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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: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1996

    A study was conducted to examine child support orders before and after the introduction of income-sharing guidelines in Wisconsin. Income-sharing guidelines consider the incomes of both the resident and the nonresident parent and assign the nonresident parent an amount of child support based on his or her relative income. Results reveal that the guidelines have significantly decreased the extent to which higher resident-parent income is related to lower child support orders. It is demonstrated that because of the relationship between resident-parent income and other factors, a multivariate analysis is critical to this assessment. (Author abstract)

    A study was conducted to examine child support orders before and after the introduction of income-sharing guidelines in Wisconsin. Income-sharing guidelines consider the incomes of both the resident and the nonresident parent and assign the nonresident parent an amount of child support based on his or her relative income. Results reveal that the guidelines have significantly decreased the extent to which higher resident-parent income is related to lower child support orders. It is demonstrated that because of the relationship between resident-parent income and other factors, a multivariate analysis is critical to this assessment. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria ; Meyer, Daniel
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1996

    Wisconsin is at the forefront of a national movement to require AFDC recipients to find employment. The move toward work-based welfare reform raises important questions about the job prospects, potential wages, and child care responsibilities of current recipients. To begin answering these questions, we analyzed administrative data concerning the characteristics of Wisconsin women who headed AFDC-Regular (primarily single parent) cases, which account for about 80 percent of all AFDC cases in Wisconsin.

    We first looked at changes in the state’s caseload from 1983 to 1993 to learn whether the remarkable decline in the number of AFDC recipients that took place over that period meant that those who were better prepared for work had already left the rolls. We found that, over the decade, the AFDC-Regular caseload increasingly contained recipients with low levels of education, larger families, and younger children. The percentage of those recipients who lacked a high school diploma rose from 35 to 42 percent of the total; the proportion of families with more than one child grew...

    Wisconsin is at the forefront of a national movement to require AFDC recipients to find employment. The move toward work-based welfare reform raises important questions about the job prospects, potential wages, and child care responsibilities of current recipients. To begin answering these questions, we analyzed administrative data concerning the characteristics of Wisconsin women who headed AFDC-Regular (primarily single parent) cases, which account for about 80 percent of all AFDC cases in Wisconsin.

    We first looked at changes in the state’s caseload from 1983 to 1993 to learn whether the remarkable decline in the number of AFDC recipients that took place over that period meant that those who were better prepared for work had already left the rolls. We found that, over the decade, the AFDC-Regular caseload increasingly contained recipients with low levels of education, larger families, and younger children. The percentage of those recipients who lacked a high school diploma rose from 35 to 42 percent of the total; the proportion of families with more than one child grew from 50 to 57 percent; and families with a preschool child increased from 62 to 72 percent. These figures indicate that the current caseload includes a greater proportion of individuals who face barriers to full-time work. To learn more about the nature of those barriers, we turned to a close examination of those who were recipients in December 1993, the latest date for which information was available at the time of our study. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Wiseman, Michael
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1996

    The experience of Wisconsin is commonly cited as evidence of the capability of states for reforming welfare. Wisconsin’s welfare caseload declined by 22.5 percent between December 1986 and December 1994. This paper argues that the decline was most likely the product of restriction of eligibility and benefits, a strong state economy, and large expenditures on welfare-to-work programs encouraged by an exceptional fiscal bargain with the federal government. Opportunities for continued reduction of welfare utilization by means other than denying access are jeopardized by proposed changes in federal cost-sharing, a prospective state deficit, and the growing share of the caseload accounted for by residents of Milwaukee. Wisconsin Works, the state’s plan for public assistance in a post-block-grant world, continues benefit reduction and eligibility restriction but expands emphasis on employment. The special circumstances enjoyed by Wisconsin are unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere. Other states and the federal government should not assume that expanded state discretion will produce...

    The experience of Wisconsin is commonly cited as evidence of the capability of states for reforming welfare. Wisconsin’s welfare caseload declined by 22.5 percent between December 1986 and December 1994. This paper argues that the decline was most likely the product of restriction of eligibility and benefits, a strong state economy, and large expenditures on welfare-to-work programs encouraged by an exceptional fiscal bargain with the federal government. Opportunities for continued reduction of welfare utilization by means other than denying access are jeopardized by proposed changes in federal cost-sharing, a prospective state deficit, and the growing share of the caseload accounted for by residents of Milwaukee. Wisconsin Works, the state’s plan for public assistance in a post-block-grant world, continues benefit reduction and eligibility restriction but expands emphasis on employment. The special circumstances enjoyed by Wisconsin are unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere. Other states and the federal government should not assume that expanded state discretion will produce comparable gains unless accompanied by major outlays for employment and training programs, reduction in benefits, and tightening of eligibility requirements. The first policy is expensive to taxpayers; the second and third approaches harm recipients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Meyer, Daniel R.; Bartfeld, Judi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1996

