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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: Mallon, Anthony J.; Stevens, Guy V. G.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Policy makers often tout the finding that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families caseloads have shrunk by 50% or more since the passage of the 1996 welfare reform act (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act). Less well publicized is the economic fate of these “welfare leavers.” Extensive evidence shows that, despite the fact that as many as 60% exit with a full-time job, within a year or two approximately one half of all welfare leavers—and their children—fall into poverty. These findings predate the current severe recession; the economic status of current and past welfare leavers is undoubtedly much worse today. The proximate cause of this high rate of poverty is that welfare leavers end up working, on average, too few hours over the course of a year. Behind these low hours are the more fundamental causes of the measurable “barriers to work” limiting many leavers, and the limited supply of appropriate private-sector jobs, even during the so-called full-employment years of the late 1990s. In a search for solutions to this problem, this article examines...

    Policy makers often tout the finding that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families caseloads have shrunk by 50% or more since the passage of the 1996 welfare reform act (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act). Less well publicized is the economic fate of these “welfare leavers.” Extensive evidence shows that, despite the fact that as many as 60% exit with a full-time job, within a year or two approximately one half of all welfare leavers—and their children—fall into poverty. These findings predate the current severe recession; the economic status of current and past welfare leavers is undoubtedly much worse today. The proximate cause of this high rate of poverty is that welfare leavers end up working, on average, too few hours over the course of a year. Behind these low hours are the more fundamental causes of the measurable “barriers to work” limiting many leavers, and the limited supply of appropriate private-sector jobs, even during the so-called full-employment years of the late 1990s. In a search for solutions to this problem, this article examines the design, costs, and effects of a large number of job creation/welfare-to-work programs. Using these results, we propose a program of jobs of last resort called Promise of a Job (POJ). The authors outline the structure of POJ, provide costs estimates per participant and for its national implementation, and simulate its impact on poverty rates. Depending on assumptions such as the eligibility requirements and the rate at which participants are placed in full-time jobs, some simulations show dramatic reductions in the rates of adult and, especially, children's poverty. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles; Robins, Philip K.; Card, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This report examines SSP’s impacts on applicants’ employment, income, and use of income assistance during the first 30 months after random assignment (that is, 18 months after sample members could first receive supplement payments).(author abstract)

    This report examines SSP’s impacts on applicants’ employment, income, and use of income assistance during the first 30 months after random assignment (that is, 18 months after sample members could first receive supplement payments).(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Butler, David; Alson, Julianna; Bloom, Dan; Deitch, Victoria; Hill, Aaron; Hsueh, JoAnn; Jacobs, Erin; Kim, Sue; McRoberts, Reanin; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three...

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three — large-scale programs that provided temporary, subsidized "transitional" jobs to facilitate entry into the workforce for long-term welfare recipients in one program and for ex-prisoners in the other — produced only short-term gains in employment, driven mainly by the transitional jobs themselves. The third one — a welfare-to-work program that provided unpaid work experience, job placement, and education services to recipients with health conditions — had longer-term gains, increasing employment and reducing the amount of cash assistance received over four years. Promising findings were also observed in other sites. An early-childhood development program that was combined with services to boost parents’ self-sufficiency increased employment and earnings for a subgroup of the study participants and increased the use of high-quality child care; the program for ex-prisoners mentioned above decreased recidivism; and an intervention for low-income parents with depression produced short-term increases in the use of in-person treatment. But other programs — case management services for low-income substance abusers and two employment strategies for welfare recipients — revealed no observed impacts.

    While these results are mixed, some directions for future research on the hard-to-employ emerged:

    • The findings from the evaluations of transitional jobs programs have influenced the design of two new federal subsidized employment initiatives, which are seeking to test approaches that may achieve longer-lasting effects.
    • The HtE evaluation illustrates some key challenges that early childhood education programs may face when adding self-sufficiency services for parents, and provides important lessons for implementation that can guide future two-generational programs for low-income parents and their young children.
    • Results from the HtE evaluation suggest future strategies for enhancing and adapting an intervention to help parents with depression that may benefit low-income populations.
    • Evidence from the HtE evaluation of employment strategies for welfare recipients along with other research indicates that combining work-focused strategies with treatment or services may be more promising than using either strategy alone, especially for people with disabilities and behavioral health problems.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Paulsell, Diane; Noyes, Jennifer L.; Selekman, Rebekah; Klein Vogel, Lisa; Sattar, Samina; Nerad, Benjamin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    In fall 2012, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project (CSPED) to identify effective approaches to enabling low-income noncustodial parents to pay their child support. OCSE competitively awarded grants to child support agencies in eight states to provide enhanced child support, employment, parenting, and case management services to noncustodial parents having difficulty meeting child support obligations. Grantees partnered with community organizations to deliver employment and parenting services. The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin and Mathematica Policy Research are conducting an evaluation of CSPED that includes an impact study, an implementation study, and a benefit-cost study. This report presents early implementation findings from the first two years of the demonstration. (Author abstract)

    In fall 2012, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project (CSPED) to identify effective approaches to enabling low-income noncustodial parents to pay their child support. OCSE competitively awarded grants to child support agencies in eight states to provide enhanced child support, employment, parenting, and case management services to noncustodial parents having difficulty meeting child support obligations. Grantees partnered with community organizations to deliver employment and parenting services. The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin and Mathematica Policy Research are conducting an evaluation of CSPED that includes an impact study, an implementation study, and a benefit-cost study. This report presents early implementation findings from the first two years of the demonstration. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Perez-Johnson, Irma; Strong, Debra; Van Noy, Michelle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grants program is one of several major federally funded initiatives to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment. In 1997, the Balanced Budget Act authorized the U.S. Department of Labor to award $3 billion in WtW grants to states and local organizations. These grants were intended to support efforts to help the hardest-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as noncustodial parents, prepare for employment, find jobs, stay employed, and advance in the job market.

    This report examines the costs of selected WtW programs that operated with federal grant support. The main objectives of the WtW cost analysis were to understand the cost structure of these programs and factors that influenced their costs. Program evaluators and planners should find this information useful in assessing the outcomes of WtW programs and in making decisions about future programs with similar objectives. The WtW cost analysis was part of a comprehensive, congressionally mandated evaluation of the WtW...

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grants program is one of several major federally funded initiatives to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment. In 1997, the Balanced Budget Act authorized the U.S. Department of Labor to award $3 billion in WtW grants to states and local organizations. These grants were intended to support efforts to help the hardest-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as noncustodial parents, prepare for employment, find jobs, stay employed, and advance in the job market.

    This report examines the costs of selected WtW programs that operated with federal grant support. The main objectives of the WtW cost analysis were to understand the cost structure of these programs and factors that influenced their costs. Program evaluators and planners should find this information useful in assessing the outcomes of WtW programs and in making decisions about future programs with similar objectives. The WtW cost analysis was part of a comprehensive, congressionally mandated evaluation of the WtW federal grants program featuring a descriptive assessment of grantee efforts nationwide, a process and implementation study, and outcomes analysis. (author abstract)

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