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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: Quint, Janet; Bos, Johannes; Polit, Denise
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    New Chance, a national research and demonstration program that operated between 1989 and 1992, was developed in a policy context marked by intense concern about teenage childbearing. That concern reflected the public's distress about three developments: the dramatic increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing over the past three decades, the long-term welfare costs incurred by young, poor women who become mothers, and the negative life prospects faced by their children. Little was known, however, about what kinds of programs and policies could help young mothers on welfare attain economic independence and could foster their children's development as well.

    The New Chance Demonstration was a rare and important opportunity to test the value of comprehensive services in assisting a disadvantaged group of families headed by young mothers who had first given birth as teenagers, who had dropped out of high school, and who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program, which operated in 16 locations (or "sites") in 10 states across...

    New Chance, a national research and demonstration program that operated between 1989 and 1992, was developed in a policy context marked by intense concern about teenage childbearing. That concern reflected the public's distress about three developments: the dramatic increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing over the past three decades, the long-term welfare costs incurred by young, poor women who become mothers, and the negative life prospects faced by their children. Little was known, however, about what kinds of programs and policies could help young mothers on welfare attain economic independence and could foster their children's development as well.

    The New Chance Demonstration was a rare and important opportunity to test the value of comprehensive services in assisting a disadvantaged group of families headed by young mothers who had first given birth as teenagers, who had dropped out of high school, and who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program, which operated in 16 locations (or "sites") in 10 states across the country, sought to help the young mothers acquire educational and vocational credentials and skills so that they could secure jobs offering opportunities for advancement and could thereby reduce, and eventually eliminate, their use of welfare. It also sought to motivate and assist participants in postponing additional childbearing and to help them become better parents. Finally, New Chance was explicitly "two-generational" in its approach, seeking to enhance the cognitive abilities, health, and socioemotional well-being of enrollees' children. The program was, for the most part, voluntary; that is, young women were generally not required to attend in order to receive public assistance. Instead, most joined it because they wanted to earn their General Educational Development (GED, or high school equivalency) certificates and the program offered free child care to enable them to participate.

    To evaluate the program's effectiveness, young women who applied and were determined to be eligible for New Chance were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the experimental group, whose members could enroll in the program, or the control group, whose members could not join New Chance but could receive other services available in their communities. To ascertain both short- and longer-term program effects, comparable information was collected from each member of both groups through in-home survey interviews conducted approximately 1½ and 3½ years after the individual had been randomly assigned. The measured average differences between the two groups' outcomes over time (such as their differences in rates of GED attainment, employment, or subsequent childbearing) and between the outcomes for their children are the observed results (or impacts) of New Chance. This, the final report on the New Chance program and its impacts, examines the trajectories of 2,079 young mothers who responded to the 3½-year survey.  (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Nightingale, Demetra Smith; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Barnow, Burt S.; Trutko, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The goal of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstrations, funded jointly by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and the Ford Foundation, was to make lasting changes in the way public agencies and community organizations work with young unmarried parents to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for children and parents.  To assess progress towards meeting this goal, OCSE and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) conducted a five-year, national evaluation of the demonstration projects that operated in nine States.  Each project was a partnership of non-profit organizations and state and local agencies to develop comprehensive services for young, low-income, non-custodial fathers and their families and children.  The PFF demonstrations were designed to help fragile families (young unwed parents and their children) by helping fathers learn to share the legal, financial, and emotional responsibilities of parenthood with their child's mother.  The PFF projects tested new ways for state-run child support...

    The goal of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstrations, funded jointly by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and the Ford Foundation, was to make lasting changes in the way public agencies and community organizations work with young unmarried parents to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for children and parents.  To assess progress towards meeting this goal, OCSE and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) conducted a five-year, national evaluation of the demonstration projects that operated in nine States.  Each project was a partnership of non-profit organizations and state and local agencies to develop comprehensive services for young, low-income, non-custodial fathers and their families and children.  The PFF demonstrations were designed to help fragile families (young unwed parents and their children) by helping fathers learn to share the legal, financial, and emotional responsibilities of parenthood with their child's mother.  The PFF projects tested new ways for state-run child support enforcement programs and community-based organizations to work together to help young fathers obtain employment, make child support payments, and learn parenting skills; as well as to help parents build stronger partnerships.

