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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: Loeb, Susanna; Fuller, Bruce; Kagan, Sharon Lynn; Carrol, Bidemi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in nonparental care because of policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet, little is known about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children who were between 12 and 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care. Children also display stronger cognitive growth when caregivers are more sensitive and responsive, and stronger social development when providers have education beyond high school. Children in family child home show more behavioral problems but no cognitive differences. (Author abstract)

    Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in nonparental care because of policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet, little is known about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children who were between 12 and 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care. Children also display stronger cognitive growth when caregivers are more sensitive and responsive, and stronger social development when providers have education beyond high school. Children in family child home show more behavioral problems but no cognitive differences. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fitzpatrick, Maria Donovan
    Reference Type: Report, Thesis
    Year: 2008

    Three states (Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida) recently introduced Universal Pre-Kindergarten (Universal Pre-K) programs offering free preschool to all age-eligible children, and policy makers in many other states are promoting similar policies. How do such policies affect the participation of children in preschool programs (or do they merely substitute for preschool offered by the market)? Does the implicit child care subsidy afforded by Universal Pre-K change maternal labor supply? The author presents a model that includes preferences for child quality and shows the directions of change in preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply in response to Universal Pre-K programs are theoretically ambiguous. Using restricted-access data from the US Census Bureau, together with year and birthday based eligibility cutoffs, the author employs a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the effects of Universal Pre-K availability. Universal Pre-K availability increases preschool enrollment by 12 to 15 percent, with the largest effect on children of women with less than a Bachelor's...

    Three states (Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida) recently introduced Universal Pre-Kindergarten (Universal Pre-K) programs offering free preschool to all age-eligible children, and policy makers in many other states are promoting similar policies. How do such policies affect the participation of children in preschool programs (or do they merely substitute for preschool offered by the market)? Does the implicit child care subsidy afforded by Universal Pre-K change maternal labor supply? The author presents a model that includes preferences for child quality and shows the directions of change in preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply in response to Universal Pre-K programs are theoretically ambiguous. Using restricted-access data from the US Census Bureau, together with year and birthday based eligibility cutoffs, the author employs a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the effects of Universal Pre-K availability. Universal Pre-K availability increases preschool enrollment by 12 to 15 percent, with the largest effect on children of women with less than a Bachelor's Degree. Universal Pre-K availability has little effect on the labor supply of most women. However, women residing in rural areas in Georgia increase their children’s preschool enrollment and their own employment by 22 and 20 percent, respectively, when Universal Pre-K is available. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kirby, Gretchen; Ross, Christine; Puffer, Loren
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 changed cash welfare from a system of income maintenance as an entitlement to low-income families to one in which assistance to families is both limited and temporary, and in which work and economic self-sufficiency are emphasized. The emerging emphasis on work has led many states to significantly narrow the exemptions from welfare-related work requirements. Under prior Federal law, states could opt to adjust the young-child work exemption from its Federally-mandated level, which exempted parents with a child under three years old, to exempt only parents with a child under one year old. In 1998, 22 states used the new flexibility granted under PRWORA to require parents to work if their youngest child was less than one year old. This report examines the state and local policies and practices that encourage and support the activities of welfare-reliant parents of infants who are required to engage in work and school activities.

    Juggling work and family responsibilities is a formidable...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 changed cash welfare from a system of income maintenance as an entitlement to low-income families to one in which assistance to families is both limited and temporary, and in which work and economic self-sufficiency are emphasized. The emerging emphasis on work has led many states to significantly narrow the exemptions from welfare-related work requirements. Under prior Federal law, states could opt to adjust the young-child work exemption from its Federally-mandated level, which exempted parents with a child under three years old, to exempt only parents with a child under one year old. In 1998, 22 states used the new flexibility granted under PRWORA to require parents to work if their youngest child was less than one year old. This report examines the state and local policies and practices that encourage and support the activities of welfare-reliant parents of infants who are required to engage in work and school activities.

