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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: Edin, Kathryn; Nelson, Timothy J.; Butler, Rachel; Francis, Robert
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    U.S. children are more likely to live apart from a biological parent than at any time in history. Although the Child Support Enforcement system has tremendous reach, its policies have not kept pace with significant economic, demographic, and cultural changes. Narrative analysis of in-depth interviews with 429 low-income noncustodial fathers suggests that the system faces a crisis of legitimacy. Visualization of language used to describe all forms child support show that the formal system is considered punitive and to lead to a loss of power and autonomy. Further, it is not associated with coparenting or the father–child bond—themes closely associated with informal and in-kind support. Rather than stoking men’s identities as providers, the system becomes “just another bill to pay.” Orders must be sustainable, all fathers should have coparenting agreements, and alternative forms of support should count toward fathers’ obligations. Recovery of government welfare costs should be eliminated. (Author abstract)

    U.S. children are more likely to live apart from a biological parent than at any time in history. Although the Child Support Enforcement system has tremendous reach, its policies have not kept pace with significant economic, demographic, and cultural changes. Narrative analysis of in-depth interviews with 429 low-income noncustodial fathers suggests that the system faces a crisis of legitimacy. Visualization of language used to describe all forms child support show that the formal system is considered punitive and to lead to a loss of power and autonomy. Further, it is not associated with coparenting or the father–child bond—themes closely associated with informal and in-kind support. Rather than stoking men’s identities as providers, the system becomes “just another bill to pay.” Orders must be sustainable, all fathers should have coparenting agreements, and alternative forms of support should count toward fathers’ obligations. Recovery of government welfare costs should be eliminated. (Author abstract)

  • 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: Glosser, Asaph; Germain, Justin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The rise of online platform work through companies such as Uber, Care.com, and TaskRabbit has increased the visibility of alternative work arrangements. This has sparked interest among researchers, policymakers, and program administrators in the “gig economy” and its implications for labor markets, worker protections, and access to benefits. For child support programs, the emergence of the gig economy presents a new dimension to the longstanding challenge of establishing and enforcing child support orders for noncustodial parents working outside traditional salaried employment—in jobs that are often temporary, part-time, and contingent. Nontraditional work arrangements provide individuals with opportunities to generate income with greater flexibility to choose work hours and tasks. However, they often do not provide the same level of economic security as traditional arrangements. Independent workers are less likely to be covered by labor and employment laws, such as a minimum wage, overtime compensation, and unemployment compensation. Moreover, while nontraditional work...

    The rise of online platform work through companies such as Uber, Care.com, and TaskRabbit has increased the visibility of alternative work arrangements. This has sparked interest among researchers, policymakers, and program administrators in the “gig economy” and its implications for labor markets, worker protections, and access to benefits. For child support programs, the emergence of the gig economy presents a new dimension to the longstanding challenge of establishing and enforcing child support orders for noncustodial parents working outside traditional salaried employment—in jobs that are often temporary, part-time, and contingent. Nontraditional work arrangements provide individuals with opportunities to generate income with greater flexibility to choose work hours and tasks. However, they often do not provide the same level of economic security as traditional arrangements. Independent workers are less likely to be covered by labor and employment laws, such as a minimum wage, overtime compensation, and unemployment compensation. Moreover, while nontraditional work arrangements may allow workers additional avenues to earn income, certain employee-based benefits and subsidies such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and life insurance are typically not as available as through traditional work arrangements. In recent years, the growth of the gig economy, where workers’ participation is more transitory than in traditional independent contract work, has contributed to an increase in nontraditional work. (Excerpt from author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Howard, Lanikque; Vogel, Lisa Klein; Cancian, Maria; Noyes, Jennifer L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Passarella, Letitia L.; Nicoli, Lisa T.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Economic recovery from the Great Recession has been slow for families with very low incomes. Those with incomes at the very bottom have only experienced two years of household income growth, rising 9% to $13,608 in 2016. Comparatively, middle-income families have had five years of growth with an increase of 11% to just over $59,000. Middle-income families now have earnings higher than their pre-recession levels, while those at the bottom still have not fully recovered. Given these low earnings and slow growth, it is important to examine those families who may have required additional support through Maryland’s Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) program.

    The annual report series, Life after Welfare, examines outcomes of families who left cash assistance. The series focuses on families’ characteristics, employment and earnings outcomes, and the receipt of other public benefits. The 2017 update includes a sample of 12,597 families who left the TCA program between January 2004 and March 2017. We examine trends through the lens of three different cohorts: (a) Mid-2000s Recovery—a...

    Economic recovery from the Great Recession has been slow for families with very low incomes. Those with incomes at the very bottom have only experienced two years of household income growth, rising 9% to $13,608 in 2016. Comparatively, middle-income families have had five years of growth with an increase of 11% to just over $59,000. Middle-income families now have earnings higher than their pre-recession levels, while those at the bottom still have not fully recovered. Given these low earnings and slow growth, it is important to examine those families who may have required additional support through Maryland’s Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) program.

    The annual report series, Life after Welfare, examines outcomes of families who left cash assistance. The series focuses on families’ characteristics, employment and earnings outcomes, and the receipt of other public benefits. The 2017 update includes a sample of 12,597 families who left the TCA program between January 2004 and March 2017. We examine trends through the lens of three different cohorts: (a) Mid-2000s Recovery—a declining caseload between January 2004 and March 2007; (b) Great Recession Era—an increasing caseload between April 2007 and December 2011; and (c) Great Recession Recovery—a declining caseload between January 2012 and March 2017.

    The main findings from this report indicate that families’ financial situations improved after exiting the TCA program, compared with their circumstances before they came onto the program. Nonetheless, these families struggle to rise above poverty and maintain independence from cash assistance. (Author abstract) 

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