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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: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Pavetti, LaDonna; Ratcliffe, Caroline; Riedinger, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of...

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of the study states have experienced significant declines in their cash assistance caseloads that are well above the national average, low unemployment and strong economies.

    Work-oriented reforms in place at the time of this study were implemented at different points between 1993 and 1996. Since the passage of PRWORA, Indiana and Wisconsin both implemented new work-oriented reforms while Virginia, Massachusetts, and Oregon have made few changes.

    Thus, while this study captures state experiences at one point in time, it also reflects states at different stages in their own evolution toward a more employment focused welfare system. It is also important to note that this study took place too soon after TANF went into effect to fully capture the implications and impact of the new federal welfare reform law (e.g., progressively steeper participation rate requirements, lifetime limit on benefit receipt). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wyckoff, Laura ; McVay, Mary ; Wallace, Dee
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2009

    Research shows that nearly half of all children born in the US today will be eligible for child support before they reach the age of 18. Many low-income, noncustodial fathers—who often struggle to make these payments—will seek services from workforce development organizations. Yet, understanding the child support enforcement system can be challenging—not only for noncustodial fathers but also for the workforce organizations that want to assist them. 

    Navigating the Child Support System aims to help meet this challenge by providing information, resources and tools to use at the intersection of workforce development and child support enforcement. The guide is based on lessons from the Fathers at Work initiative, a three-year, six-site demonstration funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which was designed to help young, noncustodial fathers achieve increased employment and earnings, involvement in their children's lives and more consistent financial support of their children. 

    The guide describes child support enforcement regulations, policies and actions that...

    Research shows that nearly half of all children born in the US today will be eligible for child support before they reach the age of 18. Many low-income, noncustodial fathers—who often struggle to make these payments—will seek services from workforce development organizations. Yet, understanding the child support enforcement system can be challenging—not only for noncustodial fathers but also for the workforce organizations that want to assist them. 

    Navigating the Child Support System aims to help meet this challenge by providing information, resources and tools to use at the intersection of workforce development and child support enforcement. The guide is based on lessons from the Fathers at Work initiative, a three-year, six-site demonstration funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which was designed to help young, noncustodial fathers achieve increased employment and earnings, involvement in their children's lives and more consistent financial support of their children. 

    The guide describes child support enforcement regulations, policies and actions that can affect fathers' willingness to seek formal employment and participate in the system, and provides examples of four services that organizations might offer to benefit fathers and their families. Navigating the Child Support System offers concrete suggestions for incorporating child support services into workforce organizations' assistance to low-income, male participants, including developing partnerships with local child support enforcement agencies. It includes seven tools for learning about child support and setting goals for enhancing services to noncustodial fathers. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bloom, Dan; Farrell, Mary; Fink, Barbara; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Few features of the 1990s welfare reforms have generated as much attention and controversy as time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits first emerged at the state level and subsequently became a central feature of federal welfare policy in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which imposed a 60-month time limit on federally funded assistance for most families.

    To inform discussions about the reauthorization of PRWORA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of what is known about time limits. The project included a survey of state welfare agencies (conducted for MDRC by The Lewin Group), site visits to examine the implementation of time limits, and a review of research on time limits.

    Though a simple idea, time limits raise a host of complex issues in practice. Many experts believe that time limits have played a key role in reshaping welfare, but the knowledge base about this key policy change is still...

    Few features of the 1990s welfare reforms have generated as much attention and controversy as time limits on benefit receipt. Time limits first emerged at the state level and subsequently became a central feature of federal welfare policy in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which imposed a 60-month time limit on federally funded assistance for most families.

    To inform discussions about the reauthorization of PRWORA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of what is known about time limits. The project included a survey of state welfare agencies (conducted for MDRC by The Lewin Group), site visits to examine the implementation of time limits, and a review of research on time limits.

