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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: 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: Bruce, Donald; Thacker, Angela; Shone, Bryan; Ullrich, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    While U.S. welfare programs have traditionally targeted single-parent households, the “child-only” caseload is large and growing. The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s Office of Metropolitan Social Services contracted with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research to conduct a study of this important but often-overlooked segment of the welfare caseload. MSS desires to learn more about child-only cases with non-parent caretakers in Davidson County, such that a menu of enhanced services can be developed for the broader population of kinship caregivers. Non-parental child-only cases involve situations in which children reside with family members other than their own parents or non-related legal guardians, most often grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, or uncles. These cases, which comprise about 60 percent of Tennessee’s child-only caseload, are likely to have different needs than typical Families First assistance groups.

    Our study presents the first detailed statistical portrait of the current non-parent child-only...

    While U.S. welfare programs have traditionally targeted single-parent households, the “child-only” caseload is large and growing. The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s Office of Metropolitan Social Services contracted with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research to conduct a study of this important but often-overlooked segment of the welfare caseload. MSS desires to learn more about child-only cases with non-parent caretakers in Davidson County, such that a menu of enhanced services can be developed for the broader population of kinship caregivers. Non-parental child-only cases involve situations in which children reside with family members other than their own parents or non-related legal guardians, most often grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, or uncles. These cases, which comprise about 60 percent of Tennessee’s child-only caseload, are likely to have different needs than typical Families First assistance groups.

    Our study presents the first detailed statistical portrait of the current non-parent child-only caseload in Davidson County. We supplement administrative data from monthly Families First records with a detailed survey of non-parent caretakers of child-only cases in Davidson County. Of the 10,277 child-only cases with non-parent caretakers in the state of Tennessee, 1,285 resided in Davidson County and 617 were surveyed for this report.

    We find that non-parent caretakers of child-only cases in Davidson County are quite different from statewide averages in several important ways. They are less likely to be married and less likely to be grandparents of the eligible children. They are younger, more likely to be Black, and less likely to be disabled or to receive SSI than state averages. They received slightly more in Food Stamps and other unearned income. They are less likely to own a vehicle and more likely to rent than own their current housing. They also face higher monthly payments for mortgages, property taxes, and utility bills. Results indicate that non-parent caretakers of child-only cases are generally better off than caretakers of non-child-only cases. That said, a significant percentage of our Davidson County survey sample report having one or more difficulties. The areas for the most immediate and cost-effective impact appear to be information and referral, case management, education, and training.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: United States Government Accountability Office
    Year: 2011

    Between fiscal years 2000 and 2008, TANF child-only cases increased slightly but represented a greater share of the overall TANF caseload because cases with adults in the assistance unit experienced a significant decline. The national composition of the TANF child-only caseload has remained relatively unchanged since 2000. At the end of 2010, the majority of children receiving TANF lived with parents who were ineligible for cash assistance, and one-third lived with nonparent caregivers who were relatives or unrelated adults. However, this composition varies by state. For example, in Tennessee, almost 60 percent of the TANF child-only caseload included children living with nonparent caregivers, compared with about 30 percent in Texas.

    Most nonparent caregivers in TANF child-only cases are unmarried women who are over 50 years old, and research suggests that they often have low incomes and health problems. The children tend to be related to their caregiver, who is often a grandparent, and they remain on assistance for at least 2 years. Some of these children live with...

    Between fiscal years 2000 and 2008, TANF child-only cases increased slightly but represented a greater share of the overall TANF caseload because cases with adults in the assistance unit experienced a significant decline. The national composition of the TANF child-only caseload has remained relatively unchanged since 2000. At the end of 2010, the majority of children receiving TANF lived with parents who were ineligible for cash assistance, and one-third lived with nonparent caregivers who were relatives or unrelated adults. However, this composition varies by state. For example, in Tennessee, almost 60 percent of the TANF child-only caseload included children living with nonparent caregivers, compared with about 30 percent in Texas.

    Most nonparent caregivers in TANF child-only cases are unmarried women who are over 50 years old, and research suggests that they often have low incomes and health problems. The children tend to be related to their caregiver, who is often a grandparent, and they remain on assistance for at least 2 years. Some of these children live with nonparent caregivers as a result of parental abuse or neglect, substance abuse, incarceration, or mental illness, but these circumstances may or may not be known by the child welfare agency.

