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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: Doolittle, Fred; Knox, Virginia; Miller, Cynthia; Rowser, Sharon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Over the past 25 years, policymakers have come to acknowledge the link between lack of child support and the pressing problem of child poverty for a broad range of American families. With over 20 million children under age 18 now living with only one parent or neither parent, there is an urgency to develop more effective methods for obtaining support from noncustodial parents. Much of the public concern about child support has focused on the noncustodial parents (usually fathers) of children receiving welfare, a group for whom earnings and support payments tend to be low. Interest in these families has also been heightened by recent changes in federally funded public assistance, which are gradually leading states to impose various time limits on aid. Since poor families will have to rely even more on nongovernment sources of income in the future, their stake in successful child support enforcement (CSE) has dramatically increased.

    The noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare have largely been left out of the reform debate and programmatic initiatives, except as...

    Over the past 25 years, policymakers have come to acknowledge the link between lack of child support and the pressing problem of child poverty for a broad range of American families. With over 20 million children under age 18 now living with only one parent or neither parent, there is an urgency to develop more effective methods for obtaining support from noncustodial parents. Much of the public concern about child support has focused on the noncustodial parents (usually fathers) of children receiving welfare, a group for whom earnings and support payments tend to be low. Interest in these families has also been heightened by recent changes in federally funded public assistance, which are gradually leading states to impose various time limits on aid. Since poor families will have to rely even more on nongovernment sources of income in the future, their stake in successful child support enforcement (CSE) has dramatically increased.

    The noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare have largely been left out of the reform debate and programmatic initiatives, except as targets of increasing CSE efforts. Unfortunately for poor families, most of the recent CSE reforms have been more effective in increasing collections from noncustodial parents with relatively stable jobs and residence; many of the fathers of children receiving welfare do not fall within this group.

    The Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration tests a new approach: in exchange for current and future cooperation with the child support system, a partnership of local organizations offered fathers services designed to help them (1) find more stable and better-paying jobs, (2) pay child support on a consistent basis, and (3) assume a fuller and more responsible parental role. Among the key services were peer support (focused on issues of responsible parenting), employment and training services, and an offer of voluntary mediation between the custodial and noncustodial parents. During the period in which parents participated in PFS services, the child support system gave them some "breathing room" and an incentive to invest in themselves by temporarily lowering their current obligation to pay support. CSE staff also closely monitored the status of PFS cases. When a parent found employment, CSE staff were to act quickly to raise the support order to an appropriate level (based on the state’s child support payment guidelines), and if a parent ceased to cooperate with PFS program requirements, CSE staff were to act quickly to enforce the pre-PFS child support obligation. The demonstration is a test of the feasibility of implementing this new "bargain" and its effects on parents, children, and the child support system.

    PFS rests on an unusual partnership of funders and program operators, including federal agencies, private foundations, states, localities, and nonprofit community-based organizations. Organized by MDRC, it began in 1992 with a pilot phase to refine the program model and test the feasibility of implementing it at the local level and, despite a variety of implementation challenges, moved into a seven-site demonstration phase in 1994.

    This report presents findings from the demonstration-phase implementation of the program, characteristics of the parents in the sample, and early impacts on two outcomes of interest (fathers’ earnings and child support payments). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Muller-Ravett, Sara; Jacobs, Erin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Many young people leaving the foster care or juvenile justice system have a difficult time making a successful transition to adulthood and independent living. Compared with others their age, they have relatively low levels of educational attainment and employment, and they are more likely to experience poverty and housing instability. Policymakers and practitioners are searching for ways to improve these outcomes. However, while a number of programs have been designed to help youth who were formerly in foster care or the juvenile justice system, or both, little rigorous evidence exists to identify which services are effective and for whom.

    The evaluation of the Youth Villages Transitional Living program that is described in this brief is designed to help fill this knowledge gap. Youth Villages, a nonprofit service organization for troubled children and their families, operates the Transitional Living program in seven states, including Tennessee, where the evaluation is taking place. The program, perhaps one of the most promising models to serve these youth now operating at...

    Many young people leaving the foster care or juvenile justice system have a difficult time making a successful transition to adulthood and independent living. Compared with others their age, they have relatively low levels of educational attainment and employment, and they are more likely to experience poverty and housing instability. Policymakers and practitioners are searching for ways to improve these outcomes. However, while a number of programs have been designed to help youth who were formerly in foster care or the juvenile justice system, or both, little rigorous evidence exists to identify which services are effective and for whom.

    The evaluation of the Youth Villages Transitional Living program that is described in this brief is designed to help fill this knowledge gap. Youth Villages, a nonprofit service organization for troubled children and their families, operates the Transitional Living program in seven states, including Tennessee, where the evaluation is taking place. The program, perhaps one of the most promising models to serve these youth now operating at scale, provides intensive case management, support, and cognitive-behavioral therapy services to young people who are making the transition from state custody to independent adult living. The evaluation will examine the difference that the Transitional Living program makes for this population — or its impacts on a range of outcomes, including education, employment, mental health, and financial security. It is intended to provide reliable evidence to inform the design of policies and programs for these populations at the federal, state, and local levels.

    This policy brief provides an overview of the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation, one of the largest and most rigorous evaluations of services for youth who are leaving the foster care and juvenile justice systems. It summarizes the policy context for the evaluation, describes the characteristics of the early study sample, offers preliminary observations from the beginning of the study, and lays out a timeline for the next steps in the evaluation. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Knox, Virginia; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    For the past two decades, the nation's efforts to reform the welfare system and the child support system have often proceeded on separate tracks. However, there has been a growing realization that neither has very explicitly considered how to work with the group of men who bridge them both: low-income noncustodial fathers whose children receive welfare. The Parents' Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration, run from 1994 to 1996, was aimed at increasing the ability of these fathers to attain well-paying jobs, increase their child support payments — to increase their involvement in parenting in other ways. These reports — one examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' financial and nonfinancial involvement with their children and the other examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' employment and earnings — provide important insights into policies aimed at this key group. (author abstract)

    For the past two decades, the nation's efforts to reform the welfare system and the child support system have often proceeded on separate tracks. However, there has been a growing realization that neither has very explicitly considered how to work with the group of men who bridge them both: low-income noncustodial fathers whose children receive welfare. The Parents' Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration, run from 1994 to 1996, was aimed at increasing the ability of these fathers to attain well-paying jobs, increase their child support payments — to increase their involvement in parenting in other ways. These reports — one examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' financial and nonfinancial involvement with their children and the other examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers' employment and earnings — provide important insights into policies aimed at this key group. (author abstract)

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