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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: Schulman, Karen ; Matthews, Hannah ; Blank, Helen ; Ewen, Danielle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the...

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the extent to which they provide financial and other supports to help programs improve. In most states, child care programs participate on a voluntary basis, although a few states require all regulated programs to participate. Despite these variations in their QRIS, states share a common objective of encouraging better child care options so that more families have access to high-quality child care that will support their children’s learning and development.

    Given that QRIS are used in a growing number of states and communities, it is helpful to examine the range of approaches these states and communities are taking in designing and implementing QRIS. It is also important to examine the opportunities and barriers for QRIS in achieving the goals of improving the quality of child care and increasing access to high-quality child care for families, particularly for the most vulnerable families. QRIS can be a tool for improving the quality of care accessed by low-income families who cannot afford high-quality care on their own. To gain more insight into different strategies for shaping and implementing QRIS, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) interviewed 48 child care center directors from nine states about their experiences with QRIS. The directors offered valuable perspectives on what is working in their QRIS and how the systems could be improved. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Johnson-Staub, Christine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    This guide aims to help states look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. Why? Because the sources of child care funding historically available to states have limited supply and allowable uses, and comprehensive services are critical to the success of children – especially those who are most at risk for developmental challenges and delays. The information in this guide can help states go beyond Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to build on early childhood systems and improve access to services for children. Partnerships expanding access to comprehensive services in child care and early education settings can take different forms. They can build program staff’s capacity to directly provide services to children, or they can bring other professionals (e.g. mental health consultants, nurses, etc.) and resources into early childhood settings to collaborate with child care and early education staff. In this...

    This guide aims to help states look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. Why? Because the sources of child care funding historically available to states have limited supply and allowable uses, and comprehensive services are critical to the success of children – especially those who are most at risk for developmental challenges and delays. The information in this guide can help states go beyond Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to build on early childhood systems and improve access to services for children. Partnerships expanding access to comprehensive services in child care and early education settings can take different forms. They can build program staff’s capacity to directly provide services to children, or they can bring other professionals (e.g. mental health consultants, nurses, etc.) and resources into early childhood settings to collaborate with child care and early education staff. In this guide, we explore partnerships using federal funding streams to provide comprehensive services to children in early childhood settings. These partnerships may be administered directly by child care and early education agencies or by partner agencies with authority over the funds.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Iowa Skills2Complete Coalition
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition is a statewide partnership of Iowa’s business, community, education, legislative, and workforce development leaders that serve as an organized voice for “skills” at the state’s capital and build more policymaker support for state policies that grow Iowa’s economy by investing in its workforce.

    The Coalition applauds the smart investments in the state’s workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers that Iowa’s policymakers have made over the last two years. Funding for community colleges has increased by almost 8 percent, although it still falls short of pre-recession levels. The state legislature also passed legislation to create three new programs that address the skills gap and help more adult workers access the necessary education and training required by jobs in today’s labor market. The Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Act enables community colleges to develop bridge programs to help adults with limited academic or English skills build basic skills and prepare for credit-bearing postsecondary education programs. The GAP...

    The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition is a statewide partnership of Iowa’s business, community, education, legislative, and workforce development leaders that serve as an organized voice for “skills” at the state’s capital and build more policymaker support for state policies that grow Iowa’s economy by investing in its workforce.

    The Coalition applauds the smart investments in the state’s workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers that Iowa’s policymakers have made over the last two years. Funding for community colleges has increased by almost 8 percent, although it still falls short of pre-recession levels. The state legislature also passed legislation to create three new programs that address the skills gap and help more adult workers access the necessary education and training required by jobs in today’s labor market. The Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Act enables community colleges to develop bridge programs to help adults with limited academic or English skills build basic skills and prepare for credit-bearing postsecondary education programs. The GAP Tuition Assistance Program supports students enrolled in non-credit certificate programs, the cost of which is not covered by federal financial aid, and yet offers the opportunity to earn certificates necessary to qualify for many middle-skill jobs. The Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant Program helps students who are seeking education and training for jobs in industries experiencing acute shortages of skilled workers.

    Most recently, the Governor announced his Skilled Iowa Initiative which seeks to help more Iowans earn the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and encourage more employers to consider and hire workers who have earned this credential. The Skilled Iowa Initiative is designed to improve the job training and marketability of Iowa’s workforce and drive future economic growth for the state. Similar initiatives throughout the country have changed the landscape of local economies through programs that incorporate this nationally recognized assessment system. The assessment was designed to measure individual workers’ skills in the areas of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition recognizes that the Skilled Iowa Initiative contains important components of engaging employers in the state’s strategies and helping more Iowans learn the skill sets required for the labor market.

