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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: Elliot, Mark; Palubinsky, Beth; Tierny, Joseph
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Five programs in the Bridges to Work demonstration have functioned as a labor market exchange--with the main services being job matching and transportation coordination--for job-ready inner-city workers and suburban employment. The logistics of transportation have been simple; the basics of employment have been an ongoing challenge. Sites have struggled with recruitment because of strong economic growth, insufficient credibility, and local employment organizations reluctant to work with Bridges. Revised recruitment includes expansion of original neighborhoods and more creative and flexible approaches to outreach. Since most participants were not job-ready, sites have added job readiness training and support for recent placements to boost retention. Four principles to guide planning and implementation of transportation services are the following: flexible, extensive routes and schedules; punctual, reliable service; quick response to unplanned events and emergencies; and no transportation for other purposes. The Bridges program should include the transportation provider early in...

    Five programs in the Bridges to Work demonstration have functioned as a labor market exchange--with the main services being job matching and transportation coordination--for job-ready inner-city workers and suburban employment. The logistics of transportation have been simple; the basics of employment have been an ongoing challenge. Sites have struggled with recruitment because of strong economic growth, insufficient credibility, and local employment organizations reluctant to work with Bridges. Revised recruitment includes expansion of original neighborhoods and more creative and flexible approaches to outreach. Since most participants were not job-ready, sites have added job readiness training and support for recent placements to boost retention. Four principles to guide planning and implementation of transportation services are the following: flexible, extensive routes and schedules; punctual, reliable service; quick response to unplanned events and emergencies; and no transportation for other purposes. The Bridges program should include the transportation provider early in the program planning process, select one with the capacity and vehicles that best fit the program, select firms whose main business is transportation, and avoid changing providers. Bridges' experience shows transportation alone will not connect applicants and jobs. Intensive recruitment, job preparation, and retention services make more effective programs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kirby, Gretchen; Ross, Christine; Puffer, Loren
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 changed cash welfare from a system of income maintenance as an entitlement to low-income families to one in which assistance to families is both limited and temporary, and in which work and economic self-sufficiency are emphasized. The emerging emphasis on work has led many states to significantly narrow the exemptions from welfare-related work requirements. Under prior Federal law, states could opt to adjust the young-child work exemption from its Federally-mandated level, which exempted parents with a child under three years old, to exempt only parents with a child under one year old. In 1998, 22 states used the new flexibility granted under PRWORA to require parents to work if their youngest child was less than one year old. This report examines the state and local policies and practices that encourage and support the activities of welfare-reliant parents of infants who are required to engage in work and school activities.

    Juggling work and family responsibilities is a formidable...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 changed cash welfare from a system of income maintenance as an entitlement to low-income families to one in which assistance to families is both limited and temporary, and in which work and economic self-sufficiency are emphasized. The emerging emphasis on work has led many states to significantly narrow the exemptions from welfare-related work requirements. Under prior Federal law, states could opt to adjust the young-child work exemption from its Federally-mandated level, which exempted parents with a child under three years old, to exempt only parents with a child under one year old. In 1998, 22 states used the new flexibility granted under PRWORA to require parents to work if their youngest child was less than one year old. This report examines the state and local policies and practices that encourage and support the activities of welfare-reliant parents of infants who are required to engage in work and school activities.

    Juggling work and family responsibilities is a formidable challenge for two-parent families with young children, but it is even harder for single parents, who make up the majority of the welfare caseload. Even more challenging for single parents who work is the task of caring for an infant because infant care is generally less available, more expensive, and harder to assess in terms of quality. As states seek ways to support families with infants in their transition from welfare to work, many questions emerge for researchers and policymakers alike. How successful is the welfare-to-work transition for parents of infants? What special challenges do these parents face in balancing their parenting activities with required work or school activities? What supportive services are critical to continued participation in work and school activities, and ultimately, to a successful transition from welfare to work? Is continuous, reliable, affordable, and good-quality infant care available to these parents? Have states taken the opportunity to link these families with child care that can promote the health and development of infants?

    In an effort to answer these questions and, ultimately, to address the issue of providing infant care for single, working, low-income parents, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) to conduct the Study of Infant Care Under Welfare Reform. The study was designed to provide information about the strategies states and communities are using to help parents of infants make the transition to school or work while promoting the health and development of their infants, and about the policy and program challenges states and communities are facing in this effort. The information is intended both to inform policymakers about the experience of several communities and to build a foundation for future research on the effectiveness of particular programs, policies, and strategies in supporting the transition to work or school while promoting infant health and development.

    The study has three phases:

    A general information-gathering phase, focusing on the work-, school-, and child care-related policies and programs in 22 states that required parents of infants to work in 1998, when the study was launched.

    An in-depth study phase, focusing on welfare and child care program policy and practice in eight communities, and on the experiences of welfare-reliant parents of infants in these sites.

    A research design phase, focusing on the evaluation of programs, policies, and strategies designed to support parents’ transitions to work and their infants’ health and development.

