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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: Gooden, Susan; Doolittle, Fred; Glispie, Ben
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The passage of federal legislation reforming welfare in 1996 challenged states to be innovative in structuring and administering public assistance for needy families with children. As one of the first states to end Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and replace it with a new program, Wisconsin provided a new vision for many key decisions that states now face about imposing time limits on assistance (within the federal five-year lifetime limit), setting levels of cash assistance, the variety of employment-related services to offer, and how to enforce requirements for participating in services.

    In the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program, applicants for public assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must be assessed and assigned quickly to one of several “tiers” that entail different levels of cash assistance, different services, and different participation requirements. Two tiers (community service jobs and W-2 transitional placements) have two-year limits unless an extension is granted. Thus, caseworkers' decisions about initial tier...

    The passage of federal legislation reforming welfare in 1996 challenged states to be innovative in structuring and administering public assistance for needy families with children. As one of the first states to end Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and replace it with a new program, Wisconsin provided a new vision for many key decisions that states now face about imposing time limits on assistance (within the federal five-year lifetime limit), setting levels of cash assistance, the variety of employment-related services to offer, and how to enforce requirements for participating in services.

    In the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program, applicants for public assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must be assessed and assigned quickly to one of several “tiers” that entail different levels of cash assistance, different services, and different participation requirements. Two tiers (community service jobs and W-2 transitional placements) have two-year limits unless an extension is granted. Thus, caseworkers' decisions about initial tier assignments have important implications for participants and the agencies that administer services. Although state policy sets guidelines for making initial tier assignments, caseworkers have much discretion in designing an individualized service plan for applicants and participants. Moreover, in Milwaukee County, the state has contracted with private agencies to administer W-2, and the agencies have developed their own procedures for conducting intake and assessing applicants.

    This report - the first in a series on W-2 administration - describes how the early assessment of applicants' job readiness and service needs was actually done in Milwaukee County during the program's first two years. Based on field research, administrative records, and observations of program operations, it analyzes the initial tier and activity assignments. The study's findings illustrate how W-2 has evolved, how caseworkers have handled the many tasks of enrolling someone in the program, and the challenges of assessing the circumstances and needs of applicants who have serious barriers to employment. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wu, Chi-Fang; Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    This study identified the employment and earnings trajectories of welfare recipients over six years for a sample of 14,150 women who entered the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) in Wisconsin in its first year. Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data were used to examine differential patterns of mid-term (three years) and long-term (six years) employment and earnings success. We developed a conceptual approach to categorizing participants' employment and earnings trajectory groups. Results indicate substantial diversity in employment and earnings patterns. Some women have consistently positive outcomes, others show steady improvements over time, and others have inconsistent patterns that end strong. We found that 46% of the sample fit into one of three successful employment trajectories, and 22% fit into one of three successful earnings trajectories. Results also reveal that many women who were successful in the mid-term were not able to sustain their progress. For example, only 56% of those who were earning successes in the mid-term were still successful...

    This study identified the employment and earnings trajectories of welfare recipients over six years for a sample of 14,150 women who entered the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) in Wisconsin in its first year. Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data were used to examine differential patterns of mid-term (three years) and long-term (six years) employment and earnings success. We developed a conceptual approach to categorizing participants' employment and earnings trajectory groups. Results indicate substantial diversity in employment and earnings patterns. Some women have consistently positive outcomes, others show steady improvements over time, and others have inconsistent patterns that end strong. We found that 46% of the sample fit into one of three successful employment trajectories, and 22% fit into one of three successful earnings trajectories. Results also reveal that many women who were successful in the mid-term were not able to sustain their progress. For example, only 56% of those who were earning successes in the mid-term were still successful in the long-term. Final]y, logistic regression models were used to compare the factors associated with mid-term and long-term success and with employment success and earnings success. Implications of findings are discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory; Loprest, Pamela; Roberts, Tracy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), passed in 1996, replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants to states. Since that time, the federal cash assistance caseloads have dropped by over 50 percent, from 4.4 million in August, 1996 to 2.1 million in March, 2001. There is interest at the federal, state, and local levels in better understanding the circumstances of the unprecedented number of families that have left welfare, including their employment status, participation in public programs, and the overall well-being of both the leavers and their children.

