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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: 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)

  • Individual Author: Paulsell, Diane; Max, Jeffrey; Derr, Michelle; Burwick, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The public workforce investment system aims to serve all job seekers, but many of those most in need of help do not use it. Language barriers, dislike or fear of government agencies, limited awareness of available services, and difficulties using self-directed services are some of the challenges that may limit the accessibility of the system. While not traditionally partners in the workforce investment system, small, grassroots faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) may be well positioned to serve people who do not currently use the public workforce system. Some job seekers may be more likely to access services from FBCOs because they typically have earned the trust of local community members and understand their needs. Moreover, FBCOs often provide personal, flexible, and comprehensive services that are well suited to people who face multiple barriers to employment.

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized that by filling a service gap and serving some of the neediest populations, FBCOs have the potential to be valuable partners in the workforce...

    The public workforce investment system aims to serve all job seekers, but many of those most in need of help do not use it. Language barriers, dislike or fear of government agencies, limited awareness of available services, and difficulties using self-directed services are some of the challenges that may limit the accessibility of the system. While not traditionally partners in the workforce investment system, small, grassroots faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) may be well positioned to serve people who do not currently use the public workforce system. Some job seekers may be more likely to access services from FBCOs because they typically have earned the trust of local community members and understand their needs. Moreover, FBCOs often provide personal, flexible, and comprehensive services that are well suited to people who face multiple barriers to employment.

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized that by filling a service gap and serving some of the neediest populations, FBCOs have the potential to be valuable partners in the workforce investment system. Collaborating with FBCOs may also allow the government to leverage its workforce investment funds by taking advantage of the volunteers, donated goods and services, and other resources FBCOs are often able to access. Moreover, an FBCO’s knowledge of its community and its needs may help workforce investment agencies plan and deliver services more effectively.

    Collaborations between government agencies and FBCOs may not, however, come easily. In many communities, workforce investment agencies and grassroots FBCOs have little experience working together. Government agencies may not know about the work of FBCOs, and FBCOs may be unaware of the ways that public agencies could help their clients. Each may perceive the other’s mission as different from its own. In addition, government agencies may be concerned about their customers’ rights and legal issues when services are provided by faith-based organizations (FBOs), and the limited administrative and service capacity of some FBCOs may also be a barrier to collaborative relationships.

    Cognizant of the potential barriers to these collaborations, DOL has since 2002 granted over $30 million to promote and sustain collaborations between FBCOs and the workforce investment system. These grants have been made to FBCOs, states, intermediaries, and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). Intermediaries are larger nonprofit faith- or community-based agencies that can facilitate collaboration with smaller, grassroots organizations. WIBs are state or local entities that oversee the local workforce investment systems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Albelda, Randy; Boushey, Heather
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This report is the culmination of a multi-state study on the extent to which work supports—policies to ensure families can access basics, such as health care, child care, food and housing—fill in the gaps for families whose jobs offer low wages or inadequate benefits.

    Our findings are clear. To fill in the gaps, we need to focus on better wages, mandates for employers to provide employment-based benefits, and work supports—or some combination of the three. Better wages and improved employment-based benefits for health care, retirement, and paid time off could make every job a good job. But there is a critical role for public work supports. Work supports must reach all families who need them. Despite low incomes, many families with low-wage workers do not have access to work supports because they are either ineligible or not receiving supports to which they are entitled. This problem is not unique to one locality, but is common across all of the states in our study. The work support that is most effective at reaching families is the EITC, and we should use this as a model...

    This report is the culmination of a multi-state study on the extent to which work supports—policies to ensure families can access basics, such as health care, child care, food and housing—fill in the gaps for families whose jobs offer low wages or inadequate benefits.

    Our findings are clear. To fill in the gaps, we need to focus on better wages, mandates for employers to provide employment-based benefits, and work supports—or some combination of the three. Better wages and improved employment-based benefits for health care, retirement, and paid time off could make every job a good job. But there is a critical role for public work supports. Work supports must reach all families who need them. Despite low incomes, many families with low-wage workers do not have access to work supports because they are either ineligible or not receiving supports to which they are entitled. This problem is not unique to one locality, but is common across all of the states in our study. The work support that is most effective at reaching families is the EITC, and we should use this as a model to simplify the eligibility criteria and application requirements for other work supports. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Levy, Diane K. ; Woolley, Mark
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    In addition to providing residents with an improved living environment, the HOPE VI program seeks to help them attain self-sufficiency. However, while there have been dramatic improvements in quality of life, there have been no overall changes in employment. HOPE VI residents' poor health impedes their ability to work. Efforts that address physical and mental health and other key barriers, such as education and safe, affordable child care availability, could prove more effective than job training or placement efforts alone in improving the chances that former and current public housing residents move into employment or retain jobs they already have. (author abstract)

    In addition to providing residents with an improved living environment, the HOPE VI program seeks to help them attain self-sufficiency. However, while there have been dramatic improvements in quality of life, there have been no overall changes in employment. HOPE VI residents' poor health impedes their ability to work. Efforts that address physical and mental health and other key barriers, such as education and safe, affordable child care availability, could prove more effective than job training or placement efforts alone in improving the chances that former and current public housing residents move into employment or retain jobs they already have. (author abstract)

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