    This report focuses on the characteristics of PFF participants and participants' employment, earnings, and child support patterns prior and subsequent to their enrollment in the program.  Quarterly wage data from state unemployment compensation records were used to assess employment outcomes.  State child support data on child support awards and payments were used to assess changes in participants' child support behaviors. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John; Nightingale, Demetra Smith; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Barnow, Burt S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This report describes the design and implementation of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. Operating in 13 sites across the country, PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers in becoming financial and emotional resources to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The report examines the programs’ structure and institutional partnerships; participant characteristics; recruitment and enrollment efforts; the nature of employment, peer support, parenting, and child support-related services provided through the initiatives; and implementation challenges and lessons. (author abstract)

    This report describes the design and implementation of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. Operating in 13 sites across the country, PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers in becoming financial and emotional resources to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The report examines the programs’ structure and institutional partnerships; participant characteristics; recruitment and enrollment efforts; the nature of employment, peer support, parenting, and child support-related services provided through the initiatives; and implementation challenges and lessons. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Palla, Seri; Kakuska, Courtney J.; Hercik, Jeanette M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, child-only cases—those in which no adult is included in the cash grant—have become an increasing proportion of State TANF caseloads in recent years. Child-only cases are either parental or non-parental – parental cases are those in which the parent is resident in the home, but ineligible for TANF receipt for such reasons as time limits,1 sanction, alien status, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receipt, or previous drug felony conviction. Non-parental cases are those in which neither biological parent is present, and another adult, usually a relative, is the primary caregiver. Research indicates that the percentage of child-only cases relative to overall national caseloads increased 200 percent in one decade –from 12 percent in 1990 to nearly 35 percent by 2000.  In some States, over fifty percent of their FY2002 caseloads were child-only.

    In addition to the variability in the proportion of a State’s total caseload accounted for by child-only cases, the current research indicates that the composition of the...

    Under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, child-only cases—those in which no adult is included in the cash grant—have become an increasing proportion of State TANF caseloads in recent years. Child-only cases are either parental or non-parental – parental cases are those in which the parent is resident in the home, but ineligible for TANF receipt for such reasons as time limits,1 sanction, alien status, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receipt, or previous drug felony conviction. Non-parental cases are those in which neither biological parent is present, and another adult, usually a relative, is the primary caregiver. Research indicates that the percentage of child-only cases relative to overall national caseloads increased 200 percent in one decade –from 12 percent in 1990 to nearly 35 percent by 2000.  In some States, over fifty percent of their FY2002 caseloads were child-only.

    In addition to the variability in the proportion of a State’s total caseload accounted for by child-only cases, the current research indicates that the composition of the child-only caseload across the States varies as well. In some States, for example, there is a significantly higher proportion of relative (non-parental) cases, while in others, SSI, immigrant, and sanctioned or time-limited parental cases are more common.

    In response to these trends, the OFA Peer Technical Assistance Network conducted discussions with State TANF administrators around the country to assess their current policies and programs designed to meet the needs of the child-only caseload, and to gauge their level of interest in participating a Roundtable on this topic. The responses were overwhelming – we gathered significant information on the current child-only environment, and more than thirty States expressed an interest in the Roundtable concept. As a result, eleven States participated in the first Roundtables entitled Developing Strategies to Address the Child-Only Caseload held April 8-9, 2003 in Colorado Springs (El Paso County), Colorado. In response to the positive feedback received following the first Roundtable, a second Roundtable was held in Trenton, New Jersey on June 3-4, 2003. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shirk, Martha; Bennett, Neil G.; Aber, J. Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1999

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau...

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau data to show which American children are most likely to be poor. He reports, for instance, that over 60 percent of poor young children have at least one employed parent, that most poor young children live in suburban or rural areas, and that a parent's graduation from high school is insufficient to insure against poverty. Among his most startling findings are that in the last two decades, the Young Child Poverty Rate grew significantly faster in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, and that it grew much faster among whites than among blacks.

    J. Lawrence Aber, a nationally recognized expert in child development and social policy, describes the effects of poverty on child development and showcases proven strategies for preventing or reducing child poverty. He also shows us that it is in our national self-interest to address the problem of child poverty by making a smart investment in America's future.

    As a powerful portrait of the effects of poverty on America's children and families, Lives on the Line narrows the gap between “them” and “us.” It will change the way you think about the poor. (author abstract)

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