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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: Bagdasaryan, Sofya; Matthias, Ruth; Ong, Paul; Houston, Douglas
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    The federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. welfare program for poor families with children since its inception in the 1935 Social Security Act. To comply with the new federal law, California passed its Temporary Assistance to Needy Families plan in August 1997. Counties began implementing the new program, CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids), on January 1, 1998.

    The federal law increased work participation requirements for able-bodied adults and restricted the circumstances under which recipients can be exempted from working or engaging in work-related activities. If adults fail to comply with program rules without good cause, states reduce or eliminate cash aid to their households. These sanctions, or the threat of these sanctions, are intended both to motivate recipients to comply with work-related program requirements and, for those under sanction, to hasten their return to compliance (generally referred to as “curing” or “lifting” the sanctions).

    The...

    The federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. welfare program for poor families with children since its inception in the 1935 Social Security Act. To comply with the new federal law, California passed its Temporary Assistance to Needy Families plan in August 1997. Counties began implementing the new program, CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids), on January 1, 1998.

    The federal law increased work participation requirements for able-bodied adults and restricted the circumstances under which recipients can be exempted from working or engaging in work-related activities. If adults fail to comply with program rules without good cause, states reduce or eliminate cash aid to their households. These sanctions, or the threat of these sanctions, are intended both to motivate recipients to comply with work-related program requirements and, for those under sanction, to hasten their return to compliance (generally referred to as “curing” or “lifting” the sanctions).

    The federal legislation gave states some leeway in defining the terms of recipient compliance and in prescribing the severity of the sanction for noncompliance. In California, CalWORKs requires adult heads of single-parent families to engage in 32 hours a week of work and work-related activities averaged over a month (the federal minimum in order to count toward the state’s work participation rate requirement is 30 hours). As under prior law, California imposes partial-family sanctions: a reduced cash grant to children in families in which the adult or adults have lost assistance because of noncompliance. In California, the policy did not change markedly, but sanctions are imposed more frequently than under the Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program, the predecessor to CalWORKs.

    In order to better understand how California counties administer sanctions, the University of California’s Welfare Policy Research Project commissioned a study to answer six questions:

    (1) How do counties implement sanction procedures prescribed by CalWORKs? (2) How, if at all, do counties attempt to prevent sanctions, and how do they help recipients to lift a sanction once it has been imposed? (3) How knowledgeable are county welfare workers about CalWORKs sanction policies, and (4) what opinions do they hold about the purpose and efficacy of sanctions? (5) How well do recipients in these counties understand sanction policies, and (6) what have their experiences been with these policies? To address these questions, we examined in depth the sanction policies and procedures in four highly disparate counties: Alameda, Fresno, Kern, and San Diego. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Tout, Kathryn; Brooks, Jennifer; Zaslow, Martha; Redd, Zakia; Moore, Kristin; McGarvey, Ayelish; McGroder, Sharon; Gennetian, Lisa; Morris, Pamela; Ross, Christine; Beecroft, Erik
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This report focuses on the question of whether and how pilot welfare reform programs launched in five states–Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota–affected children’s developmental outcomes. We synthesize results from experimental studies (in which follow-up interviews ranged from 2.5 to 6.5 years after random assignment) in the five states, looking first at adult economic outcomes that the programs aimed to change (targeted outcomes), then turning to aspects of young children’s lives–including child care and the home environment–that may also have been changed by the programs, and focusing finally on how children themselves were affected by the programs. (author abstract)

    This report focuses on the question of whether and how pilot welfare reform programs launched in five states–Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota–affected children’s developmental outcomes. We synthesize results from experimental studies (in which follow-up interviews ranged from 2.5 to 6.5 years after random assignment) in the five states, looking first at adult economic outcomes that the programs aimed to change (targeted outcomes), then turning to aspects of young children’s lives–including child care and the home environment–that may also have been changed by the programs, and focusing finally on how children themselves were affected by the programs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Larson, Anita ; Singh, Shweta; Lewis, Crystal
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Most research on the impact of welfare reform has been upon the employment status of parents and trends in declining caseloads. Recent research has examined how children in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program families are faring, with growing interest in the effects upon children of the disruptions to cash benefits that result from program sanctions, the policies that are intended to motivate parents to comply with work requirements. Adding to the body of knowledge on children and TANF sanctions, this study used administrative data to examine school attendance rates and disruptions to enrollment, for children from families with at least one sanction. Findings indicate that there are important probable connections between the factors that contribute to challenges to employment that relate to parenting and the school engagement of children in TANF families. (author abstract)

    Most research on the impact of welfare reform has been upon the employment status of parents and trends in declining caseloads. Recent research has examined how children in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program families are faring, with growing interest in the effects upon children of the disruptions to cash benefits that result from program sanctions, the policies that are intended to motivate parents to comply with work requirements. Adding to the body of knowledge on children and TANF sanctions, this study used administrative data to examine school attendance rates and disruptions to enrollment, for children from families with at least one sanction. Findings indicate that there are important probable connections between the factors that contribute to challenges to employment that relate to parenting and the school engagement of children in TANF families. (author abstract)

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