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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: Lynn, Suzanne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, welfare was no longer held to be an entitlement under federal law. This basic policy shift created the opportunity for states to change the way disputes between welfare recipients and program administrators would be resolved. Wisconsin was unique among the states in taking up this challenge, creating a novel complaint-resolution process as part of its welfare reform program called Wisconsin Works, or W-2. The state’s aim was to simplify and streamline the old fair hearing system, and it provided that the agencies administering the W-2 program would be responsible for conducting reviews of their own decisions, with a central state agency hearing appeals.

    This paper reports on the implementation of the complaint resolution process during the first three years of W-2 in Milwaukee County, a place where the operation of W-2 has been contracted out by the state to five private agencies. It focuses on several key issues, including how the tensions between caseworker discretion and...

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, welfare was no longer held to be an entitlement under federal law. This basic policy shift created the opportunity for states to change the way disputes between welfare recipients and program administrators would be resolved. Wisconsin was unique among the states in taking up this challenge, creating a novel complaint-resolution process as part of its welfare reform program called Wisconsin Works, or W-2. The state’s aim was to simplify and streamline the old fair hearing system, and it provided that the agencies administering the W-2 program would be responsible for conducting reviews of their own decisions, with a central state agency hearing appeals.

    This paper reports on the implementation of the complaint resolution process during the first three years of W-2 in Milwaukee County, a place where the operation of W-2 has been contracted out by the state to five private agencies. It focuses on several key issues, including how the tensions between caseworker discretion and accountability are being resolved; how a process that is subject to legal scrutiny can operate within a model of decentralized program administration; and how the goal of informality and speed of process can be reconciled with the need to treat clients fairly and equitably. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bartle, Elizabeth; Segura, Gabriela
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    One aspect of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 was explored through focus group interviews with public welfare (CalWORKS/TANF) participants in Los Angeles County. Women were asked how they learned about domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health services from their caseworker in an effort to begin to evaluate implementation of the PRWORA in regards to these supportive services. The results describe how participants are receiving insufficient information, discouraged from seeking services, obtaining assistance from advocates other than caseworkers, and feeling general fear and distrust. Discussion centers on improvements in the system and training for caseworkers. (author abstract)

    One aspect of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 was explored through focus group interviews with public welfare (CalWORKS/TANF) participants in Los Angeles County. Women were asked how they learned about domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health services from their caseworker in an effort to begin to evaluate implementation of the PRWORA in regards to these supportive services. The results describe how participants are receiving insufficient information, discouraged from seeking services, obtaining assistance from advocates other than caseworkers, and feeling general fear and distrust. Discussion centers on improvements in the system and training for caseworkers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ybarra, Marci
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2014

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program uses work exemptions to accommodate the needs of mothers with newborns, and those who cannot work because of an injury or other documented disability. Since these circumstances differ greatly from those of participants who are subject to TANF work requirements, it is possible that work-exempt participants have substantially different TANF participation and socioeconomic outcomes. Understanding differences in characteristics and patterns of program participation, work, and earnings between work-exempt and work required TANF participants may also have implications for how the TANF system can best serve different types of users. In this article, I describe work done with my colleague Jennifer Noyes, using Wisconsin administrative data to examine patterns of TANF use and employment among work-exempt and other TANF participants. (author abstract) 

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program uses work exemptions to accommodate the needs of mothers with newborns, and those who cannot work because of an injury or other documented disability. Since these circumstances differ greatly from those of participants who are subject to TANF work requirements, it is possible that work-exempt participants have substantially different TANF participation and socioeconomic outcomes. Understanding differences in characteristics and patterns of program participation, work, and earnings between work-exempt and work required TANF participants may also have implications for how the TANF system can best serve different types of users. In this article, I describe work done with my colleague Jennifer Noyes, using Wisconsin administrative data to examine patterns of TANF use and employment among work-exempt and other TANF participants. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Sandfort, Jodi R.; Kalil, Ariel; Gottschalk, Julie A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1999

    This paper analyzes in-depth interviews with 45 frontline welfare workers and clients in one county to explore the perceptions that develop at the front-lines of the welfare system and to consider how these perceptions may influence new welfare reform strategies. This exploratory study finds that welfare workers utilize three distinct typologies to understand their clients. In contrast, clients believe that the welfare system is not designed to help them succeed, that many workers are personally invested in enforcing system rules, and that administrative policy is inconsistently applied. While both workers and clients believe that the new policy goal of employment is important, they both raise considerable questions about the barriers and disincentives that many clients may encounter as they try to leave welfare for work. This paper concludes by considering how these conditions may influence implementation of the most recent round of initiatives to reform the welfare system. (author abstract)

    This paper analyzes in-depth interviews with 45 frontline welfare workers and clients in one county to explore the perceptions that develop at the front-lines of the welfare system and to consider how these perceptions may influence new welfare reform strategies. This exploratory study finds that welfare workers utilize three distinct typologies to understand their clients. In contrast, clients believe that the welfare system is not designed to help them succeed, that many workers are personally invested in enforcing system rules, and that administrative policy is inconsistently applied. While both workers and clients believe that the new policy goal of employment is important, they both raise considerable questions about the barriers and disincentives that many clients may encounter as they try to leave welfare for work. This paper concludes by considering how these conditions may influence implementation of the most recent round of initiatives to reform the welfare system. (author abstract)

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