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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: Fein, David J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    A number of leading marriage and relationship education programs encourage couples to value and to understand the benefits of spending time together, as it is an important condition for a flourishing relationship. There has been some concern that poor couples may have less time and energy for each other than other couples — and less time and energy to attend relationship education programs — because of the demands they face simply to meet basic needs. Using data from the 2003 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this paper provides the national estimates of time spent together by married parents at varying levels of income and education. The sample includes 5,729 married parents who were living together with one or more children under age 18.

    Results show that economically disadvantaged couples spend slightly more, rather than less, time together than nondisadvantaged ones, and that they spend more of the time they are together in leisure activities (largely watching television). The edge in total hours with spouse vanishes in multivariate analyses controlling for differences...

    A number of leading marriage and relationship education programs encourage couples to value and to understand the benefits of spending time together, as it is an important condition for a flourishing relationship. There has been some concern that poor couples may have less time and energy for each other than other couples — and less time and energy to attend relationship education programs — because of the demands they face simply to meet basic needs. Using data from the 2003 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this paper provides the national estimates of time spent together by married parents at varying levels of income and education. The sample includes 5,729 married parents who were living together with one or more children under age 18.

    Results show that economically disadvantaged couples spend slightly more, rather than less, time together than nondisadvantaged ones, and that they spend more of the time they are together in leisure activities (largely watching television). The edge in total hours with spouse vanishes in multivariate analyses controlling for differences in hours worked between low-income and other couples. Family composition and race-ethnicity also display marked associations with couple time. Couples with young children (under age 6) spend more time together, but less time alone together, than couples without young children. Black couples spend less time together than white couples, particularly after a new birth. Compared with whites, Latino couples also spend less time together, and more of the time they are together is spent with their children. The paper notes a number of implications for emerging marriage programs. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Miller-Gaubert, Jennifer; Knox, Virginia; Alderson, Desiree; Dalton, Christopher; Fletcher, Kate; McCormick, Meghan D.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This report presents early implementation and operational lessons from the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation. Funded by the Administration for Children and Families, SHM uses a rigorous research design to test the effectiveness of a new approach to improving outcomes for low-income children: strengthening the marriages and relationships of their parents as a foundation for family well-being. It also uses implementation research to document and assess how the organizations that were selected to be in the study are implementing the SHM model. The SHM model is for low-income married couples and includes three components: relationship and marriage education workshops that teach strategies for managing conflict and effective communication, supplemental activities that build on workshop themes and skills through educational and social events, and family support services that pair couples with specialized staff who facilitate participation and connect couples with needed services. In the first year of program implementation, SHM providers focused on three main tasks:...

    This report presents early implementation and operational lessons from the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation. Funded by the Administration for Children and Families, SHM uses a rigorous research design to test the effectiveness of a new approach to improving outcomes for low-income children: strengthening the marriages and relationships of their parents as a foundation for family well-being. It also uses implementation research to document and assess how the organizations that were selected to be in the study are implementing the SHM model. The SHM model is for low-income married couples and includes three components: relationship and marriage education workshops that teach strategies for managing conflict and effective communication, supplemental activities that build on workshop themes and skills through educational and social events, and family support services that pair couples with specialized staff who facilitate participation and connect couples with needed services. In the first year of program implementation, SHM providers focused on three main tasks: developing effective marketing and recruitment strategies, keeping couples engaged in the program, and building management structures and systems. Lessons in these three areas from implementation analyses are the focus of this report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hsueh, JoAnn; Alderson, Desiree P. ; Lundquist, Erika; Michalopoulos, Charles; Gubits, Daniel; Fein, David; Knox, Virginia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation was launched in 2003 to test the effectiveness of a skills-based relationship education program designed to help low-income married couples strengthen their relationships and, in turn, to support more stable and more nurturing home environments and more positive outcomes for parents and their children. The evaluation is led by MDRC, in collaboration with Abt Associates and other partners, and is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The SHM program is a voluntary, yearlong, relationship and marriage education program for low-income, married couples who have children or are expecting a child. The program provides group workshops based on structured curricula; supplemental activities to build on workshop themes; and family support services to address participation barriers, connect families with other services, and reinforce curricular themes. The study’s rigorous random assignment design compares outcomes for families who are offered SHM’s services with outcomes for a similar group of families who are not...