    Though a simple idea, time limits raise a host of complex issues in practice. Many experts believe that time limits have played a key role in reshaping welfare, but the knowledge base about this key policy change is still thin. Few families have reached the federal time limit, and it is too early to draw conclusions about how states will respond as more families reach limits or how families will fare without benefits over the long-term, in varying economic conditions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Nguyen, Lynna
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2013

    Public transportation is a crucial part of the economic and social fabric of metropolitan areas. However, transit ridership has been decreasing over the decades, putting preference on the convenience of owning personal vehicles. It is seen that low income individuals are less likely to own a vehicle, thus becoming dependents on the public transportation system. However, there are few studies performed to analyze how effectively transit connects people and jobs within and across these metropolitan areas. And as a result, few federal and state programs related to transportation use factors like job accessibility via transit to make investment decisions. There are even fewer studies and programs relating to subsidizing vehicle ownership. Analyzing characteristics of low income individuals, understanding travel patterns, job availability, accessibility, and trip chaining are the methods used in this analysis to better understand the transportation needs of low income individuals. In addition, understanding the relationship that transit and personal vehicles play on the location of...

    Public transportation is a crucial part of the economic and social fabric of metropolitan areas. However, transit ridership has been decreasing over the decades, putting preference on the convenience of owning personal vehicles. It is seen that low income individuals are less likely to own a vehicle, thus becoming dependents on the public transportation system. However, there are few studies performed to analyze how effectively transit connects people and jobs within and across these metropolitan areas. And as a result, few federal and state programs related to transportation use factors like job accessibility via transit to make investment decisions. There are even fewer studies and programs relating to subsidizing vehicle ownership. Analyzing characteristics of low income individuals, understanding travel patterns, job availability, accessibility, and trip chaining are the methods used in this analysis to better understand the transportation needs of low income individuals. In addition, understanding the relationship that transit and personal vehicles play on the location of low income individuals and low income employment is crucial in creating and implementing programs that will improve and maintain transit and vehicle ownership options for metropolitan residents.(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cable, Dustin; Tippett, Rebecca M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The current presidential election cycle provides a platform for debate about the “social safety net.” In the broadest terms, social safety net programs provide assistance for low-income households, and help insure individuals against the risk of falling into poverty.

    Social safety net proponents point to the salutary effects of alleviating the impact of poverty, and the income security provided to those individuals who, through no fault of their own, are at economic risk. Program critics argue that income assistance creates a cycle of dependence and dampens workforce participation.

    Effective and significant reform of these programs requires understanding that the social safety net includes both social insurance programs (those programs that provide benefits to all people across the economic spectrum) and means-tested programs (those targeted to individuals or families with low income). While some of these programs originated in response to widespread economic stress in the Great Depression, presidents and members of Congress from both political parties have...

    The current presidential election cycle provides a platform for debate about the “social safety net.” In the broadest terms, social safety net programs provide assistance for low-income households, and help insure individuals against the risk of falling into poverty.

    Social safety net proponents point to the salutary effects of alleviating the impact of poverty, and the income security provided to those individuals who, through no fault of their own, are at economic risk. Program critics argue that income assistance creates a cycle of dependence and dampens workforce participation.

    Effective and significant reform of these programs requires understanding that the social safety net includes both social insurance programs (those programs that provide benefits to all people across the economic spectrum) and means-tested programs (those targeted to individuals or families with low income). While some of these programs originated in response to widespread economic stress in the Great Depression, presidents and members of Congress from both political parties have initiated new programs, and changes to existing programs, in response to contemporary concerns. Today’s social safety net programs reflect the accumulation of efforts over time to express national values about the role of government, the private sector, and individual action in securing economic security for individuals, families, and communities.

    Forty-six percent of Virginia households receive benefits from at least one social safety net program. This paper examines these programs and their impact in Virginia by addressing the following questions:

    • What is the social safety net? What are the goals of the programs? How did they begin, and how have they changed over time?
    • What social safety net programs are provided to Virginians? Who receives benefits, and what benefits do they receive?
    • Do program benefits protect individuals or families in Virginia from falling into poverty, lessen the impact of poverty, or neither?

    (author introduction)

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