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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: Burt, Martha R.; Pindus, Nancy M.; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive...

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive case studies during 1996 and 1997 as part of the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project. Thereafter we look at where programs of interest are located in the state organizational structure, and the degree to which state control or local autonomy prevails in administering programs at the local level.

    Once the state context is understood, the paper shifts to the local level and the client perspective. It looks at access to services for welfare and nonwelfare families and asks whether differences in state organizational arrangements make a difference for clients' ability to access an array of services through local programs. It establishes a baseline in 1996-1997, describing the linkages as they existed in the 13 ANF intensive case study states. Against the background of this baseline, data being collected for the 1999-2000 wave of case studies will let us see how much PRWORA has changed the landscape of safety net programs.

    This paper focuses on specific elements of the social safety net, including income support programs such as AFDC, TANF, general assistance (GA),2 and food stamps; Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) and other non-welfare-specific employment and training programs; the child support system; child care assistance; child welfare services; and Medicaid and other publicly supported health insurance for low-income families. These programs were selected for several reasons, including their historic linkages and their anticipated linkages under TANF. Historically, families receiving AFDC have been categorically eligible for Medicaid, and many states developed combined application procedures for AFDC, Medicaid, and food stamps. JOBS is specifically a work-readiness program for AFDC recipients, and states have been obliged to provide child care for any AFDC recipients required to participate in JOBS. Medicaid and child care have also been important transitional benefits to which many families leaving welfare were entitled for specified periods of time. PRWORA changed the relationships among these programs, in some instances delinking them and in others increasing the support requirements for current and former TANF recipients. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory; Gallagher, Megan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    States with the greatest gaps between rich and poor generally have a larger proportion of their children living in poverty. Of the 13 states studied, California, Mississippi, New York, and Texas have the most inequality in family income available to children. The authors combine six common measures of inequality into a composite inequality index. They conclude that states with the most poor children may have resources available in their state to increase the material well being of poor children. (author abstract)

    States with the greatest gaps between rich and poor generally have a larger proportion of their children living in poverty. Of the 13 states studied, California, Mississippi, New York, and Texas have the most inequality in family income available to children. The authors combine six common measures of inequality into a composite inequality index. They conclude that states with the most poor children may have resources available in their state to increase the material well being of poor children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria ; Klawitter, Marieka M.; Meyer, Daniel R.; Rangarajan, Anu; Wallace, Geoffrey; Wood, Robert G.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    From its peak in 1994 through 2001, the U.S. welfare caseload declined by nearly 60 percent. The decline became even more precipitous as state welfare reforms picked up speed after Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996. In light of these dramatic reductions, many states sponsored studies to track what was happening to current and former recipients of welfare. These studies offer a unique opportunity to use interstate differences in how such families were faring as a key to understanding the effectiveness of different policies. But cross-state comparisons have been problematic, for the studies were generally constructed to be of use for a specific state, and so often use different sampling strategies and different definitions of key outcomes. Thus an important issue that we hoped to address is the extent to which cross-state comparisons are limited by substantive differences in programs as opposed to differences in data or the measures used by researchers.

    The research reported in this article constitutes an early effort...

    From its peak in 1994 through 2001, the U.S. welfare caseload declined by nearly 60 percent. The decline became even more precipitous as state welfare reforms picked up speed after Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996. In light of these dramatic reductions, many states sponsored studies to track what was happening to current and former recipients of welfare. These studies offer a unique opportunity to use interstate differences in how such families were faring as a key to understanding the effectiveness of different policies. But cross-state comparisons have been problematic, for the studies were generally constructed to be of use for a specific state, and so often use different sampling strategies and different definitions of key outcomes. Thus an important issue that we hoped to address is the extent to which cross-state comparisons are limited by substantive differences in programs as opposed to differences in data or the measures used by researchers.

    The research reported in this article constitutes an early effort to see whether preexisting data from several state studies can be made enough alike to permit valid comparisons among state programs. It also reveals some of the difficulties confronting those who undertake the effort. Our aim was to develop a common set of analyses of the patterns of public benefits and earnings in three states, New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin, using administrative and survey data on those who have left welfare and those who have stayed. These three states were chosen in part because in each state a survey of families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) has been or is being conducted by independent researchers, and because each has taken somewhat different approaches to TANF. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory ; Nelson, Sandi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Using data from the 1997 and 1999 National Surveys of America's Families, the authors examine the consequences of state welfare policies and practices on the living arrangements of low-income families with children. Results from a multivariate difference-in-difference-in-differences model suggest that more effective collection of child support and family cap policies are correlated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other policies such as sanctions and special restrictions that apply to two-parent families have no clear, consistent association with living arrangements. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. (author abstract)

    Using data from the 1997 and 1999 National Surveys of America's Families, the authors examine the consequences of state welfare policies and practices on the living arrangements of low-income families with children. Results from a multivariate difference-in-difference-in-differences model suggest that more effective collection of child support and family cap policies are correlated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other policies such as sanctions and special restrictions that apply to two-parent families have no clear, consistent association with living arrangements. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Loprest, Pamela; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Martinson, Karin; Zedlewski, Sheila R.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This study examines states' approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states' thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.(author abstract)

    This study examines states' approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states' thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.(author abstract)

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