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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • 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: Brauner, Sarah; Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare...

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare leavers’ economic well-being. Because of the great number and variety of "leaver studies" being undertaken, we also point out issues to consider in comparing study results.

    Numerous studies of welfare leavers have been published, and more are being released all the time. We attempted to review all publicly available studies that examine employment outcomes. Only studies that clearly described their methodology and reported survey response rates of 50 percent or higher were included. While some studies that meet these criteria may have been missed, this brief presents results from a range of reports. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Isaacs, Julia B.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed...

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed findings emerging from surveys of former recipients. (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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