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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: Farrell, Mary; Morrison, Carly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is...

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is statistically significant at the 10 percent level (which suggests that it is due to the Start Smart intervention rather than random chance), and represents a 9 percent increase in payments made during the first month. Start Smart did not produce statistically significant differences in payments made in the second or third month. (Edited author overview)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.; Wood, Robert G.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The final impact report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on March 14, 2019. The primary goal of the intervention was to improve the reliable payment of child support in order to improve child well-being and avoid public costs. Key outcomes related to noncustodial parents' (1) child support orders, payments and compliance, as well as attitudes toward the child support program; (2) work and earnings; (3) sense of responsibility for their children.

    Over 10,000 noncustodial parents with difficulty meeting their child support obligations were enrolled between October 2013 and 2016; half were randomly assigned to receive extra services as part of CPSED while the other half received regular services. The evaluation results are based on a comparison of outcomes between these two groups, drawing on data from administrative records and surveys administered at enrollment and one year later. 

    As described in the report, results show that the program led to modest declines in child support orders (consistent with "...

    The final impact report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on March 14, 2019. The primary goal of the intervention was to improve the reliable payment of child support in order to improve child well-being and avoid public costs. Key outcomes related to noncustodial parents' (1) child support orders, payments and compliance, as well as attitudes toward the child support program; (2) work and earnings; (3) sense of responsibility for their children.

    Over 10,000 noncustodial parents with difficulty meeting their child support obligations were enrolled between October 2013 and 2016; half were randomly assigned to receive extra services as part of CPSED while the other half received regular services. The evaluation results are based on a comparison of outcomes between these two groups, drawing on data from administrative records and surveys administered at enrollment and one year later. 

    As described in the report, results show that the program led to modest declines in child support orders (consistent with "right-sizing" these orders), and even smaller reductions in payments. While there was no significant change in child support compliance, CSPED resulted in major improvements in noncustodial parents' attitudes towards the program. There was some evidence of increases in earnings, but not in employment. Noncustodial parents' sense of responsibility to their children also increased. 

    The evaluation suggests that the potential exists for child support agencies to lead broader interventions, incorporating components beyond child support services alone, aimed at helping unemployed and underemployed noncustodial parents to increase the reliability of their financial support for their children. Results suggest these effects can improve noncustodial parents' attitudes towards the child support program and sense of responsibility for their children, and reduce punitive enforcement with bigger impacts on right-sizing orders than on reducing payments. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anzelone, Caitlin; Timm, Jonathan; Kusayeva, Yana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    State child support programs secure financial support for children whose parents live apart. These programs establish paternity, set orders for the amounts parents are required to pay, and collect and distribute payments. An essential step in the process of establishing paternity and setting an order of support is delivering legal documents to the person named as a parent (frequently referred to as the “noncustodial parent”). This step of delivering documents is known as “service.” A noncustodial parent typically receives a summons that says he or she has been named as the parent of a particular child, provides notice that a legal proceeding has been initiated, and sets a hearing date. The summons is usually delivered by certified mail or by a law enforcement officer. In many states, noncustodial parents can waive being served by accepting the legal documents in the child support office voluntarily, but few do. A person who comes into the child support office to accept service voluntarily is actively engaging in the child support process. In doing so, the person benefits from...

    State child support programs secure financial support for children whose parents live apart. These programs establish paternity, set orders for the amounts parents are required to pay, and collect and distribute payments. An essential step in the process of establishing paternity and setting an order of support is delivering legal documents to the person named as a parent (frequently referred to as the “noncustodial parent”). This step of delivering documents is known as “service.” A noncustodial parent typically receives a summons that says he or she has been named as the parent of a particular child, provides notice that a legal proceeding has been initiated, and sets a hearing date. The summons is usually delivered by certified mail or by a law enforcement officer. In many states, noncustodial parents can waive being served by accepting the legal documents in the child support office voluntarily, but few do. A person who comes into the child support office to accept service voluntarily is actively engaging in the child support process. In doing so, the person benefits from reduced fees, a greater voice in the legal process, and a better understanding of the way an order is established. The child support program benefits from increased efficiency, reduced costs, and the ability to provide more information to parents. With these benefits in mind, the BICS team worked with the Georgia Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to test a new form of outreach intended to get more people to accept service voluntarily. The intervention encouraged people who had been named as parents to come into the office and meet with staff members to discuss the child support process and their obligations. Using insights from behavioral science, the BICS team redesigned mailed materials and changed the nature of the initial meeting between noncustodial parents and child support staff members in an attempt to simplify the process and encourage parents to act. (Excerpt from overview)

  • Individual Author: Anzelone, Caitlin; Dechausay, Nadine; Alemany, Xavier
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project conducted 15 randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions across eight states, in the domains of work support, child support, and child care. BIAS used a systematic approach called “behavioral diagnosis and design” to develop the interventions and their associated materials. This process involved identifying problems that were appropriate for behavioral interventions, diagnosing the underlying behavioral reasons for each problem, designing interventions, and conducting rigorous tests to determine whether the interventions improved outcomes. The Behavioral Interventions Materials Compendium contains all of the written materials that the project designed and tested as part of those interventions. The compendium is arranged by program area domain, site/agency, and type of intervention. Each section begins with a one-page summary of the particular intervention that was implemented, followed by a list of the printed materials for that intervention and copies of the materials themselves. (Author...

    The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project conducted 15 randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions across eight states, in the domains of work support, child support, and child care. BIAS used a systematic approach called “behavioral diagnosis and design” to develop the interventions and their associated materials. This process involved identifying problems that were appropriate for behavioral interventions, diagnosing the underlying behavioral reasons for each problem, designing interventions, and conducting rigorous tests to determine whether the interventions improved outcomes. The Behavioral Interventions Materials Compendium contains all of the written materials that the project designed and tested as part of those interventions. The compendium is arranged by program area domain, site/agency, and type of intervention. Each section begins with a one-page summary of the particular intervention that was implemented, followed by a list of the printed materials for that intervention and copies of the materials themselves. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Anzelone, Caitlin; Dechausay, Nadine; Landers, Patrick
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    This report represents the final synthesis of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project. Overall, the project’s findings demonstrated that applying behavioral insights to challenges facing human services programs can improve program efficiency, operations, and outcomes at a relatively low cost.

    The report discusses in detail:

    •overall findings from the project;

    •lessons learned during the knowledge development period as well as across the project’s sites;

    •the broader context in which the findings are situated, with respect to both applied behavioral insights and human services; and

    •implications for future research and practice.

    Each chapter is accompanied by at least one independent commentary by an expert in the field. (Author abstract)

    This report represents the final synthesis of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project. Overall, the project’s findings demonstrated that applying behavioral insights to challenges facing human services programs can improve program efficiency, operations, and outcomes at a relatively low cost.

    The report discusses in detail:

    •overall findings from the project;

    •lessons learned during the knowledge development period as well as across the project’s sites;

    •the broader context in which the findings are situated, with respect to both applied behavioral insights and human services; and

    •implications for future research and practice.

    Each chapter is accompanied by at least one independent commentary by an expert in the field. (Author abstract)

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