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  • Individual Author: Zaslow, Martha; Eldred, Carolyn
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The New Chance Observational Study — the subject of this monograph — is an in-depth examination of parenting behavior in 290 of the 2,322 families studied in the New Chance Demonstration, a national research and demonstration program operated between 1989 and 1992 at 16 locations in 10 states. The demonstration tested a program model intended to improve the economic prospects and overall well-being of low-income young mothers (aged 16 to 22) and their children through a comprehensive and intensive set of services. It was developed by MDRC and supported by a broad consortium of public and private funders.

    New Chance was directed at families central to the welfare reform debates that culminated in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 — families headed by young mothers who gave birth during their teenage years and were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC, the main cash welfare program). More specifically, New Chance focused on those who were especially disadvantaged because they were high school dropouts; as a group,...

    The New Chance Observational Study — the subject of this monograph — is an in-depth examination of parenting behavior in 290 of the 2,322 families studied in the New Chance Demonstration, a national research and demonstration program operated between 1989 and 1992 at 16 locations in 10 states. The demonstration tested a program model intended to improve the economic prospects and overall well-being of low-income young mothers (aged 16 to 22) and their children through a comprehensive and intensive set of services. It was developed by MDRC and supported by a broad consortium of public and private funders.

    New Chance was directed at families central to the welfare reform debates that culminated in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 — families headed by young mothers who gave birth during their teenage years and were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC, the main cash welfare program). More specifically, New Chance focused on those who were especially disadvantaged because they were high school dropouts; as a group, they and their children are at high risk of long-term welfare receipt and economic hardship.

    The New Chance Program sought to help the young mothers (who, for the most part, volunteered for the program) to acquire educational and vocational credentials and skills so that they could find and keep jobs offering opportunities for advancement and reduce, and eventually eliminate, their use of welfare. It also sought to motivate and assist participants to postpone additional childbearing and to become better parents. Because New Chance focused on young children as well as their mothers, it sought to further the cognitive, social, and emotional development as well as the health of participants’ children. Child care was provided at no cost to the parents, on site in most places, and the program facilitated access to health services for both mothers and children. The program was intended to be intensive (four to five days a week for up to 18 months), though in practice attendance was of much shorter term and often irregular. (author abstract)

    Table of Contents

          Executive Summary/ Martha J Zaslow and Carolyn A. Eldred

    1. Introduction: The Context for the New Chance Observational Study/ Martha I Zaslow
    2. The Methodology of the New Chance Observational Study/ Donna R. Morrison, Carolyn A. Eldred, Martha I Zaslow, and M Robin Dion
    3. Participation in Program Components That Could Affect Parenting Behavior/ M Robin Dion, Martha I Zaslow, and Donna R. Morrison
    4. The Affective Quality of Mother-Child Interaction/ Nancy S. Weinfield, Byron Egeland, and John R. Ogawa
    5. Mother-Child Interactions Related to the Emergence of Literacy/ Jeanne De Temple and Catherine Snow
    6. Completing the Portrayal of Parenting Behavior with Interview-Based Measures/  Donna R. Morrison, Martha J. Zaslow, and M Robin Dion
    7. Integration: Looking Across the Differing Measures of Parenting/  Martha J. Zaslow, M Robin Dion, and Donna R. Morrison
    8. Parenting in a Broader Context: An Examination of the Multiple Influences on Child Outcomes/ the New Chance Observational Study Research Team
    9. Key Findings and Their Implications/ Martha J. Zaslow
    10. Expanding the Methodological Horizons of Child Development and Survey Research/  Carolyn A. Eldred
    11. Implementing Observational Research Within a Survey Context/ Carolyn A. Eldred
    12. Findings on the Administration of the Observational Session/ Carolyn A. Eldred
    13. An Assessment of the Data Collection Effort and Lessons for Future Research Efforts/ Carolyn A. Eldred
    14. Measurement Implications of the New Chance Observational Study/ Carolyn A. Eldred
  • Individual Author: Jemmott, John B. III; Jemmott, Loretta Sweet; Fong, Geoffrey T.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1998

    Context- African American adolescents are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but which behavioral interventions to reduce risk are most effective and who should conduct them is not known. 

    Objective- To evaluate the effects of abstinence and safer-sex HIV risk-reduction interventions on young inner-city African American adolescents' HIV sexual risk behaviors when implemented by adult facilitators as compared with peer cofacilitators.

    Design- Randomized controlled trial with 3-, 6-, and 12- month follow-up.

    Setting- Three middle schools serving low-income African American communities in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Participants- A total of 659 African American adolescents recruited for a Saturday program.

    Interventions- Based on cognitive-behavioral theories and elicitation research, interventions involved 8 1-hour modules implemented by adult facilitators or peer cofacilitators. Abstinence intervention stressed delaying sexual intercourse or reducing its frequency; safer-sex intervention...

