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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: Wisconsin Council on Children and Families
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2000

    Long before welfare was considered something that needed reformation, before public assistance became a privilege rather than a right, and before it was assumed that almost anybody could get a job if you simply threatened to cut off their assistance, there were people who lacked job skills and there were programs designed to help them get those skills. Some people completed the programs, got jobs, and stayed off welfare. Others, many of whom had major employment barriers that kept them out of the workforce, including learning disabilities, mental health issues, drug or alcohol problems, no transportation, inadequate childcare, and children with special needs, did not. Still others were able to subsist on AFDC while they completed college or vocational programs. Because of parenting responsibilities and other obstacles, getting a degree or certificate sometimes took quite a while. Things have changed dramatically in the last few years. Welfare has become workfare, and is no longer an entitlement. Participants now face lifetime limits on how long they can receive assistance....

    Long before welfare was considered something that needed reformation, before public assistance became a privilege rather than a right, and before it was assumed that almost anybody could get a job if you simply threatened to cut off their assistance, there were people who lacked job skills and there were programs designed to help them get those skills. Some people completed the programs, got jobs, and stayed off welfare. Others, many of whom had major employment barriers that kept them out of the workforce, including learning disabilities, mental health issues, drug or alcohol problems, no transportation, inadequate childcare, and children with special needs, did not. Still others were able to subsist on AFDC while they completed college or vocational programs. Because of parenting responsibilities and other obstacles, getting a degree or certificate sometimes took quite a while. Things have changed dramatically in the last few years. Welfare has become workfare, and is no longer an entitlement. Participants now face lifetime limits on how long they can receive assistance. Education and training now take a distant back seat to “work first” approaches that emphasize job search and soft skills at the expense of substantial training opportunities that can lead to a family-sustaining career. The result has been a precipitous decline in welfare caseloads nationwide, with Wisconsin’s W-2 program leading the way. But while people are leaving welfare in unprecedented numbers, families continue to struggle; their incomes remain low and their prospects for true self-sufficiency remain remote. With the loss of entitlements have come highly discretionary programs in which eligible applicants may be denied help. The strong economy has enabled many former welfare recipients to get jobs, but without adequate skills and access to education and training, most of them have merely gone from being just plain poor to being “working and poor.” Current policy in Wisconsin makes the pursuit of a college or vocational degree impractical for the vast majority of W-2 participants and other low-income parents. This paper focuses on the importance of restoring their access to postsecondary education. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Yoshikawa, Hirokazu; Magnuson, Katherine A.; Bos, Johannes M.; Hsueh, JoAnn
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    Data from the Minnesota Family Investment Program and the New Hope demonstration were used to determine whether experimental effects of antipoverty policies differ by parents' risk for nonemployment. Using propensity score analysis, increases in employment and income were largest in the harder-to-employ halves of both samples. However, only children in the moderately hard-to-employ quartiles (50th to 75th percentile) consistently showed improvements in school and behavior outcomes. The very-hardest-to-employ 25% experienced decreases in school engagement, and increases in aggressive behaviors, despite substantial increases in parental employment and income. In this group, increases in maternal depression, reductions in regular family routines, and smaller increases in job stability and center-based child care occurred. These factors may have counteracted the potential benefits of increased income on children. (author abstract)

    Data from the Minnesota Family Investment Program and the New Hope demonstration were used to determine whether experimental effects of antipoverty policies differ by parents' risk for nonemployment. Using propensity score analysis, increases in employment and income were largest in the harder-to-employ halves of both samples. However, only children in the moderately hard-to-employ quartiles (50th to 75th percentile) consistently showed improvements in school and behavior outcomes. The very-hardest-to-employ 25% experienced decreases in school engagement, and increases in aggressive behaviors, despite substantial increases in parental employment and income. In this group, increases in maternal depression, reductions in regular family routines, and smaller increases in job stability and center-based child care occurred. These factors may have counteracted the potential benefits of increased income on children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fraker, Thomas M.; Levy, Dan M.; Perez-Johnson, Irma; Hershey, Alan M.; Nightingale, Demetra S.; Olsen, Robert B.; Stapulonis, Rita A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This final report presents descriptive findings from Mathematica's study of enrollees during the two years after they entered a welfare-to-work program. Most were TANF recipients with significant barriers to employment; although most were employed at some time during the study, many faced employment problems at the end of that period, and the jobs they held often left them in poverty. Whether a more comprehensive approach would produce better results is unclear, but the report presents design and implementation factors for programs to consider. (Author abstract)

    This final report presents descriptive findings from Mathematica's study of enrollees during the two years after they entered a welfare-to-work program. Most were TANF recipients with significant barriers to employment; although most were employed at some time during the study, many faced employment problems at the end of that period, and the jobs they held often left them in poverty. Whether a more comprehensive approach would produce better results is unclear, but the report presents design and implementation factors for programs to consider. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Rast, Joel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This study examines how well public transit in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Washington counties provides low-income residents of the 4-county region with access to job opportunities. Researchers have long observed a “spatial mismatch” between job growth centers and low-income residential communities in metropolitan areas around the country. Studies show that for decades, the suburban share of metropolitan jobs has been steadily increasing, while lowincome
    populations typically remain concentrated in central city neighborhoods far removed from regional job growth centers. Because low-income persons frequently do not have access to an automobile, effective public transportation is often crucial in bridging the gap between the inner-city locations of low-income populations and the increasingly suburban locations of job opportunities.(author introduction)

    This study examines how well public transit in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Washington counties provides low-income residents of the 4-county region with access to job opportunities. Researchers have long observed a “spatial mismatch” between job growth centers and low-income residential communities in metropolitan areas around the country. Studies show that for decades, the suburban share of metropolitan jobs has been steadily increasing, while lowincome
    populations typically remain concentrated in central city neighborhoods far removed from regional job growth centers. Because low-income persons frequently do not have access to an automobile, effective public transportation is often crucial in bridging the gap between the inner-city locations of low-income populations and the increasingly suburban locations of job opportunities.(author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Loprest, Pamela; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Martinson, Karin; Zedlewski, Sheila R.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This study examines states' approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states' thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.(author abstract)

    This study examines states' approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states' thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.(author abstract)

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