the TANF program in most of Eastern Maricopa County was administered by MAXIMUS, Inc., a private company. During these three years, MAXIMUS, Inc. was responsible for operating the TANF program and its welfare-to-work program, child care for TANF families, Transitional Child Care, the state-funded General Assistance program, and the Food Stamp Employment and Training program. The goal of the impact study is to compare the performance of Arizona Works and the performance of EMPOWER Redesign, the publicly administered TANF program in the comparison area, which is the rest of Maricopa County. The study also examines a version of Arizona Works in Greenlee County, although this program lasted only a few months.

    During the period from April 1, 1999 through March 31, 2002, Arizona Works and EMPOWER Redesign also differed because only Arizona...

    This report summarizes a three-year study of the implementation, impacts, and costs of the Arizona Works Pilot Program, a program that privatized Arizona’s Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Beginning on April 1, 1999, the TANF program in most of Eastern Maricopa County was administered by MAXIMUS, Inc., a private company. During these three years, MAXIMUS, Inc. was responsible for operating the TANF program and its welfare-to-work program, child care for TANF families, Transitional Child Care, the state-funded General Assistance program, and the Food Stamp Employment and Training program. The goal of the impact study is to compare the performance of Arizona Works and the performance of EMPOWER Redesign, the publicly administered TANF program in the comparison area, which is the rest of Maricopa County. The study also examines a version of Arizona Works in Greenlee County, although this program lasted only a few months.

    During the period from April 1, 1999 through March 31, 2002, Arizona Works and EMPOWER Redesign also differed because only Arizona Works received performance incentive payments and because the two programs had some different rules regarding time limits, the size of the monthly TANF grant, the treatment of earned income in the determination of grant levels, and other issues. The impact study considers the possible effects of privatization, the performance incentives, and differences in the program rules, and also attempts to take into account the pre-existing differences in the characteristics of the caseloads and neighborhoods served by the two programs.

    In June 2002, the state’s plan for the privatization of TANF services changed dramatically with the passage of Senate Bill 1037. Under this legislation, responsibility for determining TANF eligibility and benefits was restored to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) on October 1, 2002. The Arizona Works contractor continued to retain responsibility for case management and employment services. The legislation also removed program rules specific to Arizona Works and applied the EMPOWER program rules to the Arizona Works Pilot area, as of October 1, 2002.

    This report covers only the period from April 1999 through March 2002, when Arizona Works applied some unique program rules and was responsible for TANF eligibility determination. Because of extensive changes to the program, some of the findings of this study are unlikely to persist in the future. This evaluation nevertheless provides some insights about the possible effects of privatized TANF services with performance measures. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Morgenstern, Jon; Riordan, Annette; Dephilippis, Dominick; Irwin, Thomas W.; Blanchard, Kimberly A.; McCrady, Barbara S.; McVeigh, Katharine H.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    As welfare caseloads decline, states increasingly are faced with the challenge of addressing the needs of hard-to-serve families who experience a variety of barriers to employability. Substance abuse is one of the major problems affecting hard-to-serve families. Since welfare reform was adopted, estimates suggest that 15% to 35% of welfare recipients have a substance abuse problem. Although substance abuse among welfare recipients is thought to be a prevalent and serious problem, it is widely recognized that individuals with substance use disorders often fail to acknowledge that they have a problem or seek treatment. Therefore, developing effective screening, identification, and referral strategies are necessary components of any state plan to address substance abuse among welfare recipients. 
    
    The purpose of this report is to describe results of two approaches to screening for substance abuse among TANF recipients in New Jersey (NJ). Results of this report suggest that a generic approach to screening in welfare settings — one that relies primarily...

    As welfare caseloads decline, states increasingly are faced with the challenge of addressing the needs of hard-to-serve families who experience a variety of barriers to employability. Substance abuse is one of the major problems affecting hard-to-serve families. Since welfare reform was adopted, estimates suggest that 15% to 35% of welfare recipients have a substance abuse problem. Although substance abuse among welfare recipients is thought to be a prevalent and serious problem, it is widely recognized that individuals with substance use disorders often fail to acknowledge that they have a problem or seek treatment. Therefore, developing effective screening, identification, and referral strategies are necessary components of any state plan to address substance abuse among welfare recipients. 
    
    The purpose of this report is to describe results of two approaches to screening for substance abuse among TANF recipients in New Jersey (NJ). Results of this report suggest that a generic approach to screening in welfare settings — one that relies primarily on caseworkers administering paper and pencil measures as part of benefit eligibility determination — is useful, but that specialized screening programs can substantially increase case identification rates. This study employed a program evaluation rather than an experimental design. Specifically, the first approach was implemented and outcomes were monitored. Based on an evaluation of these findings, a second approach was designed and implemented in an attempt to boost case identification rates. The first approach was implemented statewide in NJ beginning in 1998. In this approach, welfare caseworkers administered a brief paper and pencil measure to screen for alcohol and other drug use problems to all individuals being interviewed for initial or redetermination of TANF benefits. Those screening positive were then referred to a specially trained addiction counselor for further assessment. This approach is similar to that used by most states (e.g., California, Kansas, New York) attempting to implement innovative programs to address substance abuse among welfare recipients. The key features of this typical approach are: front-line caseworkers conduct the screening, screening occurs for all recipients at the point of benefit determination, and there is a reliance on paper and pencil screening measures. We label this approach "generic screening." (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Autor, David H.; Houseman, Susan N.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    Temporary-help jobs offer rapid entry into paid employment, but they are typically brief and it is unknown whether they foster longer term employment. We utilize the unique structure of Detroit's welfare-to-work program to identify the effect of temporary-help jobs on labor market advancement. Exploiting the rotational assignment of welfare clients to numerous nonprofit contractors with differing job placement rates, we find that temporary-help job placements do not improve and may diminish subsequent earnings and employment outcomes among participants. In contrast, job placements with direct-hire employers substantially raise earnings and employment over a seven quarter follow-up period. (author abstract)

    This article is based on working papers that were previously published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research...

