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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: Cohen, Phillip N.
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2006

    In the late 1990s economic expansion and the new welfare policy led to a dramatic growth in employment, and pushed down rates of welfare receipt among single mothers. Because employment increases reached so far down the economic ladder and official poverty declined, moreover, a conventional wisdom emerged that American had turned a corner with respect to poverty and its attendant social ills. Andrew Natsios spoke for many when, in the summer of 1999, he wrote, “Americans are wealthier, more law-abiding, and more willing to work in a booming economy, which gives credence to the old adage that a rising tide lifts all boats.”

    However, largely unnoticed at the intersection of these trends, and beginning in the early 1990s, was a decline in employment for a smaller and less visible population: single mothers with disabilities. That divergence turns out to be at the center of the growing disparity in wellbeing between single mothers with disabilities and the general population of single mothers that is the core issue for this report. As we will see, this disparity has important...

    In the late 1990s economic expansion and the new welfare policy led to a dramatic growth in employment, and pushed down rates of welfare receipt among single mothers. Because employment increases reached so far down the economic ladder and official poverty declined, moreover, a conventional wisdom emerged that American had turned a corner with respect to poverty and its attendant social ills. Andrew Natsios spoke for many when, in the summer of 1999, he wrote, “Americans are wealthier, more law-abiding, and more willing to work in a booming economy, which gives credence to the old adage that a rising tide lifts all boats.”

    However, largely unnoticed at the intersection of these trends, and beginning in the early 1990s, was a decline in employment for a smaller and less visible population: single mothers with disabilities. That divergence turns out to be at the center of the growing disparity in wellbeing between single mothers with disabilities and the general population of single mothers that is the core issue for this report. As we will see, this disparity has important implications for the relationship between work, family and the state in the United States. 

    The report begins with a brief theoretical framework and review of existing research, and then presents an analysis of trends in survival strategies and wellbeing for single mothers with and without disabilities. I conclude with a discussion of some policy approaches and recommendations for policy change. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Mauldon, Jane; Speiglman, Richard; Sogar, Christina
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2010

    Raising children is a challenge for virtually all parents. It is made harder when a parent is disabled by poor physical health, mental illness, or learning barriers. In 2008-2009, about 31,000 California parents sufficiently disabled and poor to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) were raising between them some 55,000 children with assistance from the child-only component of CalWORKs, California’s TANF program.

    Drawing on data from families in San Francisco, this brief aims to help policy makers assess how adequately the combination of SSI and CalWORKs meets the needs of these particularly vulnerable families. Many of these parents received CalWORKs themselves before their disability was fully recognized and they moved to SSI. Because SSI provides a much larger parent grant than does CalWORKs, and because SSI is not time-limited, it seems that with this shift in aid families should be better off.

    Under SSI, however, parents and their children are not automatically linked to social work or other services, even though the parents’ limitations are...

    Raising children is a challenge for virtually all parents. It is made harder when a parent is disabled by poor physical health, mental illness, or learning barriers. In 2008-2009, about 31,000 California parents sufficiently disabled and poor to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) were raising between them some 55,000 children with assistance from the child-only component of CalWORKs, California’s TANF program.

    Drawing on data from families in San Francisco, this brief aims to help policy makers assess how adequately the combination of SSI and CalWORKs meets the needs of these particularly vulnerable families. Many of these parents received CalWORKs themselves before their disability was fully recognized and they moved to SSI. Because SSI provides a much larger parent grant than does CalWORKs, and because SSI is not time-limited, it seems that with this shift in aid families should be better off.

    Under SSI, however, parents and their children are not automatically linked to social work or other services, even though the parents’ limitations are debilitating and the children are likely to be very poor for their entire childhood. The families rarely qualify for auxiliary supports such as transportation, subsidized child care, or behavioral health resources beyond Medi-Cal funded mental health or alcohol and drug services. 

    Additional non-financial strategies may be available to support healthy child development and adult wellbeing among SSI-parent families whose children are on CalWORKs. Since counties differ in their welfare funding, in aspects of CalWORKs program design, and in the extent and variety of resources available, the implications and conclusions to be drawn from this brief will differ from county to county. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brand, Betsy; Christodoulidis, Caroline
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    The purpose of this report is to provide policymakers, primarily at the federal and state levels, with information about youth with disabilities in foster care, so that policymakers can begin to understand the characteristics of this population; the challenges they face; how they fare with regard to safety, permanency, self-determination and self-sufficiency, enhanced quality of life, and community integration; and how the complex array of existing programs and services could be better designed to improve these outcomes.

