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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: Fein, David J.; Beecroft, Eric; Long, David A.; Catalfamo, Andrée Rose
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    In August 1999, Riverside Community College (RCC), in Riverside County, California, launched an innovative program designed to prepare welfare recipients for college and help them move to better jobs. Set on a community college campus, New Visions provides a 24-week program of academic instruction and support services, followed by up to five months of credit-bearing course work in an occupational mini-program. In order to be eligible, clients must have a high school diploma or GED and be working at least 20 hours a week. The program is a partnership between RCC and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (RCDPSS).

    Abt Associates Inc.’s five-year evaluation of New Visions is the first random assignment study of the effectiveness of a special college program for welfare recipients. The evaluation, which also includes a study of program implementation, will answer several important questions. The first is whether offering intensive supports encourages single parents on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to return to school after they have gone to...

    In August 1999, Riverside Community College (RCC), in Riverside County, California, launched an innovative program designed to prepare welfare recipients for college and help them move to better jobs. Set on a community college campus, New Visions provides a 24-week program of academic instruction and support services, followed by up to five months of credit-bearing course work in an occupational mini-program. In order to be eligible, clients must have a high school diploma or GED and be working at least 20 hours a week. The program is a partnership between RCC and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (RCDPSS).

    Abt Associates Inc.’s five-year evaluation of New Visions is the first random assignment study of the effectiveness of a special college program for welfare recipients. The evaluation, which also includes a study of program implementation, will answer several important questions. The first is whether offering intensive supports encourages single parents on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to return to school after they have gone to work. The second is whether making work a condition of education and training increases motivation to learn and enhances short-run job retention and advancement opportunities. The third is whether providing remedial education and support services helps participants to succeed in regular college programs, thereby increasing their access to higher-paying jobs over the long run…

    This report reviews the literature on special programs for welfare recipients at two- and four-year colleges, describes the New Visions demonstration, and provides initial findings on program implementation and client experiences. The findings come at a very early juncture in the demonstration and are offered as an introduction to New Visions rather than as a preview of its likely outcomes. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: McGroder, Sharon M.; Zaslow, Martha J.; Moore, Kristin A.; Brooks, Jennifer L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Policy makers and others have expressed an interest in how children may be affected by mandatory welfare-to-work programs. Though superceded in 1996 by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (or JOBS) Program shares the current goal of replacing welfare with work. It also contained many of the elements — such as work requirements and sanctions for non-compliance — still operating in welfare-to-work programs today. This brief presents findings from the Child Outcomes Study, a substudy of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), which examined the impacts of 11 JOBS programs in seven sites across the country.

    In three of these sites, the Child Outcomes Study looked at the long-term impacts of two alternative pre-employment strategies — employment-focused and education-focused — on children ages 3 to 5 at the start of the study. It sought to determine whether one approach was more or less beneficial than the other for children's development. Because these programs did not...

    Policy makers and others have expressed an interest in how children may be affected by mandatory welfare-to-work programs. Though superceded in 1996 by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (or JOBS) Program shares the current goal of replacing welfare with work. It also contained many of the elements — such as work requirements and sanctions for non-compliance — still operating in welfare-to-work programs today. This brief presents findings from the Child Outcomes Study, a substudy of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), which examined the impacts of 11 JOBS programs in seven sites across the country.

    In three of these sites, the Child Outcomes Study looked at the long-term impacts of two alternative pre-employment strategies — employment-focused and education-focused — on children ages 3 to 5 at the start of the study. It sought to determine whether one approach was more or less beneficial than the other for children's development. Because these programs did not provide services aimed at improving the development and well-being of children — as in early childhood education programs — any impacts on children would likely result from their mothers' exposure to the program (for example, self-sufficiency messages from case managers) and from program-induced changes in maternal education, employment, and/or family income. Three general areas of child development were studied — cognitive development and academic functioning, social skills and behavior, and health and safety.

