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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: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel ; Wallace, Geoffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    After the federal welfare reform legislation of 1996, Wisconsin implemented a radically different approach to providing assistance to low-income families. The new program emphasizes employment and has an explicit "self-sufficiency ladder" of several tiers. We use administrative data to examine transitions among these tiers and factors associated with transitions up or off. We find that most participants move out of the cash benefit tiers quite quickly, and skipping an intermediate tier is about as common as the step-by-step movement off benefits. Relatively few women return to a lower tier once they have left. Our findings on factors associated with various transitions under TANF are broadly consistent with the previous literature on AFDC: those with more human capital (higher education, longer employment history, and shorter AFDC history) are more likely to move up or off. We find that child support is associated with transitions from the Community Service Jobs tier but not from the lowest tier. We note that this finding should be interpreted with caution, and call for more...

    After the federal welfare reform legislation of 1996, Wisconsin implemented a radically different approach to providing assistance to low-income families. The new program emphasizes employment and has an explicit "self-sufficiency ladder" of several tiers. We use administrative data to examine transitions among these tiers and factors associated with transitions up or off. We find that most participants move out of the cash benefit tiers quite quickly, and skipping an intermediate tier is about as common as the step-by-step movement off benefits. Relatively few women return to a lower tier once they have left. Our findings on factors associated with various transitions under TANF are broadly consistent with the previous literature on AFDC: those with more human capital (higher education, longer employment history, and shorter AFDC history) are more likely to move up or off. We find that child support is associated with transitions from the Community Service Jobs tier but not from the lowest tier. We note that this finding should be interpreted with caution, and call for more research examining the role of child support, given that time limits, work requirements, and the lack of an entitlement to cash assistance have made nonwelfare sources of income essential. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kauffman, Jo Ann
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRETORIA) gives American Indian tribes the option to run their own Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or leave these services under state administration. Eight case studies were conducted in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Arizona with the Klamath Tribes, Siletz Tribe, Warm Springs Confederated Tribes, Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of the Mohican Indians, Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, Oneida Nation, White Mountain Apache, and Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Document reviews and interviews with tribal and state officials and TANF participants provided data on coordination with the state, training and technical assistance, program design, impact of TANF on the tribe, and tribal views of TANF strengths and weaknesses. Six tribes designed and administered their own TANF program, one tribe left TANF entirely up to the state, and one tribe is serving as a contractor for the state's welfare reform program. Most tribal plans mirrored state plans but were flexible as to time limits and work hours and...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRETORIA) gives American Indian tribes the option to run their own Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or leave these services under state administration. Eight case studies were conducted in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Arizona with the Klamath Tribes, Siletz Tribe, Warm Springs Confederated Tribes, Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of the Mohican Indians, Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, Oneida Nation, White Mountain Apache, and Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Document reviews and interviews with tribal and state officials and TANF participants provided data on coordination with the state, training and technical assistance, program design, impact of TANF on the tribe, and tribal views of TANF strengths and weaknesses. Six tribes designed and administered their own TANF program, one tribe left TANF entirely up to the state, and one tribe is serving as a contractor for the state's welfare reform program. Most tribal plans mirrored state plans but were flexible as to time limits and work hours and expanded the definition of work activities to include education. Tribal and state relationships were key to successful efforts; assuring access to medical assistance and food stamps was not always a priority; developing new job opportunities was challenging; and unmet needs persisted for alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment. Lessons learned include TANF affected tribes regardless of whether they administered programs; restructuring tribal programs benefitted clients; welfare reform is about work and community support; there was no one model for a TANF effort; medical assistance and food stamps need to be coordinated with TANF; and coordination between tribes and states is critical. Three appendices present methodology, interviewees, and acronyms. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ybarra, Marci
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2014

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program uses work exemptions to accommodate the needs of mothers with newborns, and those who cannot work because of an injury or other documented disability. Since these circumstances differ greatly from those of participants who are subject to TANF work requirements, it is possible that work-exempt participants have substantially different TANF participation and socioeconomic outcomes. Understanding differences in characteristics and patterns of program participation, work, and earnings between work-exempt and work required TANF participants may also have implications for how the TANF system can best serve different types of users. In this article, I describe work done with my colleague Jennifer Noyes, using Wisconsin administrative data to examine patterns of TANF use and employment among work-exempt and other TANF participants. (author abstract) 

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program uses work exemptions to accommodate the needs of mothers with newborns, and those who cannot work because of an injury or other documented disability. Since these circumstances differ greatly from those of participants who are subject to TANF work requirements, it is possible that work-exempt participants have substantially different TANF participation and socioeconomic outcomes. Understanding differences in characteristics and patterns of program participation, work, and earnings between work-exempt and work required TANF participants may also have implications for how the TANF system can best serve different types of users. In this article, I describe work done with my colleague Jennifer Noyes, using Wisconsin administrative data to examine patterns of TANF use and employment among work-exempt and other TANF participants. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Fleischer, Wendy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This policy brief summarizes key results and lessons learned from Casey's Jobs Initiative as well as implications for federal welfare policy. Highlighting the efforts of six workforce development intermediaries, the brief summarizes a range of programs and strategies that help low-skilled, low-income workers in urban areas to improve their employment potential over time. (author abstract)

    This policy brief summarizes key results and lessons learned from Casey's Jobs Initiative as well as implications for federal welfare policy. Highlighting the efforts of six workforce development intermediaries, the brief summarizes a range of programs and strategies that help low-skilled, low-income workers in urban areas to improve their employment potential over time. (author abstract)

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