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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: Wiedrich, Kasey; Griffin, Kate; Chilton, Mariana; Lehman, Gretchen
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    ...

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    Kate Griffin (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation describes data from a financial education program for TANF recipients that provides training in budgeting and credit management.  The pilot was started in July 2013 with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

    • Financial Management Strategies of TANF and SNAP Recipients: Lessons for Policy Makers and Administrators

    Mariana Chilton (Drexel University)

    The presentation describes a completed research project that looks at the impact of the AFCO financial counseling program for families leaving TANF and entering into a work-ready context.

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

  • Individual Author: DeParle, Jason
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2004

    In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces  their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

    With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why. (author abstract)

    In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces  their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

    With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Okuyama, Kumiko ; Weber, Roberta B.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act  of 1996, commonly known as PRWORA, emphasizes employment. With its emphasis on time limit sand work requirements, PRWORA makes it imperative that low-income parents find both a job and child care. A study of employment patterns of low-income parents using child care subsidies in order to work provides a valuable opportunity to increase our knowledge of an important characteristic of low-income working parents.

    For any working parent, finding stable employment with enough flexibility to meet parental responsibilities is not an easy task, and the challenge is greater for those who lack financial resources, education, and work experience. Knowing employment patterns of low-income parents is a first step toward understanding conditions of the working poor with children. A systematic analysis of where parents receiving child care subsidies are employed enhances our understanding of what is happening to families moving out of welfare. In which occupations are they finding jobs? Which...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act  of 1996, commonly known as PRWORA, emphasizes employment. With its emphasis on time limit sand work requirements, PRWORA makes it imperative that low-income parents find both a job and child care. A study of employment patterns of low-income parents using child care subsidies in order to work provides a valuable opportunity to increase our knowledge of an important characteristic of low-income working parents.

    For any working parent, finding stable employment with enough flexibility to meet parental responsibilities is not an easy task, and the challenge is greater for those who lack financial resources, education, and work experience. Knowing employment patterns of low-income parents is a first step toward understanding conditions of the working poor with children. A systematic analysis of where parents receiving child care subsidies are employed enhances our understanding of what is happening to families moving out of welfare. In which occupations are they finding jobs? Which industries are they able to penetrate? Prior to the studies that form the basis of this paper, there appeared to be no systematic study of where parents receiving child care subsidies are employed.

    This paper is a product of the Child Care Policy Research Consortium, a collaborative group of researchers that carries out policy-relevant research through partnerships of researchers, state child care administrators, and child care resource and referral practitioners. Through this national collaboration of state partnerships, the Consortium is able to report cross-state findings and compare results from seven studies in four states and the District of Columbia with regard to the employment of parents receiving subsidies.

    The first Consortium study, “Parents receiving subsidized child care: Where do they work?” (Lee, Ohlandt, and Witte, 1996) has had significant impacts on both research and policies. The significance of their paper is four-fold. First, they recognized and responded to the importance of this topic and the lack of previous studies. Second, the authors provided a simple but elegant methodology to analyze employment patterns of the working poor with children. Third, their paper had an impact on state policy. Their findings led to the passage of the Florida Child Care Executive Partnership Act in 1996.

    Through the Child Care Executive Partnership, the state of Florida matches child care contributions of employers dollar for dollar and creates pools of funds to provide child care subsidies for subsidy-eligible workers. This increases the funds available for subsidies and builds support for child care subsidies in the business community. Finally, the study provided a model that is easily replicated at either county or state levels.

    This document is organized as follows. The next section presents background of the seven studies. In the third section, we summarize the common methodology used in the studies and describe variations among the studies. In the fourth section, we discuss findings and make recommendations for further studies. In the last section, we examine the study implications for employers, child care providers, businesses, and policy makers. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Allard, Scott
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Program accessibility and stability are critical components of any effort to cultivate greater capacity among faith-based and community-based social service organizations. Working poor populations are more likely to benefit from programs if they are nearby, easily accessible, and operate with consistency. Yet, we know very little about where faith-based service organizations (FBOs) and secular nonprofits are located, or whether certain types of providers exhibit more stability than others. Drawing on unique survey data on nonprofit service providers, this paper compares the characteristics of FBOs and secular organizations in several urban and rural communities. FBOs that integrate faith into service delivery and secular nonprofit organizations are more accessible to poor populations than FBOs that do not integrate religious elements into service provision. At the same time, I find that large percentages of FBOs and secular nonprofits experience funding volatility and program instability each year. (author abstract)

