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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: Card, David ; Robins, Philip K. ; Mijanovich, Tod ; Lin, Winston
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    This report presents an analysis of the early impacts of the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) on employment, earnings, and welfare receipt. (author abstract)

    This report presents an analysis of the early impacts of the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) on employment, earnings, and welfare receipt. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Social Research and Demonstration Corporation
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    This report summarizes the early findings from the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), including lessons learned from implementing the project, from focus groups held with participants, and from an examination of the program’s effects on employment, earnings, and income assistance receipt in the first 18 months after random assignment. (author abstract)

    This report summarizes the early findings from the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), including lessons learned from implementing the project, from focus groups held with participants, and from an examination of the program’s effects on employment, earnings, and income assistance receipt in the first 18 months after random assignment. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Card, David; Robins, Philip K. ; Lin, Winston
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    This working paper presents findings from an evaluation of “entry effects” associated with the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) and considers whether the availability of the supplement may have led some single parents to alter their behaviour to become eligible for SSP. (author abstract)

    This working paper presents findings from an evaluation of “entry effects” associated with the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) and considers whether the availability of the supplement may have led some single parents to alter their behaviour to become eligible for SSP. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Lin, Winston; Robins, Phillip K.; Card, David; Harknett, Kristen; Lui-Gurr, Susanna; Pan, Elsie C.; Mijanovich, Tod; Quets, Gail; Villeneuve, Patrick
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Proponents of welfare reform have struggled for nearly three decades to design programs that would increase work, reduce poverty, and reduce dependence on welfare. Initiatives to increase work have reduced welfare dependence, but have often had little effect on poverty. Initiatives that reduce poverty by providing more income have made recipients better off financially, but have discouraged work. In an effort to address all three of these welfare reform objectives, the Canadian government is testing a new approach. The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) is a research and demonstration project that offers an earnings supplement to welfare recipients who leave welfare for full-time work. The primary objectives of SSP are to increase economic self-sufficiency through work and to reduce welfare dependence. A secondary objective is to reduce poverty.

    Conceived and funded by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and managed by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), SSP offers a temporary earnings supplement to selected single-parent families receiving Income...

    Proponents of welfare reform have struggled for nearly three decades to design programs that would increase work, reduce poverty, and reduce dependence on welfare. Initiatives to increase work have reduced welfare dependence, but have often had little effect on poverty. Initiatives that reduce poverty by providing more income have made recipients better off financially, but have discouraged work. In an effort to address all three of these welfare reform objectives, the Canadian government is testing a new approach. The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) is a research and demonstration project that offers an earnings supplement to welfare recipients who leave welfare for full-time work. The primary objectives of SSP are to increase economic self-sufficiency through work and to reduce welfare dependence. A secondary objective is to reduce poverty.

    Conceived and funded by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and managed by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), SSP offers a temporary earnings supplement to selected single-parent families receiving Income Assistance (welfare) in British Columbia and New Brunswick. To collect the supplement (a monthly cash payment based on actual earnings), a single parent must work full-time and leave Income Assistance. She can then receive the supplement for up to three years, as long as she continues to work full-time and remains off Income Assistance.

    The supplement roughly doubles the earnings of many low-wage workers (before taxes and work-related expenses). SSP addresses a dilemma faced by many welfare recipients: Although they are troubled by their continuing dependence on welfare, work is not a financially attractive alternative, because entry-level wages are too low to make them better off than they would be if they were receiving Income Assistance. Nor would combining work and welfare raise their incomes significantly, because Income Assistance benefits are reduced by nearly the amount they earn. This situation discourages welfare recipients from obtaining jobs and leaving welfare, and many of those who do leave welfare for work eventually return to welfare. By offering a substantial, temporary supplement to earnings, SSP provides an incentive for welfare recipients to enter the full-time labour force and acquire work experience that may eventually lead to higher earnings and economic self-sufficiency.

    In developing this initiative, HRDC recognized the importance of testing the program prior to larger-scale implementation, since substantial program costs were at stake and, in times of tight budgets, the cost of a new program could be justified only if the program had significant benefits. Because many people leave welfare for work on their own, it was not known whether an earnings supplement program would lead to a significant increase in overall work effort above the level of employment that would have been reached without such a program. HRDC therefore decided to test the efficacy of an earnings supplement The feminine pronoun is used throughout this report because the vast majority of single parents receiving Income Assistance are women program under real-world operating conditions, using a random assignment evaluation design.