    Context- African American adolescents are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but which behavioral interventions to reduce risk are most effective and who should conduct them is not known. 

    Objective- To evaluate the effects of abstinence and safer-sex HIV risk-reduction interventions on young inner-city African American adolescents' HIV sexual risk behaviors when implemented by adult facilitators as compared with peer cofacilitators.

    Design- Randomized controlled trial with 3-, 6-, and 12- month follow-up.

    Setting- Three middle schools serving low-income African American communities in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Participants- A total of 659 African American adolescents recruited for a Saturday program.

    Interventions- Based on cognitive-behavioral theories and elicitation research, interventions involved 8 1-hour modules implemented by adult facilitators or peer cofacilitators. Abstinence intervention stressed delaying sexual intercourse or reducing its frequency; safer-sex intervention stressed condom use; control intervention concerned health issues unrelated to sexual behavior.

    Main Outcome Measures- Self-reported sexual intercourse, condom use, and unprotected sexual intercourse.

    Results- Mean age of the enrollees was 11.8 years; 53% were female and 92% were still enrolled at 12 months. Abstinence intervention participants were less likely to report having sexual intercourse in the 3 months after intervention than were control group participants (12.5% vs 21.5%, P=.02), but not at 6- or 12-month follow-up (17.2% vs 22.7%, P=.14; 20.0% vs 23.1%, P=.42, respectively). Safer-sex intervention participants reported significantly more consistent condom use than did control group participants at 3 months (odds ration [OR]= 3.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25-9.16) and higher frequency of condom use at all follow-ups. Among adolescents who reported sexual experience at baseline, the safer-sex intervention group reported less sexual intercourse in the previous 3 months at 6- and 12-month follow-up than did control and abstinence intervention (adjusted mean days over prior 3 months, 1.34 vs 3.77 and 3.03 respectively; P</= .01 at 12-month follow-up) and less unprotected intercourse at all follow-ups than did control group (adjusted mean days, 0.04 vs 1.85, respectively, P<.001 at 12-month follow-up). There were no differences in intervention effects with adult facilitators as compared with peer cofacilitators. 

    Conclusion- Both abstinence and safer-sex interventions can reduce HIV sexual risk behaviors, but safer-sex interventions may be especially effective with sexually experienced adolescents and may have longer-lasting effects. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pugh, Margaret
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The time limits and work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law present a great challenge to large U.S. metropolitan areas, where hundreds of thousands of low-income people must find entry-level jobs. The welfare-to-work effort underway in American cities uncovers a phenomenon that many scholars already knew: there is a “spatial mismatch” between where workers live and where jobs are located, and low-income workers often have no easy way to travel between home and work.

    Officials at the federal, state, and local levels already are scrambling to solve spatial mismatch through transportation solutions, yet they lack solid information about what spatial mismatch is, why it occurs, and how best to remedy it through transportation. A review of empirical literature and practical work shows that not all metropolitan areas experience the same degree of spatial mismatch, and that policy solutions may vary from city to city.

    This discussion paper does three things. First, it proposes an index by which we could assess the degree of spatial mismatch and categorize...

    The time limits and work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law present a great challenge to large U.S. metropolitan areas, where hundreds of thousands of low-income people must find entry-level jobs. The welfare-to-work effort underway in American cities uncovers a phenomenon that many scholars already knew: there is a “spatial mismatch” between where workers live and where jobs are located, and low-income workers often have no easy way to travel between home and work.

    Officials at the federal, state, and local levels already are scrambling to solve spatial mismatch through transportation solutions, yet they lack solid information about what spatial mismatch is, why it occurs, and how best to remedy it through transportation. A review of empirical literature and practical work shows that not all metropolitan areas experience the same degree of spatial mismatch, and that policy solutions may vary from city to city.

    This discussion paper does three things. First, it proposes an index by which we could assess the degree of spatial mismatch and categorize metropolitan areas according to the severity of mismatch. Second, it performs a preliminary categorization of five cities to illustrate the varying degrees of mismatch found among metropolitan areas with large welfare populations. Third, it makes both short and long term recommendations for federal and state policies. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Quint, Janet; Edin, Kathryn; Buck, Maria L.; Fink, Barbara; Padilla, Yolanda C.; Simmons-Hewitt, Olis; Valmont, Mary Eustace; Bowie, Stan L.; Johnson, Earl S.; Korbin, Jill E.; Stepick, Carol Dutton; Stepick, Alex; Valenzuela, Abel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 revolutionized welfare policy. Ending Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) — the 60-year-old federal cash welfare program for poor families — the act granted unprecedented authority and responsibility for public assistance policies and programs to the states, established a new form of aid known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides funds to the states via block grants, and placed a five-year lifetime limit on federally assisted cash benefits for most families. States were permitted to exempt from the federal time limit no more than 20 percent of their average monthly caseloads and also faced increasingly stringent requirements to place more welfare recipients into jobs or work preparation activities. In the aftermath of PRWORA, states have further “devolved” much of the responsibility for welfare to local welfare agencies and other entities.

