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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: Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John; Strong, Debra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency...

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency collaborations in effect. No single strategy or set of services predominates. Rather, local grant recipients have discretion in developing and implementing program models, within the parameters of the WtW regulations. Thus, the experiences of these programs illustrate a variety of strategies and approaches that are being implemented around the nation and highlight key issues that must be addressed to serve this population group. (author abstract)

  • 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: Mikelson, Kelly S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Since the passage of PRWORA, there have been numerous efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of TANF and related programs and subpopulations. Some of the many issues being studied and described in this annotated bibliography include:

    • - The well-being of former welfare recipients;
    • - Evaluating various Welfare-to-Work strategies;
    • - Employment retention and advancement initiatives;
    • - Rural welfare initiatives;
    • - Programs designed to serve noncustodial parents;
    • - Hard-to-serve welfare recipients and barriers to self-sufficiency;
    • - Changes in the welfare caseload; and
    • - Welfare time limits
    • - TANF reauthorization.

    (author abstract)

    Since the passage of PRWORA, there have been numerous efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of TANF and related programs and subpopulations. Some of the many issues being studied and described in this annotated bibliography include:

    • - The well-being of former welfare recipients;
    • - Evaluating various Welfare-to-Work strategies;
    • - Employment retention and advancement initiatives;
    • - Rural welfare initiatives;
    • - Programs designed to serve noncustodial parents;
    • - Hard-to-serve welfare recipients and barriers to self-sufficiency;
    • - Changes in the welfare caseload; and
    • - Welfare time limits
    • - TANF reauthorization.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Greenberger, Debbie; Anselmi, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    The passage, in 1996, of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act gave states latitude to make substantial changes in their welfare policies. The time limits and stricter work requirements that states imposed have received the greatest public attention, but the vast majority of states have also used their new freedom to change their “earnings disregard” policies, which allow welfare recipients to earn more even as they remain on the rolls. These changes have been designed to provide additional financial incentives to encourage work and to increase income for families in which the parent does work. Recent research has found strong support for the earnings supplements: The additional income not only encourages work; it also helps young children perform better in school.

    States have increased welfare recipients’ financial incentives to work in a variety of ways. Some allow welfare recipients to keep their entire welfare check while they remain on welfare, although most provide less generous incentives for shorter periods of time. Some states...

    The passage, in 1996, of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act gave states latitude to make substantial changes in their welfare policies. The time limits and stricter work requirements that states imposed have received the greatest public attention, but the vast majority of states have also used their new freedom to change their “earnings disregard” policies, which allow welfare recipients to earn more even as they remain on the rolls. These changes have been designed to provide additional financial incentives to encourage work and to increase income for families in which the parent does work. Recent research has found strong support for the earnings supplements: The additional income not only encourages work; it also helps young children perform better in school.

    States have increased welfare recipients’ financial incentives to work in a variety of ways. Some allow welfare recipients to keep their entire welfare check while they remain on welfare, although most provide less generous incentives for shorter periods of time. Some states have introduced financial incentives outside the welfare system, through such policies as Earned Income Tax Credits, to avoid having recipients approach time limits faster by combining work and welfare. Some have introduced bonuses for welfare recipients who remain employed for a specified period of time. This guide summarizes the research evidence that supports the use of financial incentives, and it offers advice on the form financial incentives might take and how generous they might be made.

    The information in this guide may be more important now than ever. When Congress reauthorizes the nation’s welfare policy in 2003, it is likely to require even more recipients to work and require them to work more hours per week. The use of the policies described in this guide can help states meet the new goals as well as reduce poverty and benefit children. Although most states are suffering severe budget shortfalls as this guide is published, Making Work Pay discusses ways to make earning supplements more efficient and less costly. As the economy rebounds in the coming months and years — and state budgets recover accordingly — the guide will remain a useful resource for those who are thinking about how to use new funds to help families. (author abstract)

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