    The Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation was launched in 2003 to test the effectiveness of a skills-based relationship education program designed to help low-income married couples strengthen their relationships and, in turn, to support more stable and more nurturing home environments and more positive outcomes for parents and their children. The evaluation is led by MDRC, in collaboration with Abt Associates and other partners, and is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The SHM program is a voluntary, yearlong, relationship and marriage education program for low-income, married couples who have children or are expecting a child. The program provides group workshops based on structured curricula; supplemental activities to build on workshop themes; and family support services to address participation barriers, connect families with other services, and reinforce curricular themes. The study’s rigorous random assignment design compares outcomes for families who are offered SHM’s services with outcomes for a similar group of families who are not offered SHM’s services but can access other services. This report presents estimated impacts on the program’s targeted outcomes about one year after couples entered the study. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Loprest, Pamela; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Martinson, Karin; Zedlewski, Sheila R.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This study examines states' approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states' thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.(author abstract)

    This study examines states' approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states' thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Waller, Margy; Hughes, Mark A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Transportation assistance for low-income workers is complex, expensive, and rife with unintended consequences. Policymakers confuse ends and means when job access strategies are too focused on public transit systems. The policy challenge is helping low-income workers get to distant jobs on difficult schedules, but too often both policymakers and decisionmakers act as if the challenge is devising a way to make public transit "good enough" to serve the reverse commutes of low-income workers. This represents both a bias and a blind spot. The bias lies in our willingness to consign poor people to barely functioning public systems from which higher-income citizens routinely withdraw (as in public schools, public health, public safety, and public space). The bias is expressed in the overheard comment of one senior official from a national public transit organization, "Show me a thirty-year-old man on a bus,; and I'll show you a failure."

    The blind spot is cars. In most cases, the shortest distance between a poor person and a job is along a line driven...

    Transportation assistance for low-income workers is complex, expensive, and rife with unintended consequences. Policymakers confuse ends and means when job access strategies are too focused on public transit systems. The policy challenge is helping low-income workers get to distant jobs on difficult schedules, but too often both policymakers and decisionmakers act as if the challenge is devising a way to make public transit "good enough" to serve the reverse commutes of low-income workers. This represents both a bias and a blind spot. The bias lies in our willingness to consign poor people to barely functioning public systems from which higher-income citizens routinely withdraw (as in public schools, public health, public safety, and public space). The bias is expressed in the overheard comment of one senior official from a national public transit organization, "Show me a thirty-year-old man on a bus,; and I'll show you a failure."

    The blind spot is cars. In most cases, the shortest distance between a poor person and a job is along a line driven in a car. Prosperity in America has always been strongly related to mobility and poor people work hard for access to opportunities. For both the rural and inner-city poor, access means being able to reach the prosperous suburbs of our booming metropolitan economies, and mobility means having the private automobile necessary for the trip. The most important response to the policy challenge of job access for those leaving welfare is the continued and expanded use of cars by low-income workers. Across the country, state and local decisionmakers are inventing new programs to do just that and devising new ways that public funds can help.

    This report presents survey and field research on the ten states with the largest (as of January 1998) numbers of families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (TANF), which is a mix of federal and matching state funds. (Throughout this report, we use TANF to refer to both state and federal funds.) These ten states collectively represent two-thirds of the national caseload: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. The authors surveyed officials in a variety of; relevant state departments and interviewed local officials and public transit operators in cities and rural counties; throughout the ten states. This research informs both their analysis of transportation assistance and recommendations to policymakers. (author abstract)

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