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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: Farrell, Mary; Opcin, Selen; Fishman, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In...

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In addition, the strong economy from 1993 to 1998 increased the availability of low-skill jobs and undoubtedly lured many welfare recipients into the low-skill labor market.

    Several other factors may have contributed to changes in labor market participation of welfare recipients and are worth mentioning. First, the federal government expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working low-income families in the early- and mid-1990s, which most likely encouraged some welfare recipients to enter the labor force. Second, the minimum wage increased in 1997, which could have offset downward wage pressure from the entry of welfare recipients into the labor force. Third, some regions of the country experienced significant changes in population, which reduced or increased the number of low-skill workers in these areas. Finally, the recession of the early 1990s created a pool of unemployed low-skill workers who were available to take new jobs when the economy began to recover.

    Policy-makers have been concerned about whether enough jobs will be available to employ the additional welfare recipients entering the labor market as a result of welfare reform. If a surplus of jobs is not available in particular areas, welfare recipients’ entry into the labor force might reduce low-skill wages and displace some workers. Policy-makers are especially concerned about the impact of welfare reform on rural and small metropolitan labor markets, because these markets might be less able to absorb the inflow of welfare recipients than urban labor markets.

    The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) contracted with The Lewin Group to examine how well rural and small metropolitan labor markets can absorb welfare recipients, and to the extent feasible, estimate the impact of welfare reform on rural and small-metropolitan regions since 1993. This study uses an economic model to estimate the impact of welfare reform and improvements in the economy on the low-skill labor market, where most welfare recipients seek work. A major challenge facing researchers in this area is to distinguish between entry due to reforms (“welfare push”) and entry due to the strong economy (“demand pull”). This decomposition is necessary if we are to anticipate future conditions in the low-skill labor market, when the economy might not be so strong. We attempted such a decomposition in this report. (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: Taylor, Nicole; Siegfried, Christine B.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    The mental health needs of children and families in the child welfare system require consistent, ongoing attention of all of the systems that work with the child. The child welfare system, schools, and the network of community-based organizations serving the needs of maltreated children will be most effective by working both individually and jointly to respond to the unique mental health needs of children and youth with histories of abuse and trauma. This is a report on the results of a survey conducted among child-serving agencies in a number of states. Primary goal of the survey was to understand how various service systems and agencies communicate with each other about trauma in the children they serve. Also identifies the ways agencies may inadvertently be re-traumatizing some children, how they promote a child’s healing following a traumatic event, and gaps in communication among agencies and systems. Knowledge gained from the survey can inform the development of training and educational materials to breach the gaps and to improve collaboration. (Author summary)

    The mental health needs of children and families in the child welfare system require consistent, ongoing attention of all of the systems that work with the child. The child welfare system, schools, and the network of community-based organizations serving the needs of maltreated children will be most effective by working both individually and jointly to respond to the unique mental health needs of children and youth with histories of abuse and trauma. This is a report on the results of a survey conducted among child-serving agencies in a number of states. Primary goal of the survey was to understand how various service systems and agencies communicate with each other about trauma in the children they serve. Also identifies the ways agencies may inadvertently be re-traumatizing some children, how they promote a child’s healing following a traumatic event, and gaps in communication among agencies and systems. Knowledge gained from the survey can inform the development of training and educational materials to breach the gaps and to improve collaboration. (Author summary)

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