    Juggling work and family responsibilities is a formidable challenge for two-parent families with young children, but it is even harder for single parents, who make up the majority of the welfare caseload. Even more challenging for single parents who work is the task of caring for an infant because infant care is generally less available, more expensive, and harder to assess in terms of quality. As states seek ways to support families with infants in their transition from welfare to work, many questions emerge for researchers and policymakers alike. How successful is the welfare-to-work transition for parents of infants? What special challenges do these parents face in balancing their parenting activities with required work or school activities? What supportive services are critical to continued participation in work and school activities, and ultimately, to a successful transition from welfare to work? Is continuous, reliable, affordable, and good-quality infant care available to these parents? Have states taken the opportunity to link these families with child care that can promote the health and development of infants?

    In an effort to answer these questions and, ultimately, to address the issue of providing infant care for single, working, low-income parents, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) to conduct the Study of Infant Care Under Welfare Reform. The study was designed to provide information about the strategies states and communities are using to help parents of infants make the transition to school or work while promoting the health and development of their infants, and about the policy and program challenges states and communities are facing in this effort. The information is intended both to inform policymakers about the experience of several communities and to build a foundation for future research on the effectiveness of particular programs, policies, and strategies in supporting the transition to work or school while promoting infant health and development.

    The study has three phases:

    A general information-gathering phase, focusing on the work-, school-, and child care-related policies and programs in 22 states that required parents of infants to work in 1998, when the study was launched.

    An in-depth study phase, focusing on welfare and child care program policy and practice in eight communities, and on the experiences of welfare-reliant parents of infants in these sites.

    A research design phase, focusing on the evaluation of programs, policies, and strategies designed to support parents’ transitions to work and their infants’ health and development.

    This report presents the findings from the first two phases of the study, with an emphasis on the second phase. We end with a summary of research directions, which will be expanded upon in a forthcoming report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Spielberger, Julie; Gouvêa, Marcia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    For more than a decade, Florida’s Palm Beach County has been building a system of prevention and early intervention services to promote and support the healthy development and school readiness of children from birth to age 8. The county began this effort with a set of programs focused on serving families in four targeted geographic areas that have high levels of risk for poverty, teen pregnancy, crime, and child maltreatment. The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County commissioned Chapin Hall to conduct a longitudinal mixed-methods evaluation of how families use and are affected by this system of services. This paper presents selected findings from the study about the factors—facilitators and barriers—that affect how families use services, including individual characteristics of families, program and provider characteristics, and neighborhood factors. The discussion paper concludes with suggestions for overcoming barriers to service use and improving the service system. (author abstract)

    For more than a decade, Florida’s Palm Beach County has been building a system of prevention and early intervention services to promote and support the healthy development and school readiness of children from birth to age 8. The county began this effort with a set of programs focused on serving families in four targeted geographic areas that have high levels of risk for poverty, teen pregnancy, crime, and child maltreatment. The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County commissioned Chapin Hall to conduct a longitudinal mixed-methods evaluation of how families use and are affected by this system of services. This paper presents selected findings from the study about the factors—facilitators and barriers—that affect how families use services, including individual characteristics of families, program and provider characteristics, and neighborhood factors. The discussion paper concludes with suggestions for overcoming barriers to service use and improving the service system. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schulman, Karen ; Matthews, Hannah ; Blank, Helen ; Ewen, Danielle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the...

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the extent to which they provide financial and other supports to help programs improve. In most states, child care programs participate on a voluntary basis, although a few states require all regulated programs to participate. Despite these variations in their QRIS, states share a common objective of encouraging better child care options so that more families have access to high-quality child care that will support their children’s learning and development.

    Given that QRIS are used in a growing number of states and communities, it is helpful to examine the range of approaches these states and communities are taking in designing and implementing QRIS. It is also important to examine the opportunities and barriers for QRIS in achieving the goals of improving the quality of child care and increasing access to high-quality child care for families, particularly for the most vulnerable families. QRIS can be a tool for improving the quality of care accessed by low-income families who cannot afford high-quality care on their own. To gain more insight into different strategies for shaping and implementing QRIS, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) interviewed 48 child care center directors from nine states about their experiences with QRIS. The directors offered valuable perspectives on what is working in their QRIS and how the systems could be improved. (author abstract)

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