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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: Fraker, Thomas M.; Nixon, Lucia A.; Losby, Jan L.; Prindle, Carol S.; Else, John F.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    Acting under federal waivers authorized by Section 1115 of the Social Security Act and Section 17(b) of the Food Stamp Act, Iowa implemented a comprehensive package of welfare reforms on October 1, 1993. These reforms replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children with the Family Investment Program (FIP) and made complementary changes in the Food Stamp Program. The reforms encourage and require welfare recipients to take steps toward self-sufficiency. These steps, which are specified in the Family Investment Agreement (FIA), may include participating in education programs, engaging in job search and job readiness activities, and obtaining employment. The reforms stop short of requiring FIP participants to achieve self-sufficiency; however, it is expected that by following the required steps most of them will eventually leave cash assistance.
    
    The Limited Benefit Plan (LBP) is an alternative assistance program for FIP participants. Adult members of FIP cases who are able-bodied and are not caring for infants are required to develop and carry out...

    Acting under federal waivers authorized by Section 1115 of the Social Security Act and Section 17(b) of the Food Stamp Act, Iowa implemented a comprehensive package of welfare reforms on October 1, 1993. These reforms replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children with the Family Investment Program (FIP) and made complementary changes in the Food Stamp Program. The reforms encourage and require welfare recipients to take steps toward self-sufficiency. These steps, which are specified in the Family Investment Agreement (FIA), may include participating in education programs, engaging in job search and job readiness activities, and obtaining employment. The reforms stop short of requiring FIP participants to achieve self-sufficiency; however, it is expected that by following the required steps most of them will eventually leave cash assistance.
    
    The Limited Benefit Plan (LBP) is an alternative assistance program for FIP participants. Adult members of FIP cases who are able-bodied and are not caring for infants are required to develop and carry out FIAs under the auspices of the PROMISE JOBS program, which provides employment and training services to welfare recipients in Iowa. If those individuals do not comply with this requirement, they and their associated FIP cases are assigned to the LBP. These assignments are most often perceived as sanctions for failing to develop and carry out an FIA, but some reflect the wishes of the individuals. LBP assignments may be canceled if the individuals come into compliance with the FIA requirement or, less frequently, on appeal. The original LBP provided three months of cash benefits at the same level as under FIP, followed by three months of reduced cash benefits, and then six months of no cash benefits. The initial period of level benefits was eliminated in February 1996, resulting in a modified LBP that provides three months of reduced benefits, followed by six months of no cash benefits. LBP cases may reapply to FIP at the end of the period of no cash bene fits, but those who do so are again subject to the FIA requirement.
    
    This report presents findings from a study of the original LBP conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and the Institute for Social and Economic Development for the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). The data analyzed in this study are from DHS records on over 4,200 cases assigned to the LBP during six months in 1994 and 1995, a survey of 137 cases whose cash benefits had been terminated under the rules of the LBP, and case studies of 12 LBP families. The findings provide a comprehensive picture of LBP cases--who they are, why they are on the LBP, how the loss of cash benefits affects their financial status and family functioning in the short run, and what they are doing to cope. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: McIntire, James L.; Robins, Amy F.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This study was undertaken in an effort to assess the impacts of recent policy, organizational, and technology changes on the delivery of employment services to welfare recipients. The study examines five of the most developed and promising One-Stop Job Centers around the country to find out what makes them work well, and to understand their potential for moving people from welfare to self-sufficiency. This study does not provide a formal evaluation of these model programs, but identifies those approaches and practices that seem to be working well in different locations. (author abstract)

    This study was undertaken in an effort to assess the impacts of recent policy, organizational, and technology changes on the delivery of employment services to welfare recipients. The study examines five of the most developed and promising One-Stop Job Centers around the country to find out what makes them work well, and to understand their potential for moving people from welfare to self-sufficiency. This study does not provide a formal evaluation of these model programs, but identifies those approaches and practices that seem to be working well in different locations. (author abstract)

  • 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: Needles Fletcher, Cynthia; Flora, Jan L.; Gaddis, Barbara J.; Winter, Mary; Litt, Jacquelyn S.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2000

    This paper examines rural-urban differences in the implementation of welfare reform policies using Iowa as a case study. Information was gathered at the state, community, and family levels to study community-level implications of the policy mandate to move families off the welfare rolls and into the workforce. State and community interviews with key informants were conducted using The Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism state and community case study protocols. Seven communities/counties, including one metropolitan city, were selected to form a rural-urban continuum. Within those communities, five recipient families were selected for intensive interviews every six months over a three-year period.

    Differences between the metropolitan area and the rural communities were related to differences in population density. Although the problems appear to be universal, solutions may be different for urban and rural communities. The most important differences that manifested themselves along the rural-urban continuum were related to accessibility and distance to jobs and...

    This paper examines rural-urban differences in the implementation of welfare reform policies using Iowa as a case study. Information was gathered at the state, community, and family levels to study community-level implications of the policy mandate to move families off the welfare rolls and into the workforce. State and community interviews with key informants were conducted using The Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism state and community case study protocols. Seven communities/counties, including one metropolitan city, were selected to form a rural-urban continuum. Within those communities, five recipient families were selected for intensive interviews every six months over a three-year period.

    Differences between the metropolitan area and the rural communities were related to differences in population density. Although the problems appear to be universal, solutions may be different for urban and rural communities. The most important differences that manifested themselves along the rural-urban continuum were related to accessibility and distance to jobs and support services. Rural welfare-recipient families moving from welfare to work encountered fewer services locally. When services were available locally, access was less frequent. This pattern was particularly notable with respect to accessibility of jobs, job training and education, health care, child care, and emergency services. (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)

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