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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Schulman, Karen ; Matthews, Hannah ; Blank, Helen ; Ewen, Danielle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the...

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the extent to which they provide financial and other supports to help programs improve. In most states, child care programs participate on a voluntary basis, although a few states require all regulated programs to participate. Despite these variations in their QRIS, states share a common objective of encouraging better child care options so that more families have access to high-quality child care that will support their children’s learning and development.

    Given that QRIS are used in a growing number of states and communities, it is helpful to examine the range of approaches these states and communities are taking in designing and implementing QRIS. It is also important to examine the opportunities and barriers for QRIS in achieving the goals of improving the quality of child care and increasing access to high-quality child care for families, particularly for the most vulnerable families. QRIS can be a tool for improving the quality of care accessed by low-income families who cannot afford high-quality care on their own. To gain more insight into different strategies for shaping and implementing QRIS, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) interviewed 48 child care center directors from nine states about their experiences with QRIS. The directors offered valuable perspectives on what is working in their QRIS and how the systems could be improved. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Taylor, Tiffany
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    A great deal of research has explored welfare agency caseworkers, especially how they use discretion. Paperwork in county welfare bureaucracies, however, is often taken-for-granted by caseworkers and researchers studying welfare. In this case study of a county welfare program in rural North Carolina, I focus on how caseworkers use paperwork through document analysis, interviews, and observation data. My findings illustrate caseworkers spend far more time on paperwork than they actually spend assisting program participants find employment. Finally, I show how caseworkers use paperwork to feel effective in a job that offers little to help clients move from welfare to work.  (author abstract)

    A great deal of research has explored welfare agency caseworkers, especially how they use discretion. Paperwork in county welfare bureaucracies, however, is often taken-for-granted by caseworkers and researchers studying welfare. In this case study of a county welfare program in rural North Carolina, I focus on how caseworkers use paperwork through document analysis, interviews, and observation data. My findings illustrate caseworkers spend far more time on paperwork than they actually spend assisting program participants find employment. Finally, I show how caseworkers use paperwork to feel effective in a job that offers little to help clients move from welfare to work.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burch, Traci
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Mass imprisonment is one of the most important policy changes the United States has seen in the past forty years. In 2011, 1.6 million people, or 1 in 200 adults, in the U.S. were in prison (Guerino, Harrison, and Sabol 2011). Understanding the factors that affect neighborhood imprisonment rates is particularly important for improving the quality of life in disadvantaged communities. This paper examines the impact of one such factor, racial residential segregation, on imprisonment rates at the neighborhood level. Key to the strength of this enterprise are block-group level data on imprisonment, crime, and other demographic factors collected from state boards of elections, departments of corrections, departments of public health and the Census Bureau for 2000 for about 5,000 neighborhoods in North Carolina. These data also include information on county racial residential segregation from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Never before has such a comprehensive data collection been undertaken to determine the causal influence of racial residential...

    Mass imprisonment is one of the most important policy changes the United States has seen in the past forty years. In 2011, 1.6 million people, or 1 in 200 adults, in the U.S. were in prison (Guerino, Harrison, and Sabol 2011). Understanding the factors that affect neighborhood imprisonment rates is particularly important for improving the quality of life in disadvantaged communities. This paper examines the impact of one such factor, racial residential segregation, on imprisonment rates at the neighborhood level. Key to the strength of this enterprise are block-group level data on imprisonment, crime, and other demographic factors collected from state boards of elections, departments of corrections, departments of public health and the Census Bureau for 2000 for about 5,000 neighborhoods in North Carolina. These data also include information on county racial residential segregation from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Never before has such a comprehensive data collection been undertaken to determine the causal influence of racial residential segregation on mass imprisonment. These uniquely detailed and up-to-date data allow for precise regression analyses at the neighborhood level. The findings indicate that racial residential segregation dramatically affects neighborhood imprisonment rates. Hierarchical linear models that control for neighborhood characteristics such as racial diversity, crime, poverty, unemployment, median income, homeownership, and other factors show that neighborhoods in more segregated counties have higher imprisonment rates than neighborhoods in less segregated counties, all other factors being equal. On average, the difference in imprisonment between neighborhoods in counties with segregation levels of 0 and counties with segregation levels of 100 is about half of a percentage point or slightly more than one standard deviation.(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: De Marco, Allison
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    During the Great Recession the US experienced its longest and worst recession since the Great Depression, evidenced by high unemployment, unprecedented job losses, and long-term unemployment. Particularly hard hit, in North Carolina the unemployment rate remained higher for longer than the four previous recessions (NC Employment Security Commission, 2011). This study uses data from the North Carolina sample of the Family Life Project, a representative sample of predominantly low-income, rural families oversampled for African American and low income families, to examine how the economic downturn impacted residents’ employment in the rural South and how those conditions are related to economic strain and food insecurity. There is a comparative dearth of information available on rural poverty, however, it is critical to address these issues because of disproportionate rates of poverty and limited access to services in low wealth, rural communities. We use NC data from the 36-month home visit, collected 7/06 – 10/07, to capture conditions prior to the recession and the 58-month home...

    During the Great Recession the US experienced its longest and worst recession since the Great Depression, evidenced by high unemployment, unprecedented job losses, and long-term unemployment. Particularly hard hit, in North Carolina the unemployment rate remained higher for longer than the four previous recessions (NC Employment Security Commission, 2011). This study uses data from the North Carolina sample of the Family Life Project, a representative sample of predominantly low-income, rural families oversampled for African American and low income families, to examine how the economic downturn impacted residents’ employment in the rural South and how those conditions are related to economic strain and food insecurity. There is a comparative dearth of information available on rural poverty, however, it is critical to address these issues because of disproportionate rates of poverty and limited access to services in low wealth, rural communities. We use NC data from the 36-month home visit, collected 7/06 – 10/07, to capture conditions prior to the recession and the 58-month home visit, collected 7/08 – 12/09, to capture conditions during the recession. During the recession 36% of these NC families reported a major employment change (starting/stopping a job, major changes in responsibilities, such as a promotion/demotion, significant change in hours); 23.5% went from working a standard to a nonstandard shift (evening, night, and rotating); while over 10% saw their employment become less stable, moving from permanent to temporary jobs. In regression analysis, maternal education and rurality predicted work distress. Work distress was related to increased economic strain and lead to increased use TANF, SNAP, and Unemployment Insurance. Social support and SNAP use buffered experiences of food insecurity. This knowledge will enable policy-makers to make more informed decisions about how to modify policies and programs to better match the situations present in these communities.  (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)

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