    The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition offers these policy recommendations to complement and accelerate the steps Iowa’s policymakers have already taken for the state’s industries and workers:

    - Appropriate $5 million in state revenue for adult basic education and integrated learning programs, which combine literacy skill development with job training, to help more low-skill adult workers get on a path toward earning postsecondary credentials and having the necessary skills for employment.

    - Invest in the use of pathway navigators at a level of $2 million to ensure adult learners enrolled in career pathways programs complete these programs and earn skilled credentials.

    - Create capacity within existing postsecondary education and job training funding to develop regional industry sector partnerships around the state.

    -Ensure Iowa’s education and workforce development system has the capacity to evaluate the impact of its initiatives and programs on closing skill gaps in key industries and counting numbers of credentials earned by workers through these efforts. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hendey, Leah; Woo, Beadsie; Signe-Mary, McKernan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Using longitudinal Making Connections Survey data on 2,500 families in low-income neighborhoods, this fact sheet finds that access to credit and residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood are all related to wealth holdings, even after controlling for household characteristics. Residents who believed their neighborhood had shared values increased their total debt and equity from 2005/06 to 2008/09. High rates of subprime lending were associated with less saving and borrowing, perhaps signaling less access to credit. Our findings suggest that both household and place characteristics matter to wealth families accrue and illustrate the importance of paying attention to place and local conditions. (author abstract)

    Using longitudinal Making Connections Survey data on 2,500 families in low-income neighborhoods, this fact sheet finds that access to credit and residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood are all related to wealth holdings, even after controlling for household characteristics. Residents who believed their neighborhood had shared values increased their total debt and equity from 2005/06 to 2008/09. High rates of subprime lending were associated with less saving and borrowing, perhaps signaling less access to credit. Our findings suggest that both household and place characteristics matter to wealth families accrue and illustrate the importance of paying attention to place and local conditions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Johnson, Nicholas; Mai, Chris; Oliff, Phil
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The successful bipartisan effort over the last two decades to reduce state income taxes on working-poor families has stalled and is in danger of reversing.  No new states exempted working-poor families of four from income taxes in 2011, and in almost all of the 15 states where such families still pay income taxes, they saw their income taxes increase.

    Taxing the incomes of working-poor families runs counter to decades of efforts by policymakers across the political spectrum to help families work their way out of poverty.  The federal government has exempted such families from the income tax since the mid-1980s, and a majority of states now do so as well.  Since 1991, the number of states with income taxes on working-poor families of four has fallen from 24 to 15, and even in most of the remaining 15 states, the income tax liabilities of these families have declined significantly since the 1990s.  Poor families paid income tax bills of several hundred dollars in 2011 in seven states.  A two-parent family of four with annual income at the poverty line (which is $23,018 for a...

    The successful bipartisan effort over the last two decades to reduce state income taxes on working-poor families has stalled and is in danger of reversing.  No new states exempted working-poor families of four from income taxes in 2011, and in almost all of the 15 states where such families still pay income taxes, they saw their income taxes increase.

    Taxing the incomes of working-poor families runs counter to decades of efforts by policymakers across the political spectrum to help families work their way out of poverty.  The federal government has exempted such families from the income tax since the mid-1980s, and a majority of states now do so as well.  Since 1991, the number of states with income taxes on working-poor families of four has fallen from 24 to 15, and even in most of the remaining 15 states, the income tax liabilities of these families have declined significantly since the 1990s.  Poor families paid income tax bills of several hundred dollars in 2011 in seven states.  A two-parent family of four with annual income at the poverty line (which is $23,018 for a family of that size) owed $548 in Alabama, $509 in Illinois, $331 in Hawaii, $274 in Oregon, and $273 in Georgia. Iowa and Montana also levied taxes of more than $200 on families with poverty-level incomes. Such amounts can make a big difference to a family struggling to escape poverty.

    Some states went further and levied income tax on working families in severe poverty.  Five states — Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Montana, and Ohio — taxed the income of two-parent families of four earning less than three-quarters of the poverty line, or $17,264.  Four states — Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, and Montana — taxed the income of one-parent families of three earning less than three-quarters of the poverty line, or $13,442.

    Another 24 states required families of four with income just above the poverty line to pay income tax in 2011.  There is strong evidence that even income modestly above the poverty line is often insufficient to meet families’ basic needs, and so there is a strong case to be made for exempting near-poor families as well. (author abstract)

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