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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: 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: Edin, Kathryn; Kefalas, Maria
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2011

    Millie Acevedo bore her first child before the age of 16 and dropped out of high school to care for her newborn. Now 27, she is the unmarried mother of three and is raising her kids in one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods. Would she and her children be better off if she had waited to have them and had married their father first? Why do so many poor American youth like Millie continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them?

    Over a span of five years, sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas talked in-depth with 162 low-income single moms like Millie to learn how they think about marriage and family. Promises I Can Keep offers an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to these women and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead. (author abstract)

    Millie Acevedo bore her first child before the age of 16 and dropped out of high school to care for her newborn. Now 27, she is the unmarried mother of three and is raising her kids in one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods. Would she and her children be better off if she had waited to have them and had married their father first? Why do so many poor American youth like Millie continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them?

    Over a span of five years, sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas talked in-depth with 162 low-income single moms like Millie to learn how they think about marriage and family. Promises I Can Keep offers an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to these women and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Johnson-Staub, Christine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    This guide aims to help states look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. Why? Because the sources of child care funding historically available to states have limited supply and allowable uses, and comprehensive services are critical to the success of children – especially those who are most at risk for developmental challenges and delays. The information in this guide can help states go beyond Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to build on early childhood systems and improve access to services for children. Partnerships expanding access to comprehensive services in child care and early education settings can take different forms. They can build program staff’s capacity to directly provide services to children, or they can bring other professionals (e.g. mental health consultants, nurses, etc.) and resources into early childhood settings to collaborate with child care and early education staff. In this...

    This guide aims to help states look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. Why? Because the sources of child care funding historically available to states have limited supply and allowable uses, and comprehensive services are critical to the success of children – especially those who are most at risk for developmental challenges and delays. The information in this guide can help states go beyond Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to build on early childhood systems and improve access to services for children. Partnerships expanding access to comprehensive services in child care and early education settings can take different forms. They can build program staff’s capacity to directly provide services to children, or they can bring other professionals (e.g. mental health consultants, nurses, etc.) and resources into early childhood settings to collaborate with child care and early education staff. In this guide, we explore partnerships using federal funding streams to provide comprehensive services to children in early childhood settings. These partnerships may be administered directly by child care and early education agencies or by partner agencies with authority over the funds.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Toldson, Ivory A. ; Crowell, Candice
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The purpose of this project is to provide an analysis of policy issues affecting middle school and high school-aged boys and young men of color in the areas of education, health, and pathways to employment. This policy scan and subsequent recommendations will provide valuable background knowledge to inform the future direction of policy efforts for the target population. In addition, findings from this analysis will be used to inform the framing of future policy discussions and implementation at the national, state, and local level. CLASP designed four surveys to gather data about policies and programming affecting men and boys of color. Participants were instructed to select a survey to complete based on their area of expertise. If participants had expertise in multiple areas, they were encouraged to complete multiple surveys. The target audience included anyone involved with providing services, programming, research, or policy on education, employment, and health for males of color. The four surveys included: (1) Middle School Aged Boys; (2) High School Aged Young Men; (3)...

    The purpose of this project is to provide an analysis of policy issues affecting middle school and high school-aged boys and young men of color in the areas of education, health, and pathways to employment. This policy scan and subsequent recommendations will provide valuable background knowledge to inform the future direction of policy efforts for the target population. In addition, findings from this analysis will be used to inform the framing of future policy discussions and implementation at the national, state, and local level. CLASP designed four surveys to gather data about policies and programming affecting men and boys of color. Participants were instructed to select a survey to complete based on their area of expertise. If participants had expertise in multiple areas, they were encouraged to complete multiple surveys. The target audience included anyone involved with providing services, programming, research, or policy on education, employment, and health for males of color. The four surveys included: (1) Middle School Aged Boys; (2) High School Aged Young Men; (3) Health; and (4) Out-of-School Young Men. Each survey consisted of demographic questions that detailed participants' sex, city and state of residence, industry, and position type. Ten issues were listed for participants to rank according to their level of importance. Volunteers were then asked to answer open-ended/qualitative questions about the top three issues they chose. The open-ended questions included assessing whether they knew of local or national agencies working to address the issues and whether policy supported initiatives around those issues. Survey results are presented. Transcript of Telephone interviews is appended. (author abstract)

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