    This report presents the findings from the first two phases of the study, with an emphasis on the second phase. We end with a summary of research directions, which will be expanded upon in a forthcoming report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Snyder, Kathleen ; Bernstein, Sara ; Koralek, Robin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study. It is based on focus groups conducted in four locations in 2003 with current TANF participants and parents who had left TANF within the past year and were receiving child care subsidies. The report examines how these parents accessed and retained child care subsidies as they moved through and off welfare. However, it is important to note that this study did not examine the experiences of families that were not using subsidies. As a consequence, this study provides important information to help us better understand how these systems and polices work for families in the system, but it does not represent the perspectives...

    Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study. It is based on focus groups conducted in four locations in 2003 with current TANF participants and parents who had left TANF within the past year and were receiving child care subsidies. The report examines how these parents accessed and retained child care subsidies as they moved through and off welfare. However, it is important to note that this study did not examine the experiences of families that were not using subsidies. As a consequence, this study provides important information to help us better understand how these systems and polices work for families in the system, but it does not represent the perspectives of families that were unsuccessful in navigating these systems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Adams, Gina; Snyder, Kathleen; Koralek, Robin; Martinson, Karin; Bernstein, Sara; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.

    The first phase, conducted in 2001, examined these issues from the perspective of welfare-to-work and child care administrators and staff in 11 local sites, and documented how these systems were set up and connected, the factors that aided or impeded coordination between the systems, and the processes TANF clients needed to complete as they moved through the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems while on welfare. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Pamela Holcomb, Kathleen Snyder, Robin Koralek, and Jeffrey Capizzano, Child Care Subsidies for TANF Families: The Nexus of Systems and Policies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)...

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.

    The first phase, conducted in 2001, examined these issues from the perspective of welfare-to-work and child care administrators and staff in 11 local sites, and documented how these systems were set up and connected, the factors that aided or impeded coordination between the systems, and the processes TANF clients needed to complete as they moved through the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems while on welfare. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Pamela Holcomb, Kathleen Snyder, Robin Koralek, and Jeffrey Capizzano, Child Care Subsidies for TANF Families: The Nexus of Systems and Policies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    The second phase of the study examined a range of issues around subsidy use among parents who leave TANF. It included data from these 11 sites, as well as an examination of research on welfare leavers and subsidy patterns, a review of state policies regarding child care subsidies for welfare leavers for a range of states, and interviews with national experts to discuss the retention of child care subsidies as parents transition off cash assistance. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Robin Koralek, and Karin Martinson, Child Care Subsidies and Leaving Welfare: Policy Issues and Strategies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    The third phase used focus groups in four of the 11 sites to explore the connections between the welfare-to-work and child care systems from the perspective of parents. These focus groups were made up of parents currently receiving TANF and child care subsidies, as well as parents who had left TANF within the previous year and were still receiving child care subsidies. (The findings from this phase are reported in Kathleen Snyder, Sara Bernstein, and Robin Koralek, Parents' Perspectives on Child Care Subsidies and Moving from Welfare to Work [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    This document highlights overarching issues and themes that emerged from all three phases of this study, including those facing administrators and agencies working to provide these services to parents, and the implications of these issues for TANF clients and their children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Adams, Gina; Holcomb, Pamela. A.; Snyder, Kathleen; Koralek, Robin; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Over recent decades, policymakers have recognized that helping parents on welfare pay for child care is essential to help them move from welfare to work. As such, child care has consistently been an integral part of federal and state welfare reform efforts. It was a major focus of the 1996 welfare reform legislation, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), and of the cash assistance and welfare-to-work program it established—the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.

    Although the connection between child care as a work support and the TANF program's mandate to help welfare recipients obtain employment is conceptually simple, the actual processes and policies used by states and localities to ensure child care assistance is made available to TANF families moving from welfare to work is far more complicated. The complexity arises in part because the child care subsidy and TANF welfare-to-work programs represent two devolved systems that differ in their goals, target populations, administrative structures, and policy...

    Over recent decades, policymakers have recognized that helping parents on welfare pay for child care is essential to help them move from welfare to work. As such, child care has consistently been an integral part of federal and state welfare reform efforts. It was a major focus of the 1996 welfare reform legislation, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), and of the cash assistance and welfare-to-work program it established—the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.

    Although the connection between child care as a work support and the TANF program's mandate to help welfare recipients obtain employment is conceptually simple, the actual processes and policies used by states and localities to ensure child care assistance is made available to TANF families moving from welfare to work is far more complicated. The complexity arises in part because the child care subsidy and TANF welfare-to-work programs represent two devolved systems that differ in their goals, target populations, administrative structures, and policy frameworks.

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play for welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the existing information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families. This is the first report of a three-part study that explores different aspects of the intersection of the child care and welfare systems. This report focuses on the systems and policies that affect families' child care subsidies while they are receiving cash assistance through TANF and participating in work activities. Through discussions with child care and TANF workers and administrators in 11 sites in winter 2001/2002, this study examined the following four questions:

    • What administrative structures have states and localities designed to connect TANF and child care subsidy functions?
    • What has to happen—at both the administrative and client levels—for TANF parents to obtain and keep child care assistance—that is, as they move through applying for TANF cash assistance, participating in required work activities, and finding employment?
    • What coordination issues have states and localities faced in bringing these two systems together, and what strategies have they developed?
    • What are the implications of the answers to these questions for parents as well as for policymakers and administrators interested in improving welfare-to-work and child care services? (author abstract)

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