    This report will shed light on the poor outcomes of youth with disabilities in foster care, especially with regard to education, employment, and other indicators of well-being. While the federal investment in the multiple systems with which these youth come in contact is significant, the disconnectedness and lack of coordination across programs and agencies call into question the effectiveness of government efforts. The report will therefore describe various policy recommendations for federal and state policymakers that focus on improving coordination,...

    The purpose of this report is to provide policymakers, primarily at the federal and state levels, with information about youth with disabilities in foster care, so that policymakers can begin to understand the characteristics of this population; the challenges they face; how they fare with regard to safety, permanency, self-determination and self-sufficiency, enhanced quality of life, and community integration; and how the complex array of existing programs and services could be better designed to improve these outcomes.

    This report will shed light on the poor outcomes of youth with disabilities in foster care, especially with regard to education, employment, and other indicators of well-being. While the federal investment in the multiple systems with which these youth come in contact is significant, the disconnectedness and lack of coordination across programs and agencies call into question the effectiveness of government efforts. The report will therefore describe various policy recommendations for federal and state policymakers that focus on improving coordination, holding systems accountable, developing leadership and the capacity of the system to work more effectively with these youth, improving transitions to adulthood and educational outcomes for them, and better data-sharing and information management. A brief summary of these recommendations will follow at the end of the report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Curtis, Marah A.; Corman, Hope; Noonan, Kelly; Reichman, Nancy E.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    We exploit an exogenous health shock--the birth of a child with a severe health condition--to investigate the causal effect of a life shock on homelessness. Using survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study that have been augmented with information from hospital medical records, we find that the health shock increases the likelihood of homelessness three years later, particularly in cities with high housing costs. Homelessness is defined using both a traditional measure and a more contemporary measure that includes residential instability and doubling up without paying rent. The findings are consistent with the economic theory of homelessness, which posits that homelessness results from a conjunction of adverse circumstances in which housing markets and individual characteristics collide. They also add to a growing body of evidence that housing markets are an important contributor to homelessness and suggest that homelessness is a problem not easily addressed by existing public support programs. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    We exploit an exogenous health shock--the birth of a child with a severe health condition--to investigate the causal effect of a life shock on homelessness. Using survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study that have been augmented with information from hospital medical records, we find that the health shock increases the likelihood of homelessness three years later, particularly in cities with high housing costs. Homelessness is defined using both a traditional measure and a more contemporary measure that includes residential instability and doubling up without paying rent. The findings are consistent with the economic theory of homelessness, which posits that homelessness results from a conjunction of adverse circumstances in which housing markets and individual characteristics collide. They also add to a growing body of evidence that housing markets are an important contributor to homelessness and suggest that homelessness is a problem not easily addressed by existing public support programs. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

  • Individual Author: O’Day, Bonnie; Stapleton, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    The transition to adulthood can be difficult for youth, particularly those who have disabilities severe enough that they receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (DI), or other disability program benefits. Besides the issues facing all transition-age youth, young people with disabilities face a host of special challenges: health problems, social isolation, service needs, and lack of supports. These challenges complicate their planning for the future and often lead to poor educational and employment outcomes, long-term dependency, and a lifetime of poverty. In this policy brief, we highlight the importance of improving transition policy for youth with disabilities, review lessons from recent research, and consider transformative policy changes and why and how such changes might be tested. (author abstract)

    The transition to adulthood can be difficult for youth, particularly those who have disabilities severe enough that they receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (DI), or other disability program benefits. Besides the issues facing all transition-age youth, young people with disabilities face a host of special challenges: health problems, social isolation, service needs, and lack of supports. These challenges complicate their planning for the future and often lead to poor educational and employment outcomes, long-term dependency, and a lifetime of poverty. In this policy brief, we highlight the importance of improving transition policy for youth with disabilities, review lessons from recent research, and consider transformative policy changes and why and how such changes might be tested. (author abstract)

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