    A host of state and policy researchers have examined the well-being of families leaving welfare in the post-reform era. These studies vary widely in the populations they study, how they define a welfare “leaver,” the outcomes that they examine and how those outcomes are measured, and in their methodological rigor. Consequently, it is difficult to use these studies to draw general conclusions...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), passed in 1996, replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants to states. Since that time, the federal cash assistance caseloads have dropped by over 50 percent, from 4.4 million in August, 1996 to 2.1 million in March, 2001. There is interest at the federal, state, and local levels in better understanding the circumstances of the unprecedented number of families that have left welfare, including their employment status, participation in public programs, and the overall well-being of both the leavers and their children.

    A host of state and policy researchers have examined the well-being of families leaving welfare in the post-reform era. These studies vary widely in the populations they study, how they define a welfare “leaver,” the outcomes that they examine and how those outcomes are measured, and in their methodological rigor. Consequently, it is difficult to use these studies to draw general conclusions about the status of TANF leavers nationwide.

    In an effort to address the above questions about the circumstances of welfare leavers and to facilitate cross-state comparisons, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the United States the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) awarded competitive grants to select states and large counties in September, 1998, to conduct studies of families that have left the welfare rolls. This report reviews and synthesizes key findings from fifteen of the ASPE-funded leavers studies.

    The studies, made possible by an earmarked Congressional appropriation to study the outcomes of welfare reform, include both administrative and survey data on the well-being of families who left welfare. This synthesis includes information on welfare leavers’ employment and earnings, public assistance program participation, income and poverty status, material hardships, and child well-being. In addition to publishing reports, grantees constructed public-use files containing state or county administrative data and/or survey data. Public use data from several of the sites are analyzed in this report to examine key outcomes for subgroups that may not have been included in the grantees’ published reports.

    Following the devolution of welfare programs to the state level, ASPE chose a research strategy that combined local flexibility in study design with some efforts to develop comparable measures across the studies in order to facilitate cross-study comparisons. There remain important differences in welfare policies, economic conditions, and the characteristics of leavers across the fifteen study areas that may affect leavers’ post-TANF experiences. However, despite these differences, some clear general patterns emerge. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dearing, Eric; McCartney, Kathleen; Taylor, Beck
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    Hierarchical linear modeling was used to model the dynamics of family income-to-needs for participants of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care (N = 1,364) from the time that children were 1 through 36 months of age. Associations between change in income-to-needs and 36-month child outcomes (i.e., school readiness, receptive language, expressive language, positive social behavior, and behavior problems) were examined. Although change in income-to-needs proved to be of little importance for children from nonpoor families, it proved to be of great importance for children from poor families. For children in poverty, decreases in income-to-needs were associated with worse outcomes and increases were associated with better outcomes. In fact, when children from poor families experienced increases in income-to-needs that were at least 1 SD above the mean change for poor families, they displayed outcomes similar to their nonpoor peers. The practical importance and policy implications of these findings are discussed. (author abstract)

    Hierarchical linear modeling was used to model the dynamics of family income-to-needs for participants of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care (N = 1,364) from the time that children were 1 through 36 months of age. Associations between change in income-to-needs and 36-month child outcomes (i.e., school readiness, receptive language, expressive language, positive social behavior, and behavior problems) were examined. Although change in income-to-needs proved to be of little importance for children from nonpoor families, it proved to be of great importance for children from poor families. For children in poverty, decreases in income-to-needs were associated with worse outcomes and increases were associated with better outcomes. In fact, when children from poor families experienced increases in income-to-needs that were at least 1 SD above the mean change for poor families, they displayed outcomes similar to their nonpoor peers. The practical importance and policy implications of these findings are discussed. (author abstract)

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