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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: Friedlander, Daniel; Burtless, Gary
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1995

    With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s. The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare.

    Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment...

    With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s. The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare.

    Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment programs for welfare recipients, delineates the hard choices that must be made among competing approaches, and provides a well-documented foundation for building more comprehensive programs for the next generation. A sobering tale for welfare reformers of all political persuasions, this book poses a serious challenge to anyone who promises to end welfare dependency by cutting welfare budgets. (author abstract)

  • 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: Bloom, Dan; Farrell, Mary; Kemple, James J.; Verma, Nandita
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    This is the third report in MDRC’s multi-year evaluation of Florida’s Family Transition Program (FTP), one of the first welfare reform initiatives in the nation to impose a time limit on the receipt of cash assistance.

    The report finds that FTP’s impacts are occurring in stages. In the first two years of the follow-up period, before participants could have reached FTP’s time limit (24 months for most recipients), the program increased employment rates and earnings, but did not affect the rate of welfare receipt. Thus, the program’s primary effect was to increase the proportion of people who were combining work and welfare. FTP also raised families’ combined income from public assistance and earnings. (Although the program did not reduce the number of people receiving welfare during this period, it did reduce the average amount of welfare payments per person.)

    Findings for the first enrollees to enter the study suggest that the pattern of results began to change just after the two-year point, as small numbers of FTP participants began to reach the time limit and have...

    This is the third report in MDRC’s multi-year evaluation of Florida’s Family Transition Program (FTP), one of the first welfare reform initiatives in the nation to impose a time limit on the receipt of cash assistance.

    The report finds that FTP’s impacts are occurring in stages. In the first two years of the follow-up period, before participants could have reached FTP’s time limit (24 months for most recipients), the program increased employment rates and earnings, but did not affect the rate of welfare receipt. Thus, the program’s primary effect was to increase the proportion of people who were combining work and welfare. FTP also raised families’ combined income from public assistance and earnings. (Although the program did not reduce the number of people receiving welfare during this period, it did reduce the average amount of welfare payments per person.)

    Findings for the first enrollees to enter the study suggest that the pattern of results began to change just after the two-year point, as small numbers of FTP participants began to reach the time limit and have their welfare benefits canceled. FTP began to generate significant reductions in the rate of welfare receipt at that point. Also, FTP began to increase the proportion of people who were working and not receiving cash assistance.

    The report also describes the multi-stage process that occurs as FTP participants approach the time limit. To date, almost all those who used up their allotted months of benefit receipt had their benefits canceled. At the same time, only a small proportion of FTP participants have reached that point; most left welfare before reaching the time limit, and still had some time remaining on their "clocks." Finally, the report provides contextual information that is critical to interpreting the impact results. For example, it illustrates that FTP involved much more than a time limit – the program has been generously funded, and has provided an unusually rich array of services and supports to its participants. In addition, the report notes that FTP has operated in a strong labor market, during a time when Florida’s statewide welfare caseload has dropped precipitously.

    The unfolding story of FTP provides a preview of the issues and potential impacts of more recent welfare reform initiatives being implemented in Florida and other states under the 1996 federal welfare law. Although the story is far from over, the study is already providing valuable early data. Future reports in the study will continue to document the results of this important program, and will address critical open issues, such as how families fare after their welfare grants are canceled. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burton, Linda; Cherlin, Andrew J.; Francis, Judith; Jarrett, Robin; Quane, James; Williams, Constance; Cook, N. Michelle Stem
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Fifteen focus group interviews were conducted in Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago between November 1996 and November 1997, with women who were current and former welfare recipients and with men who were familiar with the welfare system. Seven focus groups consisted of African Americans, six consisted of Hispanics (and were conducted in Spanish), one consisted of whites, and one had a mixture of whites and African Americans. Eleven groups were all female and four were all male.

    We asked the participants what they had heard about the changes in welfare and what they thought about these changes. We discussed time limits, work requirements, measures to discourage additional births, and provisions to increase child support. The participants were asked to say what they thought the impact of the changes would be. In addition, they were asked what messages about the welfare changes they would give to lawmakers. (Author summary) 

    Fifteen focus group interviews were conducted in Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago between November 1996 and November 1997, with women who were current and former welfare recipients and with men who were familiar with the welfare system. Seven focus groups consisted of African Americans, six consisted of Hispanics (and were conducted in Spanish), one consisted of whites, and one had a mixture of whites and African Americans. Eleven groups were all female and four were all male.

    We asked the participants what they had heard about the changes in welfare and what they thought about these changes. We discussed time limits, work requirements, measures to discourage additional births, and provisions to increase child support. The participants were asked to say what they thought the impact of the changes would be. In addition, they were asked what messages about the welfare changes they would give to lawmakers. (Author summary) 

  • Individual Author: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Reference Type: Regulation
    Year: 1999

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issues regulations governing key provisions of the new welfare block grant program enacted in 1996—the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program. It replaces the national welfare program known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the related programs known as the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program (JOBS) and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. These rules reflect new Federal, State, and Tribal relationships in the administration of welfare programs; a new focus on moving recipients into work; and a new emphasis on program information, measurement, and performance regulatory reform (author abstract). 

    64 Fed. Reg. 17720 (1999). 

     

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issues regulations governing key provisions of the new welfare block grant program enacted in 1996—the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program. It replaces the national welfare program known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the related programs known as the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program (JOBS) and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. These rules reflect new Federal, State, and Tribal relationships in the administration of welfare programs; a new focus on moving recipients into work; and a new emphasis on program information, measurement, and performance regulatory reform (author abstract). 

    64 Fed. Reg. 17720 (1999). 

     

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