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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: Bartfeld, Judi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    This article provides national estimates of the current and potential impact of private child support transfers on the economic well-being of custodial and noncustodial families following marital dissolution. Mothers and children fare dramatically worse than fathers after marital dissolution; these differences, however, would be much more pronounced in the absence of private child support. Simulations of four existing child support guidelines show that substantial increases in economic well-being among mother-custody families are possible within the structure of the existing child support system, with minimal impact on poverty among nonresident fathers. Under all of these guidelines, however, custodial-mother families would continue to fare substantially worse than nonresident fathers. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a discussion paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

    This article provides national estimates of the current and potential impact of private child support transfers on the economic well-being of custodial and noncustodial families following marital dissolution. Mothers and children fare dramatically worse than fathers after marital dissolution; these differences, however, would be much more pronounced in the absence of private child support. Simulations of four existing child support guidelines show that substantial increases in economic well-being among mother-custody families are possible within the structure of the existing child support system, with minimal impact on poverty among nonresident fathers. Under all of these guidelines, however, custodial-mother families would continue to fare substantially worse than nonresident fathers. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a discussion paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

  • 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: Cancian, Maria ; Haveman, Robert; Kaplan, Thomas; Meyer, Daniel ; Rothe, Ingrid; Wolfe, Barbara; Barone, Sandra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Welfare caseloads have fallen sharply since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), raising questions about the post-welfare experiences of welfare leavers, including whether leavers are participating in Food Stamps and Medicaid when they are eligible for these supports. This paper describes patterns of participation in these two programs for two groups of women who left welfare in Wisconsin, those who left cash welfare in late 1995 (under early welfare reform) and those who left welfare two years later, in the early stages of implementation of Wisconsin Works (W-2), the state’s TANF program. 

    We use administrative data to examine the receipt of Food Stamps and Medicaid among those who are income-eligible at some point in the first year after exit. These take-up rates vary from 60 percent of the 1995 leavers receiving Food Stamps to 92 percent of the 1997 leavers having someone in their families receiving Medicaid. We also conduct multivariate analyses of take-up. Selected findings include: (1) the take-up of...

    Welfare caseloads have fallen sharply since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), raising questions about the post-welfare experiences of welfare leavers, including whether leavers are participating in Food Stamps and Medicaid when they are eligible for these supports. This paper describes patterns of participation in these two programs for two groups of women who left welfare in Wisconsin, those who left cash welfare in late 1995 (under early welfare reform) and those who left welfare two years later, in the early stages of implementation of Wisconsin Works (W-2), the state’s TANF program. 

    We use administrative data to examine the receipt of Food Stamps and Medicaid among those who are income-eligible at some point in the first year after exit. These take-up rates vary from 60 percent of the 1995 leavers receiving Food Stamps to 92 percent of the 1997 leavers having someone in their families receiving Medicaid. We also conduct multivariate analyses of take-up. Selected findings include: (1) the take-up of both Medicaid and Food Stamps increased between 1995 and 1997; (2) working while still receiving cash benefits is positively associated with take-up of noncash benefits after the cash grant ends; (3) the take-up of benefits declines substantially over time even among those who remain eligible for them. We examine a longer timeframe for the 1995 leavers and find that the take-up of these benefits declines steadily over the three years. (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: Gibson, Cynthia M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development...

    The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development programs and policies. Site results indicate that individuals placed in jobs had experienced significant hourly wage and earnings increases; more than twice as many had medical benefits; and more than half had been employed 12 months. Requirements for meeting workplace demands are employer engagement; employee retention and advancement; collaboration; and building organizational capacity. (author abstract)

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