    Temporary-help jobs offer rapid entry into paid employment, but they are typically brief and it is unknown whether they foster longer term employment. We utilize the unique structure of Detroit's welfare-to-work program to identify the effect of temporary-help jobs on labor market advancement. Exploiting the rotational assignment of welfare clients to numerous nonprofit contractors with differing job placement rates, we find that temporary-help job placements do not improve and may diminish subsequent earnings and employment outcomes among participants. In contrast, job placements with direct-hire employers substantially raise earnings and employment over a seven quarter follow-up period. (author abstract)

    This article is based on working papers that were previously published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and The National Bureau of Economic Research.

  • Individual Author: Clark, Colleen; Rich, Alexander R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    OBJECTIVE: The effectiveness of two types of service programs in ameliorating homelessness among individuals with severe mental illness was compared. METHODS: Homeless persons with severe mental illness were recruited into the study on their entry into one of two types of homeless service programs. The first was a comprehensive housing program, in which consumers received guaranteed access to housing, housing support services, and case management. The second was a program of case management only, in which consumers received specialized case management services. In a quasi-experimental or nonrandom-assignment design, participants responded to instruments measuring housing status, mental health symptoms, substance use, physical health, and quality of life at baseline (program entry) and at six months and 12 months after entry. The baseline interview was completed by 152 participants and at least one of the two follow-up interviews by 108 participants. High-, medium-, and low-impairment subgroups, based on psychiatric symptoms and degree of alcohol and illegal drug use, were formed...

    OBJECTIVE: The effectiveness of two types of service programs in ameliorating homelessness among individuals with severe mental illness was compared. METHODS: Homeless persons with severe mental illness were recruited into the study on their entry into one of two types of homeless service programs. The first was a comprehensive housing program, in which consumers received guaranteed access to housing, housing support services, and case management. The second was a program of case management only, in which consumers received specialized case management services. In a quasi-experimental or nonrandom-assignment design, participants responded to instruments measuring housing status, mental health symptoms, substance use, physical health, and quality of life at baseline (program entry) and at six months and 12 months after entry. The baseline interview was completed by 152 participants and at least one of the two follow-up interviews by 108 participants. High-, medium-, and low-impairment subgroups, based on psychiatric symptoms and degree of alcohol and illegal drug use, were formed by means of a propensity score subclassification. RESULTS: Persons with high psychiatric symptom severity and high substance use achieved better housing outcomes with the comprehensive housing program than with case management alone. However, persons with low and medium symptom severity and low levels of alcohol and drug use did just as well with case management alone. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the effectiveness, and ultimately the cost, of homeless services can be improved by matching the type of service to the consumer's level of psychiatric impairment and substance use rather than by treating mentally ill homeless persons as a homogeneous group. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ovwigho, Pamela Caudill
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Since passage of the federal bill, welfare caseloads across the country have declined precipitously in almost every state and territory (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1999). Many politicians, program directors, researchers and popular media reporters have hailed the declining caseload numbers as a sign of the success of welfare reform, but have also cautioned that there is more work to be done (Christenson, 1997; DeParle, 1997, 1999; Frank, 1998; Havemann, 1998; Hornbeck, 1997; Pear, 1998). That is, many familiar with the welfare literature and welfare reform efforts warn that those families who are receiving cash assistance today face more personal and family challenges in leaving welfare for work, compared to the families who have already left the rolls (Brookings Institution, 1999; Brown, 1997; Heinrich, 1999; Loprest and Zedlewski, 1999; Meckler, 1999). The popular wisdom is that those on the welfare rolls today are harder to serve than their counterparts who have already exited the caseload. If the prediction is true, program managers may need to...

    Since passage of the federal bill, welfare caseloads across the country have declined precipitously in almost every state and territory (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1999). Many politicians, program directors, researchers and popular media reporters have hailed the declining caseload numbers as a sign of the success of welfare reform, but have also cautioned that there is more work to be done (Christenson, 1997; DeParle, 1997, 1999; Frank, 1998; Havemann, 1998; Hornbeck, 1997; Pear, 1998). That is, many familiar with the welfare literature and welfare reform efforts warn that those families who are receiving cash assistance today face more personal and family challenges in leaving welfare for work, compared to the families who have already left the rolls (Brookings Institution, 1999; Brown, 1997; Heinrich, 1999; Loprest and Zedlewski, 1999; Meckler, 1999). The popular wisdom is that those on the welfare rolls today are harder to serve than their counterparts who have already exited the caseload. If the prediction is true, program managers may need to rely less on the program strategies they have been using, such as requiring clients to engage in immediate job search, and devote more resources to helping clients resolve barriers and prepare to enter the job market.

    Despite the significant policy implications of a change in caseload population, the extent to which this prediction has come true has not been empirically examined. The present study attempts to fill a gap in the literature by critically examining whether families receiving welfare two years after reform face more challenges to leaving welfare for work than those receiving assistance when reform first began. A subsequent report, Life On Welfare: Have the Hard to Serve Been Left Behind? Local Variations in Caseload Decline and Caseload Composition, will examine the extent to which local jurisdictions vary in how their caseloads have changed in the same two year period. (author abstract)

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