    A study was conducted to examine compliance with child support orders by divorced fathers in Wisconsin between 1981 and 1989. The results revealed that compliance increased as the father's income rose and that the burden of orders did not influence compliance unless the order was for over 35 percent of the father's income. There was no evidence that the strength of family ties was related to the compliance rate, and there was only limited evidence that economic need among the mothers and children resulted in greater compliance. Although those fathers who were not paying child support were not a high-income group, they were generally not so poor that they could not afford to pay at least some support. (Author abstract)

     

    A study was conducted to examine compliance with child support orders by divorced fathers in Wisconsin between 1981 and 1989. The results revealed that compliance increased as the father's income rose and that the burden of orders did not influence compliance unless the order was for over 35 percent of the father's income. There was no evidence that the strength of family ties was related to the compliance rate, and there was only limited evidence that economic need among the mothers and children resulted in greater compliance. Although those fathers who were not paying child support were not a high-income group, they were generally not so poor that they could not afford to pay at least some support. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Brock, Thomas ; Doolittle, Fred ; Fellerath, Veronica ; Wiseman, Michael ; Greenberg, David; Hollister, Robinson Jr.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    At this time of national debate about the best way to promote and reward work among low-income people, Milwaukee's New Hope Demonstration provides an unusual learning opportunity. With its goals of increasing employment, reducing poverty, and reducing receipt of welfare, New Hope is an ambitious undertaking. It seeks to achieve these goals through a simple offer: Participants who work full time (defined as an average of 30 hours per week) are assured of earnings above poverty, access to subsidized child care and health insurance (if needed), and a paid community service job if they are unable to find unsubsidized employment. This mix of work-conditioned incentives and services makes New Hope unique among the tests of reforms under way today. The Board and staff of New Hope are unusual, too, in having committed themselves from the very beginning to a rigorous research agenda, believing that for their project to influence national policy, it would have to be studied seriously.

    The program is operated by a community-based organization, the New Hope Project, outside the...

    At this time of national debate about the best way to promote and reward work among low-income people, Milwaukee's New Hope Demonstration provides an unusual learning opportunity. With its goals of increasing employment, reducing poverty, and reducing receipt of welfare, New Hope is an ambitious undertaking. It seeks to achieve these goals through a simple offer: Participants who work full time (defined as an average of 30 hours per week) are assured of earnings above poverty, access to subsidized child care and health insurance (if needed), and a paid community service job if they are unable to find unsubsidized employment. This mix of work-conditioned incentives and services makes New Hope unique among the tests of reforms under way today. The Board and staff of New Hope are unusual, too, in having committed themselves from the very beginning to a rigorous research agenda, believing that for their project to influence national policy, it would have to be studied seriously.

    The program is operated by a community-based organization, the New Hope Project, outside the traditional public assistance system. During the demonstration, the program is operating in two low-income areas of Milwaukee. Eligibility is based solely on income and a willingness to work full time, without any requirement that there be a single parent or even any children present in the household, as has been common in many welfare programs. At entry into the program, approximately 70 percent of New Hope participants lived in households with children, and 63 percent were receiving some type of public assistance.

    This report, the first major product of the evaluation, presents findings on New Hope's context, design, and implementation. A future report will present findings on the program's impacts on key outcomes and costs. Funding for the evaluation has been provided by the Helen Bader Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the State of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development.

    Several messages emerge from the findings of this report. First, through an analysis of the context in which New Hope operates, the report presents a picture of the conditions in two central-city, low-income areas within a very strong metropolitan economy. This illustrates both the benefits of the strong overall employment picture and the limits on residents' abilities to participate in the economic growth.

    Second, the New Hope Project successfully put in place the benefits and services called for in the program design, in the process learning many lessons about how to administer monthly earnings supplements, subsidies for health insurance and child care, and paid community service jobs. The program thus provides an opportunity to learn how to link more closely work and supplemental financial support than is possible under existing earned income tax credits, which largely operate on an annual basis. Among the insights emerging from the New Hope experience is the central role program staff can play in helping participants understand the various financial incentives, make informed choices, and pursue employment.

    In New Hope, unlike many other programs, participants must work to receive program benefits, so this report's findings on use of the benefits are also of special importance. New Hope was not designed with any fixed sequence of program participation. Instead, it provides a collection of benefits that participants can access as they wish. Approximately three-quarters of those accepted into the New Hope program worked full time at some point in the following 12 months and received a program benefit, but — not surprisingly — patterns of benefit use were complex and varied.

    Final results on the effectiveness of New Hope in meeting its goals must await later reports on program impacts. Nevertheless, this report illustrates how the New Hope Project succeeded in putting in place services that have the potential to provide low-income workers with a bridge from below-poverty incomes to greater economic security. (author abstract)

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