    Program accessibility and stability are critical components of any effort to cultivate greater capacity among faith-based and community-based social service organizations. Working poor populations are more likely to benefit from programs if they are nearby, easily accessible, and operate with consistency. Yet, we know very little about where faith-based service organizations (FBOs) and secular nonprofits are located, or whether certain types of providers exhibit more stability than others. Drawing on unique survey data on nonprofit service providers, this paper compares the characteristics of FBOs and secular organizations in several urban and rural communities. FBOs that integrate faith into service delivery and secular nonprofit organizations are more accessible to poor populations than FBOs that do not integrate religious elements into service provision. At the same time, I find that large percentages of FBOs and secular nonprofits experience funding volatility and program instability each year. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pearson, Jessica; Thoennes, Nancy; Kaunelis, Rasa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    This Office of Child Support Enforcement Special Improvement Project was undertaken to examine the features of effective debt compromise programs and to generate empirical information on the outcomes they produce. To identify best practices, the Center for Policy Research (CPR) convened a two-day conference in June 2009 with representatives of eight states that have experience initiating and operating debt compromise programs. In the course of discussing the strengths and limitations of their programs, representatives identified a variety of program features and approaches that they believed would be beneficial for jurisdictions interested in debt compromise. This included recommendations on appropriate program goals, the populations that states should target, effective rules and requirements to realize various types of write-offs, treatment of debt owed to custodial parents, and methods of tracking debt compromise cases.

    To generate empirical information on the populations served in actual debt compromise programs, the treatments they receive and the outcomes of their...

    This Office of Child Support Enforcement Special Improvement Project was undertaken to examine the features of effective debt compromise programs and to generate empirical information on the outcomes they produce. To identify best practices, the Center for Policy Research (CPR) convened a two-day conference in June 2009 with representatives of eight states that have experience initiating and operating debt compromise programs. In the course of discussing the strengths and limitations of their programs, representatives identified a variety of program features and approaches that they believed would be beneficial for jurisdictions interested in debt compromise. This included recommendations on appropriate program goals, the populations that states should target, effective rules and requirements to realize various types of write-offs, treatment of debt owed to custodial parents, and methods of tracking debt compromise cases.

    To generate empirical information on the populations served in actual debt compromise programs, the treatments they receive and the outcomes of their participation as measured by their debt levels and payment behaviors, CPR collected and analyzed information on 688 individuals enrolled in debt compromise programs in four states — California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota — and in Washington, D.C. Programs in all five settings accept obligors with current support obligations as well as those who only have arrears-only cases. For arrears-only cases, programs have the capacity to accept lump-sum payments as well as to develop payment plans that involve making monthly arrears payments over a 6 to 36-month period of time. Through a coordinated, cross-site data collection effort, comparable information was obtained on samples of cases that enrolled in the programs. The following are key findings from the analysis of this data.

    • At four of the five sites, participants paid a higher percentage of their obligation following enrollment in the debt compromise program compared with the pre-enrollment period. This considered both lump sum and monthly payments. The pre and post differences at statically significant in two of the four sites.
    • Calculating the average due in current support and monthly arrears in the 24 months prior to enrollment and in the 24 months post-enrollment shows improvements at most sites. There was an average increase of 32 percentage points in Washington, D.C., 27 percent in Maryland, 23 percent in California, and 14 percent in Illinois.
    • Payments in Minnesota improved by 7 percentage points in the 24 months following a debt compromise treatment. Unlike the other sites, Minnesota granted debt compromise to cases identified by the automated system and/or child support workers as having high debt levels due to interest charges, birthing costs, incarceration, and other factors that impeded their ability to pay. These obligors were selected for debt adjustments that typically were invisible to them.

    (author abstract)

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