    Overall, there were few impacts of the six JOBS programs studied when children were of elementary school age. When found, impacts on cognitive outcomes were favorable early on but faded over time; impacts on behavioral outcomes were both favorable and unfavorable both early and later on, and impacts on health outcomes were unfavorable, both early and later on. Of particular interest was the finding that impacts on young children did not vary according to the type of welfare-to-work strategy used but, rather, tended to vary more according to the site in which the program was implemented. Researchers conclude that impacts on outcomes important to children — such as stable maternal employment, adequate family income, and supportive environments — were too few, occurred for too brief a period, or were of an insufficient magnitude to lead to large, widespread impacts on elementary school-age children. They also emphasize that even when favorably affected by these programs, young children still remained at risk for problem outcomes, especially pertaining to academic achievement and school progress. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gayle Hamilton; Freedman, Stephen; Gennetian, Lisa; Michalopoulos, Charles; Walter, Johanna; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana; Gassman-Pines, Anna; McGroder, Sharon; Zaslow, Martha; Brooks, Jennifer; Ahluwalia, Surjeet; Small, Electra; Ricchetti, Bryan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    For the past 30 years, federal and state policymakers have been legislating various types of programs to increase employment among welfare recipients. How people can best move from welfare to work, however, has been the subject of long-standing debate. This report, summarizing the long-term effects of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs on welfare recipients and their children, represents a major advance in resolving this debate. The findings are the final ones from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), a multi-year study of alternative approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in employment, and leave public assistance.

    “What works best, and for whom?” is the central question animating this report and the NEWWS Evaluation as a whole. In particular, the evaluation compares the effects of two alternative pre-employment strategies, for different groups of welfare recipients: programs that emphasize short-term job search assistance and encourage people to find employment quickly (referred to as “Labor...

    For the past 30 years, federal and state policymakers have been legislating various types of programs to increase employment among welfare recipients. How people can best move from welfare to work, however, has been the subject of long-standing debate. This report, summarizing the long-term effects of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs on welfare recipients and their children, represents a major advance in resolving this debate. The findings are the final ones from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), a multi-year study of alternative approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in employment, and leave public assistance.

    “What works best, and for whom?” is the central question animating this report and the NEWWS Evaluation as a whole. In particular, the evaluation compares the effects of two alternative pre-employment strategies, for different groups of welfare recipients: programs that emphasize short-term job search assistance and encourage people to find employment quickly (referred to as “Labor Force Attachment” [LFA] or, more broadly, “employment-focused” programs); and programs that emphasize longer-term skill-building activities, primarily basic education (referred to as “Human Capital Development” [HCD] or, more broadly, “education-focused” programs). The effects of each approach are estimated from a wealth of data pertaining to over 40,000 single parents (mostly mothers) and their children, and a five-year follow-up period (falling somewhere between 1991 and 1999, depending on the site), using an innovative and rigorous research design based on the random assignment of individuals to one or more program groups (with services) or to a control group (without services). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hamilton, Gayle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building...

