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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: 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)

  • Individual Author: Frye, Judith; Caspar, Emma
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    Wisconsin’s Learnfare program is intended to encourage enrollment, regular attendance, and high school graduation or the completion of high school equivalency programs among 13- to 19-year-old recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). These teenagers, who can be either dependent children or parents, risk losing part or all of their families’ monthly AFDC grants if they do not maintain enrollment and acceptable school attendance. In addition, the program offers participating families assistance in identifying and correcting the causes of attendance problems, and services such as day care for the teenagers’ children, transportation, and referral to alternative education programs. The program was administered by the Department of Health and Social Services until July 1996, when that responsibility was transferred to the new Department of Workforce Development.

    This evaluation report describes the effects of Learnfare on the school participation and school completion of teenagers and on their families’ public assistance...

    Wisconsin’s Learnfare program is intended to encourage enrollment, regular attendance, and high school graduation or the completion of high school equivalency programs among 13- to 19-year-old recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). These teenagers, who can be either dependent children or parents, risk losing part or all of their families’ monthly AFDC grants if they do not maintain enrollment and acceptable school attendance. In addition, the program offers participating families assistance in identifying and correcting the causes of attendance problems, and services such as day care for the teenagers’ children, transportation, and referral to alternative education programs. The program was administered by the Department of Health and Social Services until July 1996, when that responsibility was transferred to the new Department of Workforce Development.

    This evaluation report describes the effects of Learnfare on the school participation and school completion of teenagers and on their families’ public assistance payments. Because individuals entered the sample at different times, some were in the study for longer than others. All sample members were tracked for at least four semesters after introduction to Learnfare. Six semesters of data are reported for those who entered the sample earliest. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Institute for Research on Poverty
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    There has been very little agreement on the ultimate goals of out-of-home care. Tension has always existed between “child saving” and “family preservation,” and the emphasis has sometimes shifted dramatically between the two. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96–272) came down decisively in favor of preserving families or of ensuring that children moved quickly from out-of-home care to permanent adoptive families. Out-of-home care was viewed as the least desirable alternative—perhaps a consequence of the failure to achieve permanent placement. As the caseload has grown and the controversy over ends has continued, it has become particularly critical to determine what we really know about out-of-home care and its long-term effects on the children served. It is frequently claimed, for example, that most of the long-term effects of foster care are negative: that former foster-care children are disproportionately represented among the homeless, the unemployed, the welfare-dependent, and the delinquent. But there are gaping holes in our knowledge of the...

    There has been very little agreement on the ultimate goals of out-of-home care. Tension has always existed between “child saving” and “family preservation,” and the emphasis has sometimes shifted dramatically between the two. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96–272) came down decisively in favor of preserving families or of ensuring that children moved quickly from out-of-home care to permanent adoptive families. Out-of-home care was viewed as the least desirable alternative—perhaps a consequence of the failure to achieve permanent placement. As the caseload has grown and the controversy over ends has continued, it has become particularly critical to determine what we really know about out-of-home care and its long-term effects on the children served. It is frequently claimed, for example, that most of the long-term effects of foster care are negative: that former foster-care children are disproportionately represented among the homeless, the unemployed, the welfare-dependent, and the delinquent. But there are gaping holes in our knowledge of the circumstances and outcomes of children in foster care—in part, as is noted below, because of the absence of well-designed and commensurably oriented studies. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Poglinco, Susan; Brash, Julian ; Granger, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Regenstein, Marsha; Meyer, Jack A.; Hicks, Jennifer Dickemper
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level...

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level workers. The ESRI sample consists mostly of small employers with fewer than 50 workers. In order to gain insight into any potential differences in attitudes among establishments of different sizes, however, we oversampled those with 100 or more employees.

    We conducted an additional 200 interviews-100 each in Los Angeles and Milwaukee-to see how these two cities might differ from national responses. Both of these cities have large welfare populations. Milwaukee is considered a national leader in innovative welfare-to-work initiatives, while Los Angeles is a large urban area with a diverse population that includes many immigrants.

    Prior to undertaking the large national survey, we conducted a small exploratory telephone survey of 25 employers. Their responses, emerging from in-depth discussions, were very similar to the findings in the national sample. (author abstract)

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