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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: Wood, Robert G.; Moore, Quinn; Clarkwest, Andrew; Killewald, Alexandra; Monahan, Shannon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation assessed the impacts of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy marriage and relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child.  While many unmarried parents live together when their children are born, their relationships are often tenuous and most end within a few years of the child’s birth. Research suggests that children do better when raised by both of their parents in healthy environments.  The BSF program model included curricula-based group workshops on relationship skills; individual support from family coordinators; and assessment and referral to other needed services. The key question addressed through the BSF evaluation is whether the interventions improved the quality of unmarried parents’ relationships, increased the likelihood that they remained together, and improved the well-being of children. This report presents final impact results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.  A separate technical supplement...

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation assessed the impacts of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy marriage and relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child.  While many unmarried parents live together when their children are born, their relationships are often tenuous and most end within a few years of the child’s birth. Research suggests that children do better when raised by both of their parents in healthy environments.  The BSF program model included curricula-based group workshops on relationship skills; individual support from family coordinators; and assessment and referral to other needed services. The key question addressed through the BSF evaluation is whether the interventions improved the quality of unmarried parents’ relationships, increased the likelihood that they remained together, and improved the well-being of children. This report presents final impact results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.  A separate technical supplement details the analytic approaches and includes additional analyses. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dickert-Conlin, Stacy; Fitzpatrick, Katie; Tiehen, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a large-scale advertising campaign to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by increasing awareness about the program. Despite this and other large-scale outreach efforts for federal programs targeted at eligible nonparticipants, the role of information in program participation is not well established. Paying careful attention to the potential endogeneity of advertising placement, we use variation over time and within states to estimate the effect of the advertising on caseloads, applications, approved applications, and denied applications. We find that radio advertisements are positively correlated with county-level caseloads in a sample that represents nearly every U.S. county. Six months after radio advertising in a county, the number of individuals receiving SNAP is 2 to 3 percent higher. With a smaller sample of counties on SNAP applications, approvals, and denials, we find limited evidence that SNAP is positively correlated with overall applications. However, approved applications are...

    In 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a large-scale advertising campaign to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by increasing awareness about the program. Despite this and other large-scale outreach efforts for federal programs targeted at eligible nonparticipants, the role of information in program participation is not well established. Paying careful attention to the potential endogeneity of advertising placement, we use variation over time and within states to estimate the effect of the advertising on caseloads, applications, approved applications, and denied applications. We find that radio advertisements are positively correlated with county-level caseloads in a sample that represents nearly every U.S. county. Six months after radio advertising in a county, the number of individuals receiving SNAP is 2 to 3 percent higher. With a smaller sample of counties on SNAP applications, approvals, and denials, we find limited evidence that SNAP is positively correlated with overall applications. However, approved applications are not higher following radio advertisement exposure and denied applications increase. One way to reconcile the fact that caseloads are higher but new enrollments are not is that increased information from the advertising campaign may reduce exits from the program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gibbs, Deborah; Kasten, Jennifer; Bir, Anupa; Hoover, Sonja; Duncan, Dean; Mitchell, Janet
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Since the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, much attention has been given to reductions in the number of welfare cases. Welfare cases declined nationally by 52 percent between 1996 and 2001; however, child-only cases declined by much less. Thus, while the number of child-only cases has fluctuated over time, their proportionate share of the TANF caseload has increased. Children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers occupy uncertain territory between the TANF and the child welfare service systems. Since these children are exempt from work requirements and not expected to move to self-sufficiency prior to adulthood, they are not well aligned with the TANF agency’s expectations and service offerings. Because they have not been identified as having experienced maltreatment, they are outside the child welfare system’s protective mandate, although they may be in need of supportive services. (author abstract)

    Since the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, much attention has been given to reductions in the number of welfare cases. Welfare cases declined nationally by 52 percent between 1996 and 2001; however, child-only cases declined by much less. Thus, while the number of child-only cases has fluctuated over time, their proportionate share of the TANF caseload has increased. Children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers occupy uncertain territory between the TANF and the child welfare service systems. Since these children are exempt from work requirements and not expected to move to self-sufficiency prior to adulthood, they are not well aligned with the TANF agency’s expectations and service offerings. Because they have not been identified as having experienced maltreatment, they are outside the child welfare system’s protective mandate, although they may be in need of supportive services. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Moore, Quinn; Clarkwest, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Building Strong Families (BSF), a program of relationship skills education for unwed parents, has been found in a rigorous random assignment evaluation to have limited effects on couples who signed up for the program (Wood, McConnell, et al. 2010). Averaging results across the eight local programs that participated in the evaluation, BSF had no effect on the couples’ relationship quality or on the likelihood that they would remain romantically involved or get married 15 months after they enrolled in the program. When impacts were examined separately for the eight programs, only one was found to have a consistent pattern of positive effects on couples’ relationships, while another was found to have negative effects.

    These results, however, leave us with an unanswered question of wide interest, because not all couples randomly assigned to receive BSF services actually participated. The core BSF service was group workshops on relationship skills, and across all evaluation sites about 45 percent of the couples assigned to the program group never attended even one workshop...

    Building Strong Families (BSF), a program of relationship skills education for unwed parents, has been found in a rigorous random assignment evaluation to have limited effects on couples who signed up for the program (Wood, McConnell, et al. 2010). Averaging results across the eight local programs that participated in the evaluation, BSF had no effect on the couples’ relationship quality or on the likelihood that they would remain romantically involved or get married 15 months after they enrolled in the program. When impacts were examined separately for the eight programs, only one was found to have a consistent pattern of positive effects on couples’ relationships, while another was found to have negative effects.

    These results, however, leave us with an unanswered question of wide interest, because not all couples randomly assigned to receive BSF services actually participated. The core BSF service was group workshops on relationship skills, and across all evaluation sites about 45 percent of the couples assigned to the program group never attended even one workshop session. BSF was a voluntary program and voluntary programs, particularly those serving low-income families, often have low participation rates (McCurdy and Daro 2001; Myers et al. 1992; Garvey et al. 2006). Even so, it is natural to ask whether BSF had any effects on the couples who did attend group sessions.

    The analysis finds no strong evidence of effects on couples who attended group sessions. Among those who attended at least one group session, there were no statistically significant effects on the key relationship outcomes. Among the smaller group of couples who attended at least half of the group sessions offered, there was no strong evidence of effects, with one exception. BSF appears to have increased the likelihood that these couples would be living together (married or unmarried) at the 15-month follow-up—with an impact on this outcome of 7 to 10 percentage points. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; McConnell, Sheena; Hsueh, JoAn; Clarkwest, Andrew; Moore, Quinn
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This report is a technical supplement to the 15-month impact report for the Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation (Wood et al. 2010). It provides additional detail about the research design (Chapter I), analytic methods (Chapter II), and variable construction (Chapters III and IV) that were used for the 15-month analysis. Chapter V of this report provides a discussion of the subgroup analysis that was conducted. The full set of impact results generated as part of this analysis is included in the appendices of this volume. (author abstract)

    This report is a technical supplement to the 15-month impact report for the Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation (Wood et al. 2010). It provides additional detail about the research design (Chapter I), analytic methods (Chapter II), and variable construction (Chapters III and IV) that were used for the 15-month analysis. Chapter V of this report provides a discussion of the subgroup analysis that was conducted. The full set of impact results generated as part of this analysis is included in the appendices of this volume. (author abstract)

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