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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: Wiedrich, Kasey; Griffin, Kate; Chilton, Mariana; Lehman, Gretchen
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    ...

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    Kate Griffin (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation describes data from a financial education program for TANF recipients that provides training in budgeting and credit management.  The pilot was started in July 2013 with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

    • Financial Management Strategies of TANF and SNAP Recipients: Lessons for Policy Makers and Administrators

    Mariana Chilton (Drexel University)

    The presentation describes a completed research project that looks at the impact of the AFCO financial counseling program for families leaving TANF and entering into a work-ready context.

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

  • Individual Author: Stack, Carol
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1975

    All Our Kin is the chronicle of a young white woman's sojourn into The Flats, an African-American ghetto community, to study the support system family and friends form when coping with poverty. Eschewing the traditional method of entry into the community used by anthropologists -- through authority figures and community leaders -- she approached the families herself by way of an acquaintance from school, becoming one of the first sociologists to explore the black kinship network from the inside. The result was a landmark study that debunked the misconception that poor families were unstable and disorganized. On the contrary, her study showed that families in The Flats adapted to their poverty conditions by forming large, resilient, lifelong support networks based on friendship and family that were very powerful, highly structured and surprisingly complex.

    Universally considered the best analysis of family and kinship in a ghetto black community ever published, All Our Kin is also an indictment of a social system that reinforces welfare dependency and...

    All Our Kin is the chronicle of a young white woman's sojourn into The Flats, an African-American ghetto community, to study the support system family and friends form when coping with poverty. Eschewing the traditional method of entry into the community used by anthropologists -- through authority figures and community leaders -- she approached the families herself by way of an acquaintance from school, becoming one of the first sociologists to explore the black kinship network from the inside. The result was a landmark study that debunked the misconception that poor families were unstable and disorganized. On the contrary, her study showed that families in The Flats adapted to their poverty conditions by forming large, resilient, lifelong support networks based on friendship and family that were very powerful, highly structured and surprisingly complex.

    Universally considered the best analysis of family and kinship in a ghetto black community ever published, All Our Kin is also an indictment of a social system that reinforces welfare dependency and chronic unemployment. As today's political debate over welfare reform heats up, its message has become more important than ever. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: DeParle, Jason
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2004

    In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces  their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

    With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why. (author abstract)

    In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces  their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

    With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gennetian, Lisa A.; Duncan, Greg J.; Knox, Virginia W.; Vargas, Wanda G.; Clark-Kauffman, Elizabeth; London, Andrew S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The federal law that overhauled the nation's welfare system in 1996 aimed to break the cycle of poverty through its effects not only on welfare recipients but also on their children. While it was feared that some of the policy changes might harm young children, it was generally believed that older children would benefit from new community norms and the presence of working parents as role models. But analyses from several MDRC studies released in recent years suggest that the new policies did not bring benefits to adolescents. With reauthorization of the 1996 law now under debate, the Next Generation project — an innovative collaboration among MDRC and other leading research institutions — has produced this research synthesis, the first comprehensive and systematic look at how welfare and work policies targeted at low-income parents have influenced their adolescent children. Using meta-analytic techniques, the work integrates survey data collected from parents in eight MDRC studies of 16 different welfare and employment programs, focusing on children aged 12 to 18 when the surveys...

    The federal law that overhauled the nation's welfare system in 1996 aimed to break the cycle of poverty through its effects not only on welfare recipients but also on their children. While it was feared that some of the policy changes might harm young children, it was generally believed that older children would benefit from new community norms and the presence of working parents as role models. But analyses from several MDRC studies released in recent years suggest that the new policies did not bring benefits to adolescents. With reauthorization of the 1996 law now under debate, the Next Generation project — an innovative collaboration among MDRC and other leading research institutions — has produced this research synthesis, the first comprehensive and systematic look at how welfare and work policies targeted at low-income parents have influenced their adolescent children. Using meta-analytic techniques, the work integrates survey data collected from parents in eight MDRC studies of 16 different welfare and employment programs, focusing on children aged 12 to 18 when the surveys were conducted; it also draws on ethnographic case studies to flesh out the quantitative findings.

    In each study, some parents were randomly assigned to a program that included some combination of three key policies — mandatory employment activities, earnings supplements, and time limits on welfare receipt — while others were randomly assigned to a control group that was neither eligible for the program's services nor subject to its requirements. Random assignment ensures that any differences that emerged between the two groups — or their children - are attributable to the program. Although the studies examined programs that began operating before 1996, the three policies examined here have been adopted, in various combinations, in many states' programs since welfare reform was passed. Thus, this is the best body of evidence to date concerning how low-income adolescents fare as a result of policies aimed at increasing their parents' employment. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Clampet-Lundquist, Susan ; Edin, Kathryn ; London, Andrew S. ; Scott, Ellen ; Hunter, Vicki
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Background
    Even as the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) increased expectations of employment for welfare recipients, the authors of the new federal law were aware that employment alone would often fail to provide enough income to meet basic family needs. Accordingly, PRWORA mandated that state welfare programs ensure transitional child care, food stamps, and Medicaid to those leaving welfare for low-wage work. But it is one thing to have these provisions on the books and another to successfully deliver them to the families who need them. Data from a three- to four-year, in-depth, qualitative study of families in Cleveland and Philadelphia are used to tell the story — from the viewpoint of families — of how respondents struggled to meet basic needs when they transitioned from welfare to employment.

    Key Findings

    • By the end of the study period, respondents who worked reported significant gains in average income (net of work-related expenses) than those who were not working....

    Background
    Even as the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) increased expectations of employment for welfare recipients, the authors of the new federal law were aware that employment alone would often fail to provide enough income to meet basic family needs. Accordingly, PRWORA mandated that state welfare programs ensure transitional child care, food stamps, and Medicaid to those leaving welfare for low-wage work. But it is one thing to have these provisions on the books and another to successfully deliver them to the families who need them. Data from a three- to four-year, in-depth, qualitative study of families in Cleveland and Philadelphia are used to tell the story — from the viewpoint of families — of how respondents struggled to meet basic needs when they transitioned from welfare to employment.

    Key Findings

    • By the end of the study period, respondents who worked reported significant gains in average income (net of work-related expenses) than those who were not working.
    • Families faced enormous challenges securing the public work-based benefits to which they were entitled. Parents who sought to apply and maintaining eligibility for child care assistance and other subsidies were required to surmount daunting bureaucratic hurdles, and many families’ food stamp and Medicaid cases were closed incorrectly during the course of the study. The level of “hassle” experienced by families varied, indicating that small changes in fine-level details of implementation could make a large difference in the ability of working mothers to access and retain transitional benefits.
    • Families’ private support systems, such as child care provided by family members and local food pantries that supplied emergency food rations, were highly variable in their capacity to help respondents meet their children’s basic needs.

    Conclusion
    This paper sharply delineates how difficult it is for families who struggle to find stable employment to receive the transitional benefits to which they are entitled. Families’ ability to secure child care, food, and health care resources depended on how programs were implemented; having detailed knowledge of the benefits the welfare office is supposed to provide; the cooperation of a competent, well-trained caseworker; a family situation that allowed the family to take up these benefits in the form the welfare department provided them; and, too often, just plain luck.(author abstract)

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