Skip to main content
Back to Top

SSRC Library

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.

Writing a paper? Working on a literature review? Citing research in a funding proposal? Use the SSRC Citation Assistance Tool to compile citations.

  • Conduct a search and filter parameters as desired.
  • "Check" the box next to the resources for which you would like a citation.
  • Select "Download Selected Citation" at the top of the Library Search Page.
  • Select your export style:
    • Text File.
    • RIS Format.
    • APA format.
  • Select submit and download your citations.

The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Pavetti, LaDonna; Derr, Michelle K.; Hesketh, Heather
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) made unprecedented changes to the welfare system in the United States, eliminating the 60 year-old AFDC program and replacing it with a block grant to states to create the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. A system that once emphasized the accurate delivery of cash benefits is now focused on encouraging families to make the transition from welfare to work. As a part of this shift, the range of circumstances in which families' welfare benefits can be reduced or canceled has dramatically increased. In particular, sanctions--financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements--have become central features of most states' TANF programs. The primary goal of sanctions is to convince clients that there are immediate consequences associated with the decisions they make. Sanctions have long been used to enforce program requirements and, with the emergence of "full-family" sanctions that remove all of a family's cash grant, have taken on a much greater significance.

    ...

    The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) made unprecedented changes to the welfare system in the United States, eliminating the 60 year-old AFDC program and replacing it with a block grant to states to create the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. A system that once emphasized the accurate delivery of cash benefits is now focused on encouraging families to make the transition from welfare to work. As a part of this shift, the range of circumstances in which families' welfare benefits can be reduced or canceled has dramatically increased. In particular, sanctions--financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements--have become central features of most states' TANF programs. The primary goal of sanctions is to convince clients that there are immediate consequences associated with the decisions they make. Sanctions have long been used to enforce program requirements and, with the emergence of "full-family" sanctions that remove all of a family's cash grant, have taken on a much greater significance.

    Although there is a general consensus that sanctions have been one of the most important policy changes implemented through state welfare reform efforts, they are among the least studied. In this paper, we summarize what is known about the role they play in welfare reform. The first section is a review of state TANF sanction policies. In this section, we use existing information to describe the structure and stringency of work-oriented sanctions, their cost, the context in which they are applied, and strategies to encourage compliance. The second section is a review of research findings on sanctions--including the incidence and duration of sanctions, characteristics and circumstances of sanctioned families, and the impacts and the implementation of sanctions. The final section concludes with a summary of the gaps in our knowledge of the role of sanctions in welfare reform. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gueron, Judith; Pauly, Edward
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1991

    From Welfare to Work appears at a critical moment, when all fifty states are wrestling with tough budgetary and program choices as they implement the new federal welfare reforms. This book is a definitive analysis of the landmark social research that has directly informed those choices: the rigorous evaluation of programs designed to help welfare recipients become employed and self-sufficient. It discusses forty-five past and current studies, focusing on the series of seminal evaluations conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation over the last fifteen years.

    Which of these welfare-to-work programs have worked? For whom and at what cost? In answering these key questions, the authors clearly delineate the trade-offs facing policymakers as they strive to achieve the multiple goals of alleviating poverty, helping the most disadvantaged, curtailing dependence, and effecting welfare savings. The authors present compelling evidence that the generally low-cost, primarily job search-oriented programs of the late 1980s achieved sustained earnings gains and welfare...

    From Welfare to Work appears at a critical moment, when all fifty states are wrestling with tough budgetary and program choices as they implement the new federal welfare reforms. This book is a definitive analysis of the landmark social research that has directly informed those choices: the rigorous evaluation of programs designed to help welfare recipients become employed and self-sufficient. It discusses forty-five past and current studies, focusing on the series of seminal evaluations conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation over the last fifteen years.

    Which of these welfare-to-work programs have worked? For whom and at what cost? In answering these key questions, the authors clearly delineate the trade-offs facing policymakers as they strive to achieve the multiple goals of alleviating poverty, helping the most disadvantaged, curtailing dependence, and effecting welfare savings. The authors present compelling evidence that the generally low-cost, primarily job search-oriented programs of the late 1980s achieved sustained earnings gains and welfare savings. However, getting people out of poverty and helping those who are most disadvantaged may require some intensive, higher-cost services such as education and training. The authors explore a range of studies now in progress that will address these and other urgent issues. They also point to encouraging results from programs that were operating in San Diego and Baltimore, which suggest the potential value of a mixed strategy: combining job search and other low-cost activities for a broad portion of the caseload with more specialized services for smaller groups.

    Offering both an authoritative synthesis of work already done and recommendations for future innovation, From Welfare to Work will be the standard resource and required reading for practitioners and students in the social policy, social welfare, and academic communities. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Goldberg, Heidi; Schott, Liz
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    While this report was issued prior to the enactment of the DRA, it includes useful research on sanctions and examples of how states can craft a sanction policy that reduces noncompliance and uncovers underlying barriers to participation.

    Analysis of data from states and other sources indicates that under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, states and counties have imposed sanctions that reduced or terminated benefits to several hundred thousand families.  Under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, states and counties have imposed sanctions that reduced or terminated benefits to hundreds of thousands of families. Under the federal law, states must require recipients to participate in work activities and must impose financial penalties on families that refuse, without good cause, to do so. When sanctions are imposed, some or all family members lose TANF cash benefits. The benefit loss may be partial or complete and it may be temporary or permanent, depending on the policies chosen by each state.

    Many states have...

    While this report was issued prior to the enactment of the DRA, it includes useful research on sanctions and examples of how states can craft a sanction policy that reduces noncompliance and uncovers underlying barriers to participation.

    Analysis of data from states and other sources indicates that under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, states and counties have imposed sanctions that reduced or terminated benefits to several hundred thousand families.  Under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, states and counties have imposed sanctions that reduced or terminated benefits to hundreds of thousands of families. Under the federal law, states must require recipients to participate in work activities and must impose financial penalties on families that refuse, without good cause, to do so. When sanctions are imposed, some or all family members lose TANF cash benefits. The benefit loss may be partial or complete and it may be temporary or permanent, depending on the policies chosen by each state.

    Many states have adopted sanction policies that are more stringent than required under federal law. In the long run, these policies may not serve, and indeed may impede, the goal of moving families from welfare to work and independence. Policies more stringent than required are found in the 36 states that impose full-family sanctions, which terminate cash assistance to the entire family, and in the 39 states that continue sanctions for fixed periods of time, even if the family has come into compliance with the requirements during the sanction period. Moreover, many states have curtailed or eliminated procedural protections for families facing a sanction.

    These aggressive sanction policies appear to be aimed at families that, while able to comply with work requirements, simply refuse to do so; they were intended to send a strong message that work requirements would be enforced. Evidence after four years of TANF, however, indicates that families sanctioned for noncompliance with work requirements are not primarily those that refuse work, but rather those that face substantial barriers to employment. Sanctioned families are characterized by a high incidence of health problems and low education levels as well as a lack of transportation and child care. In addition, there is evidence that sanctioned families often do not know or understand what actions they are required to take to be in compliance or the consequences of failing to take those actions. (author abstract)