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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: Barnes, Carolyn; Danziger, Sandra K.; Rodems, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Research on public welfare agencies demonstrates that the design of the cash assistance program negatively affects recipients’ external political efficacy and political participation. This line of research suggests that public welfare administration may have political feedback effects on mass political behavior in two ways: 1) by offering resources and incentives for political action (resource effects) and 2) by providing information and meaning (interpretive effects). Essentially, policies teach lessons about citizenship, government, and politics that influence people’s values and attitudes, group identities, their orientations to government, and patterns of political participation.

    Our inquiry examines these questions in the context of a voluntary private social service program, Starfish Family Success Program (FSP). We ask whether and how participation shapes the efficacy beliefs of low income parents and specifically disconnected parents in the Detroit metro area. Our data consists of panel survey data and in-depth interview data collected as part of a program...

    Research on public welfare agencies demonstrates that the design of the cash assistance program negatively affects recipients’ external political efficacy and political participation. This line of research suggests that public welfare administration may have political feedback effects on mass political behavior in two ways: 1) by offering resources and incentives for political action (resource effects) and 2) by providing information and meaning (interpretive effects). Essentially, policies teach lessons about citizenship, government, and politics that influence people’s values and attitudes, group identities, their orientations to government, and patterns of political participation.

    Our inquiry examines these questions in the context of a voluntary private social service program, Starfish Family Success Program (FSP). We ask whether and how participation shapes the efficacy beliefs of low income parents and specifically disconnected parents in the Detroit metro area. Our data consists of panel survey data and in-depth interview data collected as part of a program evaluation of the Starfish Family Success Program. We use ordinary least squares regression to test the claim that FSP participation has spill-over effects on individuals’ values and beliefs. Through qualitative analysis, we further highlight mechanisms of program design that may affect our efficacy outcomes. The subjective reports of experiences in the FSP program highlight the most salient program attributes and how these experiences may contribute to their efficacy beliefs. Our findings suggest that voluntary FSP program participation is associated with substantial increases in both self-efficacy and parental efficacy among parents in our sample who have been disconnected from work and welfare. Our qualitative analysis supports our statistical findings regarding self-efficacy, suggesting that the FSP program is a source of social and emotional support that helps families feel empowered to improve how they navigate hardships, cope with stress and solve problems. (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: Storto, Laura; Hamilton, Gayle; Schwartz, Christine; Scrivener, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Oklahoma City's Education, Training, and Employment (ET & E) program was designed to promote self-sufficiency among applicants for and recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program (1) advocated participation in education, training, and job search classes to enhance individuals' employability and (2) granted child care assistance to support participation in the program and employment. However, ET & E was hampered by limited funding, and administrators and staff did not strongly enforce the program's mandate to participate. (Owing to statewide budget cuts and caps, caseloads were high; when case workers faced a time crunch, income maintenance functions took priority over employment and training functions.) As a result, overall, ET & E produced only small increases in the percentage of individuals who participated in basic education, vocational training, and job search classes, compared with the participation levels of a control group. For those who entered the program without a high school diploma or GED, ET & E produced larger increases...

    Oklahoma City's Education, Training, and Employment (ET & E) program was designed to promote self-sufficiency among applicants for and recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program (1) advocated participation in education, training, and job search classes to enhance individuals' employability and (2) granted child care assistance to support participation in the program and employment. However, ET & E was hampered by limited funding, and administrators and staff did not strongly enforce the program's mandate to participate. (Owing to statewide budget cuts and caps, caseloads were high; when case workers faced a time crunch, income maintenance functions took priority over employment and training functions.) As a result, overall, ET & E produced only small increases in the percentage of individuals who participated in basic education, vocational training, and job search classes, compared with the participation levels of a control group. For those who entered the program without a high school diploma or GED, ET & E produced larger increases in participation. The program did not increase enrollees' employment and earnings, compared with a control group's, but it did produce moderate welfare savings. Though the program's mandate to participate was not strongly enforced, it is possible that the welfare effects resulted from individuals deciding to forego cash assistance after they heard the mandate stated at application. Another possibility is that case managers were better able to discover AFDC ineligibility information with ET & E enrollees. Oklahoma City has since changed its program substantially to emphasize the mandate for welfare applicants and recipients to look for work as a first activity.

    These findings come at a time when state and local welfare-to-work programs are being changed across the country in response to a major overhaul of the welfare system that was mandated by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. Oklahoma City's results provide program administrators with valuable lessons on how to improve programs' short-term effectiveness when implementing a welfare-to-work program in a tight funding environment. The main lessons are discussed at the end of this report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay; Sommer, Teresa Eckrich; Sabol, Terri J.; King, Christopher T.; Glover, Robert W.; Yoshikawa, Hirokazu; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    CareerAdvance®, launched by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP), is a healthcare workforce development program designed for low-income parents of young children enrolled in CAP’s early childhood education programs. The dual-generation approach of CareerAdvance® is one of the only sectoral workforce development programs with the explicit goal of improving outcomes simultaneously for both parents and children. The present evaluation of CareerAdvance® represents a strong collaboration between university research partners and CAP. The research partnership began in 2008 when nationally-recognized leaders in workforce program and policy development worked with CAP to design CareerAdvance®, which was launched in 2009. In early 2010, national experts in developmental science broadened the research scope of the study to focus on children’s development and family functioning in addition to parents’ education, training, and financial well-being. (Excerpt from author introduction)

    CareerAdvance®, launched by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP), is a healthcare workforce development program designed for low-income parents of young children enrolled in CAP’s early childhood education programs. The dual-generation approach of CareerAdvance® is one of the only sectoral workforce development programs with the explicit goal of improving outcomes simultaneously for both parents and children. The present evaluation of CareerAdvance® represents a strong collaboration between university research partners and CAP. The research partnership began in 2008 when nationally-recognized leaders in workforce program and policy development worked with CAP to design CareerAdvance®, which was launched in 2009. In early 2010, national experts in developmental science broadened the research scope of the study to focus on children’s development and family functioning in addition to parents’ education, training, and financial well-being. (Excerpt from author introduction)

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