    Between November 1992 and March 1995, more than 6,000 single parents who were long-term Income Assistance recipients were invited to join the SSP research study. Each of those who accepted was assigned at random to one of two groups: Members of the program group were given the opportunity to participate in the earnings supplement program; members of the control group were not. Because the two groups are similar in all respects except whether they were allowed to participate in the program, the “impact” or effect of SSP can be measured by the difference between the program and control groups’ subsequent experiences. This report examines SSP’s impacts on employment, earnings, Income Assistance receipt, family incomes, poverty, and living conditions during the first 18 months after random assignment (that is, after sample members were randomly assigned to the program and control groups). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Morris, Pamela; Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    For several decades, policy-makers have implemented policies designed to encourage welfare recipients to work. Especially promising is the use of financial work incentives, which have proved to increase employment, reduce welfare dependence, and at the same time increase family income. Little is known, however, about how policies that encourage welfare recipients to work affect children in these families. Do policies that increase employment and income among single parents also benefit children? Or do children suffer because increased employment reduces the time they spend with their parents and increases their parents’ stress? Would the benefits of increased income help to overcome any negative effects of maternal employment? This report seeks to address these issues by investigating the effects on families and children of a research and demonstration project called the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP). SSP offers a rare opportunity to inform our understanding of how programs that increase employment and income may affect low-income children.

    Conceived and funded by Human...

    For several decades, policy-makers have implemented policies designed to encourage welfare recipients to work. Especially promising is the use of financial work incentives, which have proved to increase employment, reduce welfare dependence, and at the same time increase family income. Little is known, however, about how policies that encourage welfare recipients to work affect children in these families. Do policies that increase employment and income among single parents also benefit children? Or do children suffer because increased employment reduces the time they spend with their parents and increases their parents’ stress? Would the benefits of increased income help to overcome any negative effects of maternal employment? This report seeks to address these issues by investigating the effects on families and children of a research and demonstration project called the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP). SSP offers a rare opportunity to inform our understanding of how programs that increase employment and income may affect low-income children.

    Conceived and funded by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), SSP is a research and demonstration project to test a policy innovation that makes work pay better than welfare. Managed by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) and evaluated by staff at Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) and SRDC, SSP offered a temporary, but generous, earnings supplement to selected single parents who had been on Income Assistance (IA) for at least a year. To take advantage of the supplement offer, parents had to begin working full time (30 or more hours per week) and stop receiving Income Assistance within a year of being offered the supplement. The supplement was paid on top of earnings from full-time employment. Those who were eligible to receive it could do so for up to three years after finding full-time work, as long as they were working full time and not receiving Income Assistance. While collecting the supplement, a parent received an immediate payoff from work; in most cases, her total income before taxes was about twice her earnings. The supplement amount was not tied to family size or family structure and was a voluntary alternative to the IA program; recipients could not receive the supplement and Income Assistance at the same time.

    The Self-Sufficiency Project was designed as a social experiment using a rigorous, random-assignment research model. In the main SSP study, a group of 5,686 single parents (primarily single mothers) in New Brunswick and the lower mainland of British Columbia who had been on Income Assistance for at least a year were selected at random from the IA rolls. One-half of these parents was randomly assigned to a program group and offered the SSP supplement, while the remainder formed a control group. Because the two groups were similar in all respects except whether they were allowed to participate in the program, the “impact” or effect of SSP can be measured in the difference between the program and control groups’ subsequent experiences.

    Families were surveyed three years after entering the study and being randomly assigned to one of the research groups, and information on mothers’ economic outcomes and on child and family functioning was collected. A companion report on this sample examines the effects of SSP on parental outcomes such as employment, IA receipt, wage growth, and employment stability, as well as income level, material hardship, assets, and marriage. This report examines SSP’s impacts on children’s academic functioning (for example, achievement in school), cognitive functioning (for example, test scores), social behaviour, emotional well-being, and health. In addition, it explores impacts on maternal physical and emotional health, interactions between mothers and children, child care and children’s afterschool activities, school and residential changes, and family structure. These impacts were measured at 36 months after random assignment, during the period when members of the program group who “took up” the supplement (by finding work in the year after random assignment and leaving Income Assistance) were eligible to receive supplement payments. Those supplement takers who went to work shortly after random assignment were nearing the end of their eligibility, while those who found work at the end of their first year after random assignment could still receive the supplement for a full year after the 36-month survey. A future report will examine how children are faring after the three years of supplement eligibility has ended. (author abstract)

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