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building activities (primarily basic education) before entering the labor market — and a third approach that mixed elements of the other two.  The strategies’ success was measured with respect to the goals and combinations of goals that policymakers and program operators have set for welfare-to-work programs, which include cutting the welfare rolls, increasing employment, reducing poverty, not worsening (or, better still, improving) the well-being of children, and saving government money.  The study examined the programs’ effects on single-parent welfare recipients, who account for the vast majority of the national welfare caseload, as well as on different subgroups thereof for example, those considered to be most disadvantaged with respect to their likelihood of finding steady employment.  The evaluation also addressed important policy questions such as how to engage a substantial proportion of people in program activities and how enforcement of welfare-to-work participation mandates influences program effectiveness.  A complete list of the questions covered in this synthesis, along with the primary sources from NEWWS that address them in detail, is provided in Table 1.The effects of the NEWWS programs were estimated based on a wealth of data on more than 40,000 single-parent families, making NEWWS the largest study of welfare-to-work programs ever conducted.  Parents and their children were tracked over a five-year follow-up period, which, depending on the site, spanned different parts of the 1990s.  In the study’s innovative and rigorous research design, each parent was randomly assigned to a program group (in some sites, there were two program groups), whose members were eligible for program services and subject to the mandate, or a control group, whose members were not. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hamilton, Gayle; Brock, Thomas; Farrell, Mary; Friedlander, Daniel; Harknett, Kristen; Hunter-Manns, JoAnna; Walter, Johanna; Weisman, Joanna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    Welfare reform has been near the top of the American political agenda for almost a decade, a reflection of persistent dissatisfaction with the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. At the center of the reform discussion is the bedrock value of work. AFDC was created in 1935 primarily to ensure that women whose husbands had died or were disabled could care for their children without being compelled to go to work. By the end of the 1980s, however, most mothers were in the workforce, including mothers of young children, and the Depression-era commitment to helping mothers stay at home was considered obsolete. The key welfare reform question then became how best to move AFDC recipients into the workforce, toward self-sufficiency, and out of poverty — still an immensely important question.

    States have traditionally responded to this question by implementing one of two different welfare-to-work program strategies. The first, often referred to as the "labor force attachment" (LFA) strategy, emphasizes placing people into jobs...

    Welfare reform has been near the top of the American political agenda for almost a decade, a reflection of persistent dissatisfaction with the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. At the center of the reform discussion is the bedrock value of work. AFDC was created in 1935 primarily to ensure that women whose husbands had died or were disabled could care for their children without being compelled to go to work. By the end of the 1980s, however, most mothers were in the workforce, including mothers of young children, and the Depression-era commitment to helping mothers stay at home was considered obsolete. The key welfare reform question then became how best to move AFDC recipients into the workforce, toward self-sufficiency, and out of poverty — still an immensely important question.

    States have traditionally responded to this question by implementing one of two different welfare-to-work program strategies. The first, often referred to as the "labor force attachment" (LFA) strategy, emphasizes placing people into jobs quickly, even at low wages, reflecting a view that the workplace is where welfare recipients can best build their work habits and skills. The second, often called the "human capital development" (HCD) strategy, emphasizes education and training as a precursor to employment, based on the belief that the required skill levels for many jobs are rising and that an investment in the "human capital" of welfare recipients will allow them to obtain better and more secure jobs. Although each strategy has elements of the other LFA programs include education and training components and HCD programs include job search components the two approaches both convey different messages to welfare recipients about the best route to self-sufficiency and emphasize different program components.

    This report examines the relative strengths and limitations of particular versions of the LFA and HCD program strategies. It includes the findings from one part of a multi-year, seven-site evaluation and draws on the advantages of a unique experimental design implemented in three of those seven sites. The evaluation had its origins in the Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988, which marked a major shift in the philosophy of welfare by establishing a system of mutual obligation — between government and recipients — within the AFDC entitlement structure. As part of the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program created by the FSA, welfare recipients had to look for and accept a job or participate in employment-promoting activities such as education, vocational skills training, or temporary, unpaid work experience provided through the welfare department; if they refused, they risked losing part of their cash (and, in some cases, Food Stamps and Medicaid) benefits. In turn, government was to provide a wider array of services and supports to a broader share of the welfare population than it ever had before — all with the purpose of equipping welfare recipients for work. More recently, the emphasis of welfare reform has again shifted: Recipients have stronger obligations to meet, states have a commanding and more flexible role, and the receipt of federal benefits is now subject to a time limit. Work, however, is still key. But what is the best way to make sure that welfare recipients who can work actually find and keep jobs? Various responses to that question are currently shaping federal and state welfare reform initiatives, and this report takes a preliminary look at two of them — the LFA and HCD approaches described above. (author abstract)

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