    Congress enacted PRWORA and President Clinton signed it out of the profound conviction that the existing welfare...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 revolutionized welfare policy. Ending Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) — the 60-year-old federal cash welfare program for poor families — the act granted unprecedented authority and responsibility for public assistance policies and programs to the states, established a new form of aid known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides funds to the states via block grants, and placed a five-year lifetime limit on federally assisted cash benefits for most families. States were permitted to exempt from the federal time limit no more than 20 percent of their average monthly caseloads and also faced increasingly stringent requirements to place more welfare recipients into jobs or work preparation activities. In the aftermath of PRWORA, states have further “devolved” much of the responsibility for welfare to local welfare agencies and other entities.

    Congress enacted PRWORA and President Clinton signed it out of the profound conviction that the existing welfare system was a failure, but without much prior research to suggest what the likely effects of the new law’s provisions might be. PRWORA’s proponents expected the changes to spur policy innovation, lead more families to become self-supporting, and encourage marriage while discouraging out-of-wedlock births. The law’s critics predicted dire effects on poor families and the neighborhoods in which they live — more poverty, hardship, homelessness, domestic violence, and crime.

    The fundamental premise underlying the Project on Devolution and Urban Change (Urban Change for short) is that the effects of PRWORA — whether positive, negative, or mixed — will be felt with special intensity by residents of the nation’s big cities, where long-term welfare recipients and other poor people are increasingly concentrated and employment opportunities are often limited. The Urban Change project is a five-year, multicomponent study of PRWORA’s implementation and of its effects on poor families with children, the communities in which they live, and the institutions that assist them. The study is taking place in four of the nation’s largest urban counties — Cuyahoga, Ohio (which includes Cleveland); Los Angeles, California; Miami-Dade, Florida; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These counties (also referred to as the study’s sites) were selected to represent a mix of older Northern industrial cities and younger Sunbelt cities, with different local economies, welfare grant levels, and ethnic mixes. All four counties, however, account for a disproportionate share of the TANF recipients in their respective states.

    The study is being undertaken by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that develops and evaluates interventions designed to improve the self-sufficiency and well-being of economically disadvantaged populations, in cooperation with researchers from other institutions at or near the study sites. The project is supported by a consortium of 11 foundations, which are listed at the front of the report.

    This report, the first from the project, centers on case studies of the four sites. These case studies contain information from two of the project’s components: the implementation study, which explores welfare agency policies and practices, and the ethnographic study, which centers on in-depth interviews with welfare families living in poor neighborhoods at the sites. Although the data for this report were collected approximately 10 to 20 months after the passage of PRWORA and the story has continued to unfold since that time, many of the issues and dilemmas identified in the early round of research are ones with which the sites are still grappling. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Polit, Denise F.; London, Andrew S.; Martinez, John M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Despite the strength of the American economy in the past few years, food insecurity and hunger continue to affect millions of American families. Drawing on 1998-1999 survey and ethnographic data from the Urban Change study (a multicomponent study of the implementation and effects of welfare reform in four large cities), this paper describes the food security of mother-headed families who were living in highly disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and who had received or were currently receiving cash welfare benefits. The families of four groups of women were compared: those who, at the time of the interview, worked and were no longer receiving welfare; those who combined welfare and work; nonworking welfare recipients; and those who neither worked nor were then receiving welfare. The survey results indicated that food insecurity in the prior year was high in all groups. Overall, about half the families were food insecure, and hunger was found in slightly more than 15 percent of the families. Moreover, in nearly one-third of the families there were food hardships that affected the...

    Despite the strength of the American economy in the past few years, food insecurity and hunger continue to affect millions of American families. Drawing on 1998-1999 survey and ethnographic data from the Urban Change study (a multicomponent study of the implementation and effects of welfare reform in four large cities), this paper describes the food security of mother-headed families who were living in highly disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and who had received or were currently receiving cash welfare benefits. The families of four groups of women were compared: those who, at the time of the interview, worked and were no longer receiving welfare; those who combined welfare and work; nonworking welfare recipients; and those who neither worked nor were then receiving welfare. The survey results indicated that food insecurity in the prior year was high in all groups. Overall, about half the families were food insecure, and hunger was found in slightly more than 15 percent of the families. Moreover, in nearly one-third of the families there were food hardships that affected the children’s diets. Food insecurity was most prevalent among families where the mother had neither employment income nor welfare benefits. Food insecurity was lowest among the families where the mothers were working and no longer getting welfare, but even in this group 44.5 percent were food insecure, and nearly 15 percent had experienced hunger. Data from in-depth ethnographic interviews indicate that, in this population, women who are food secure nevertheless expend considerable energy piecing together strategies to ensure that there is an adequate amount of food available for themselves and their children. (Author abstract)

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