    The level of benefits and services available to children living with nonparents depends on the extent to which a child welfare agency becomes involved in the family's situation and the licensing status of the caregiver. Children in foster care with licensed foster parents are generally eligible for greater benefits and services than children in other living arrangements, who may receive TANF child-only assistance. For one child, the national average minimum monthly foster care payment is $511 while the average TANF child-only payment is $249. Most children live with relatives who do not receive foster care payments because they are not licensed foster parents or they are in informal arrangements without child welfare involvement. Other factors influencing the assistance made available to children in a relative's care include available federal funding, state budget constraints, and increased state efforts to identify relative caregivers to prevent children from being placed in the foster care system.

    Several state and local efforts are under way to coordinate TANF and child welfare services to better serve children living with relative caregivers, but information sharing is a challenge. Coordination efforts include colocating TANF and child welfare services and having staff from each agency work together to help relative caregivers access services. ACF currently provides grants to states and tribes to support collaboration between TANF and child welfare programs and plans to disseminate the findings. However, information and data sharing between the two programs does not occur consistently, which can hinder relatives' access to available benefits. For example, although HHS provides funding, guidance, and technical assistance to promote data sharing between TANF and child welfare programs, more than half of states reported obstacles to sharing data, such as privacy concerns. GAO recommends the Secretary of HHS direct ACF to provide more guidance on data sharing opportunities. HHS agreed with GAO's recommendation.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hayes, Eileen ; Sherwood, Kay
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2000

    The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum is intended to assist fathers in more effectively fulfilling their roles as parents, partners, and workers. It was developed over a number of years' use in the peer support groups that were the "glue" of the Parents' Fair Share Demonstration for low-income noncustodial fathers. Anyone operating a program for fathers -- or even for mothers -- will find the curriculum a rich source of useful, down-to-earth material organized into 20 sessions on dealing with issues such as male-female relationships, fathers as providers, managing conflict and anger (on and off the job), and race and racism. The curriculum materials are contained in 21 files in PDF format, each containing the material for one session of the curriculum. Use the links in the Contents section below to access the session files. Each session has bookmarks to specific activities within the session that can be accessed using the "show navigation pane" option on the Acrobat Reader toolbar. (author abstract)

    The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum is intended to assist fathers in more effectively fulfilling their roles as parents, partners, and workers. It was developed over a number of years' use in the peer support groups that were the "glue" of the Parents' Fair Share Demonstration for low-income noncustodial fathers. Anyone operating a program for fathers -- or even for mothers -- will find the curriculum a rich source of useful, down-to-earth material organized into 20 sessions on dealing with issues such as male-female relationships, fathers as providers, managing conflict and anger (on and off the job), and race and racism. The curriculum materials are contained in 21 files in PDF format, each containing the material for one session of the curriculum. Use the links in the Contents section below to access the session files. Each session has bookmarks to specific activities within the session that can be accessed using the "show navigation pane" option on the Acrobat Reader toolbar. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Slack, Tim; Myers, Candice A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    This study examines the extent to which geographic variation in Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation is explained by place-based factors, with special attention to the case of the three poorest regions of the United States: Central Appalachia, the Texas Borderland, and the Lower Mississippi Delta. We use descriptive statistics and regression models to assess the prevalence and correlates of county-level FSP participation circa 2005. Our findings show that the economic distress that has long characterized Appalachia, the Borderland, and the Delta clearly translates into greater reliance on the FSP relative to other areas of the country. State-level effects and local-level variations in poverty, labor market conditions, population structure, human capital, and residential context explain much of this reality. Yet, even after taking all of these factors into account, these regional geographies remain home to particularly high FSP participation. Our findings underscore the importance of considering these regions as key cases of study in the stratification of American society and...

    This study examines the extent to which geographic variation in Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation is explained by place-based factors, with special attention to the case of the three poorest regions of the United States: Central Appalachia, the Texas Borderland, and the Lower Mississippi Delta. We use descriptive statistics and regression models to assess the prevalence and correlates of county-level FSP participation circa 2005. Our findings show that the economic distress that has long characterized Appalachia, the Borderland, and the Delta clearly translates into greater reliance on the FSP relative to other areas of the country. State-level effects and local-level variations in poverty, labor market conditions, population structure, human capital, and residential context explain much of this reality. Yet, even after taking all of these factors into account, these regional geographies remain home to particularly high FSP participation. Our findings underscore the importance of considering these regions as key cases of study in the stratification of American society and hold a variety of implications for public policy. (author abstract)

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