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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: Mead, Lawrence M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    How might work levels among low-income men be raised, as they were for welfare mothers in the 1990s? This study expands the relevant literature on both social policy and implementation. Low-skilled men owing child support and ex-offenders returning from prison are already supposed to work but often fail to do so. The reasons include both the recent fall in unskilled wages and the confusion of men’s lives. Existing work programs in child support and criminal justice appear promising, although evaluations are limited. A survey covering most states shows that half or more already have some men’s work programs, usually on a small scale. Field research in six states suggests the political and administrative factors that shape wider implementation of these programs. Work programs should preferably be mandatory, stress work over training, and be combined with improved wage subsidies. The federal government should provide more funding and evaluations. (author abstract)

    How might work levels among low-income men be raised, as they were for welfare mothers in the 1990s? This study expands the relevant literature on both social policy and implementation. Low-skilled men owing child support and ex-offenders returning from prison are already supposed to work but often fail to do so. The reasons include both the recent fall in unskilled wages and the confusion of men’s lives. Existing work programs in child support and criminal justice appear promising, although evaluations are limited. A survey covering most states shows that half or more already have some men’s work programs, usually on a small scale. Field research in six states suggests the political and administrative factors that shape wider implementation of these programs. Work programs should preferably be mandatory, stress work over training, and be combined with improved wage subsidies. The federal government should provide more funding and evaluations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Santillano, Robert; Wood, Robert G.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    Promoting responsible fatherhood as a means of improving child well-being is a growing policy priority. This strong interest suggests a need for additional research on the effectiveness of potential approaches to promoting this policy goal. The first and best source of support for a child is a nurturing two-parent family. However, when couples split up, child support can be a vital source of income for low-income, single-mother families. Therefore, a combined strategy of promoting stronger parental relationships and involving couples with the child support system when appropriate may be a promising approach for ensuring that children have continuous financial support from both parents.

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation provides a unique opportunity to examine this policy approach. BSF is a multisite, random-assignment evaluation of a relationship skills education program for unmarried parents (Wood et al. 2010). The program aims to improve the stability and quality of unmarried parents’ relationships with the ultimate aim of improving child well-being. Two...

    Promoting responsible fatherhood as a means of improving child well-being is a growing policy priority. This strong interest suggests a need for additional research on the effectiveness of potential approaches to promoting this policy goal. The first and best source of support for a child is a nurturing two-parent family. However, when couples split up, child support can be a vital source of income for low-income, single-mother families. Therefore, a combined strategy of promoting stronger parental relationships and involving couples with the child support system when appropriate may be a promising approach for ensuring that children have continuous financial support from both parents.

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation provides a unique opportunity to examine this policy approach. BSF is a multisite, random-assignment evaluation of a relationship skills education program for unmarried parents (Wood et al. 2010). The program aims to improve the stability and quality of unmarried parents’ relationships with the ultimate aim of improving child well-being. Two of the BSF evaluation sites were in Texas. These sites augmented their BSF programs through collaboration with the Child Support Division (CSD) of the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG). This partnership aimed to promote paternity establishment and improve other child support outcomes by educating BSF parents about the child support enforcement process.

    In this paper, we present estimates of the impact of this partnership between BSF and the CSD in Texas on child support outcomes, including paternity establishment, child support orders, and child support payments. In addition, we examine the BSF program’s effects on other measures of paternal involvement, such as whether fathers live with their children or provide substantial financial support to them. The study relies on the rigorous random assignment research design used in the full BSF evaluation. The analyses rely on surveys of couples collected after 15 months of study participation and administrative child support records supplied by the OAG that provide two to three years of follow-up.

    Overall, we find few impacts of the BSF-CSD partnership on child support outcomes for our full research sample. However, for the subgroup of BSF couples for whom we have longer histories of administrative outcomes (three years), we find the program led to significantly lower rates of involvement with the child support enforcement system. This result may indicate that the program increased the likelihood that BSF couples remained intact three years after program entry, thus reducing their need for child support involvement. However, we cannot confirm this possibility until data from 36-month BSF follow-up surveys—which are currently being conducted and which include questions on family structure—are available for analysis. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John; Strong, Debra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency...

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency collaborations in effect. No single strategy or set of services predominates. Rather, local grant recipients have discretion in developing and implementing program models, within the parameters of the WtW regulations. Thus, the experiences of these programs illustrate a variety of strategies and approaches that are being implemented around the nation and highlight key issues that must be addressed to serve this population group. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory ; Nelson, Sandi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Using data from the 1997 and 1999 National Surveys of America's Families, the authors examine the consequences of state welfare policies and practices on the living arrangements of low-income families with children. Results from a multivariate difference-in-difference-in-differences model suggest that more effective collection of child support and family cap policies are correlated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other policies such as sanctions and special restrictions that apply to two-parent families have no clear, consistent association with living arrangements. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. (author abstract)

    Using data from the 1997 and 1999 National Surveys of America's Families, the authors examine the consequences of state welfare policies and practices on the living arrangements of low-income families with children. Results from a multivariate difference-in-difference-in-differences model suggest that more effective collection of child support and family cap policies are correlated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other policies such as sanctions and special restrictions that apply to two-parent families have no clear, consistent association with living arrangements. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Griswold, Esther A.; Pearson, Jessica
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    This article describes four demonstration projects that strive to promote responsible behavior with respect to parenting, child support payment, and employment among incarcerated and paroled parents with child support obligations. These projects, conducted in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas, with support from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and evaluated by the Center for Policy Research, led to a number of common outcomes and lessons. The projects revealed that inmates want help with child support, parenting, and employment and that prisons can be effective settings in which to conduct such interventions. Family reintegration programs were popular with inmates and may have helped to avoid the rupture of parent–child relationships commonly associated with incarceration. Although employment is the key to child support payment following release, rates of postrelease employment and earnings at all project sites were low and the employment programs were of limited utility in helping released offenders find jobs. Agencies dealing with child support,...

    This article describes four demonstration projects that strive to promote responsible behavior with respect to parenting, child support payment, and employment among incarcerated and paroled parents with child support obligations. These projects, conducted in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas, with support from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and evaluated by the Center for Policy Research, led to a number of common outcomes and lessons. The projects revealed that inmates want help with child support, parenting, and employment and that prisons can be effective settings in which to conduct such interventions. Family reintegration programs were popular with inmates and may have helped to avoid the rupture of parent–child relationships commonly associated with incarceration. Although employment is the key to child support payment following release, rates of postrelease employment and earnings at all project sites were low and the employment programs were of limited utility in helping released offenders find jobs. Agencies dealing with child support, employment, and criminal justice need to adopt more effective policies with incarcerated parents including transitional job programs that guarantee immediate, subsidized employment upon release, child support guidelines that adjust for low earnings, and better training and education opportunities during incarceration. (author abstract)

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