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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: Allard, Scott
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Program accessibility and stability are critical components of any effort to cultivate greater capacity among faith-based and community-based social service organizations. Working poor populations are more likely to benefit from programs if they are nearby, easily accessible, and operate with consistency. Yet, we know very little about where faith-based service organizations (FBOs) and secular nonprofits are located, or whether certain types of providers exhibit more stability than others. Drawing on unique survey data on nonprofit service providers, this paper compares the characteristics of FBOs and secular organizations in several urban and rural communities. FBOs that integrate faith into service delivery and secular nonprofit organizations are more accessible to poor populations than FBOs that do not integrate religious elements into service provision. At the same time, I find that large percentages of FBOs and secular nonprofits experience funding volatility and program instability each year. (author abstract)

    Program accessibility and stability are critical components of any effort to cultivate greater capacity among faith-based and community-based social service organizations. Working poor populations are more likely to benefit from programs if they are nearby, easily accessible, and operate with consistency. Yet, we know very little about where faith-based service organizations (FBOs) and secular nonprofits are located, or whether certain types of providers exhibit more stability than others. Drawing on unique survey data on nonprofit service providers, this paper compares the characteristics of FBOs and secular organizations in several urban and rural communities. FBOs that integrate faith into service delivery and secular nonprofit organizations are more accessible to poor populations than FBOs that do not integrate religious elements into service provision. At the same time, I find that large percentages of FBOs and secular nonprofits experience funding volatility and program instability each year. (author abstract)

  • 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: Allard, Scott W.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    Several research questions emerge as we consider the challenges of administering social service programs to poor populations. Where do our communities provide assistance to poor and near-poor households? Do gaps or mismatches in access to social services exist in our communities? How do providers finance services for low-income populations and do these revenue streams shift frequently? How often do cuts in funding lead to instabilities or inconsistencies in service delivery?

    To begin to answer these questions, this chapter examines data from the Multi-City Survey of Social Service Providers (MSSSP) and the Rural Survey of Social Service Providers (RSSSP), which I conducted with social service providers helping low-income populations in three metropolitan areas and four multi-county rural sites respectively between November 2004 and June 2006. Working from a detailed database of service providers in each site, trained interviewers conducted over 2,200 telephone interviews with program managers and executive directors. Each survey contains detailed geographically-sensitive...

    Several research questions emerge as we consider the challenges of administering social service programs to poor populations. Where do our communities provide assistance to poor and near-poor households? Do gaps or mismatches in access to social services exist in our communities? How do providers finance services for low-income populations and do these revenue streams shift frequently? How often do cuts in funding lead to instabilities or inconsistencies in service delivery?

    To begin to answer these questions, this chapter examines data from the Multi-City Survey of Social Service Providers (MSSSP) and the Rural Survey of Social Service Providers (RSSSP), which I conducted with social service providers helping low-income populations in three metropolitan areas and four multi-county rural sites respectively between November 2004 and June 2006. Working from a detailed database of service providers in each site, trained interviewers conducted over 2,200 telephone interviews with program managers and executive directors. Each survey contains detailed geographically-sensitive information on services provided, clients served, funding, and organizational characteristics from a range of governmental, nonprofit, and faith-based social service providers.  

    This chapter will proceed as follows. First, I briefly present a history of the American safety net that explains how social service programs have become central components within our local safety nets. Next, I explain how the current service-based safety net is more sensitive to the spatial location of service agencies than is typically understood.  In addition, I discuss how funding for social service programs is less counter-cyclical and more volatile than aggregate federal expenditure data would suggest. Drawing upon data from the MSSSP and RSSSP, I explore social service provision within several different rural and urban settings.  In particular, I focus upon mismatches and instabilities within the provision of social service programs. Finally, I conclude by discussing the implications of a patchworked and volatile service-based safety net for future social welfare policymaking. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Schreiner, Mark; Clancy, Margaret; Sherraden, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated...

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated approximately $700 per year in IDAs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Swanson, Josephine A. ; Olson, Christine M. ; Miller, Emily O. ; Lawrence, Frances C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    Much of the research on low-income families, welfare, and self-sufficiency has focused on urban populations. Further, many of the studies on informal or social support available to and accessed by low-income families addressed needs such as childcare, transportation, money, or housing and did not focus on food issues. This paper focuses on how formal government food assistance programs and informal supports are utilized by rural low-income families as they work to meet their food needs. Drawing on interviews from the multi-state ‘‘Rural Families Speak’’ project, we examine food security in relation to the use of formal and informal supports. Additional analyses address how mothers view and describe their use of support to meet food needs. (author abstract)

    Much of the research on low-income families, welfare, and self-sufficiency has focused on urban populations. Further, many of the studies on informal or social support available to and accessed by low-income families addressed needs such as childcare, transportation, money, or housing and did not focus on food issues. This paper focuses on how formal government food assistance programs and informal supports are utilized by rural low-income families as they work to meet their food needs. Drawing on interviews from the multi-state ‘‘Rural Families Speak’’ project, we examine food security in relation to the use of formal and informal supports. Additional analyses address how mothers view and describe their use of support to meet food needs. (author abstract)

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