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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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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: Kenefick, Elizabeth; Lower-Basch, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In recent years many states have considered legislation to require applicants for cash assistance under TANF to pass a chemical drug test as a condition of eligibility. As discussed in a companion brief, CLASP strongly opposes suspicionless mandatory testing as a costly, stigmatizing, and ineffective means of identifying substance abuse and believes that these bills are often motivated by stereotype and inaccurate assumptions about poor families who receive welfare. However, we recognize that substance abuse and addiction can be barriers to employment and self-sufficiency and should be appropriately addressed within the TANF program when they affect recipients.

    Contrary to the perception created by the plethora of proposed legislation, states already have many options for dealing with substance abuse within TANF and are addressing with issue with approaches that are more targeted and cost-effective than suspicionless testing. These include screening for alcohol and drug abuse, incorporation of treatment into work activities, using TANF funds to pay for non-medical...

    In recent years many states have considered legislation to require applicants for cash assistance under TANF to pass a chemical drug test as a condition of eligibility. As discussed in a companion brief, CLASP strongly opposes suspicionless mandatory testing as a costly, stigmatizing, and ineffective means of identifying substance abuse and believes that these bills are often motivated by stereotype and inaccurate assumptions about poor families who receive welfare. However, we recognize that substance abuse and addiction can be barriers to employment and self-sufficiency and should be appropriately addressed within the TANF program when they affect recipients.

    Contrary to the perception created by the plethora of proposed legislation, states already have many options for dealing with substance abuse within TANF and are addressing with issue with approaches that are more targeted and cost-effective than suspicionless testing. These include screening for alcohol and drug abuse, incorporation of treatment into work activities, using TANF funds to pay for non-medical treatment and ancillary supports, and, where warranted, using testing to monitor compliance of specific populations, such as individuals previously convicted of drug-related crimes. Unfortunately there is a lack of systemic current information about the steps states are taking to tackle substance abuse problems. Prior research on the subject is largely made up of two separate surveys, from 1999 and 2002, as well as case studies that highlight innovative programs from the same period.

    This brief aims to provide updated information on the range of state policies and highlights some of the promising approaches that states are using to address substance abuse by TANF recipients. It is based primarily on a recent CLASP-commissioned survey conducted by students at George Washington's School of Public Policy, as well as interviews they conducted with state TANF program administrators. Due to time constraints and the political controversies around drug testing, not all states were willing to respond to the survey. While the findings are not generalizable to all states, they provide a useful overview of the range of approaches that states can take. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kirby, Gretchen; Anderson, Jacquelyn
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2000

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation (PRWORA) Act of 1996 places a premium on cash-assistance recipients’ efforts to work and holds recipients and state programs accountable for increasing self-sufficiency. The work requirements and time limits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) system provide little room for work exemptions and create an incentive to explore the needs of “harder-to-serve” populations—including those with substance abuse problems—so that they, too, may move into work and be assisted on a path toward self-sufficiency. TANF program administrators who hope to meet future work-participation requirements and prevent significant time-limit exemptions may want to start making policy and programmatic choices now to better prepare this population for work in the long run.

    This guide provides TANF program administrators and staff with information to help devise a strategy for identifying and addressing the needs of recipients with substance abuse problems. The guide has four sections:

    • Section I:...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation (PRWORA) Act of 1996 places a premium on cash-assistance recipients’ efforts to work and holds recipients and state programs accountable for increasing self-sufficiency. The work requirements and time limits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) system provide little room for work exemptions and create an incentive to explore the needs of “harder-to-serve” populations—including those with substance abuse problems—so that they, too, may move into work and be assisted on a path toward self-sufficiency. TANF program administrators who hope to meet future work-participation requirements and prevent significant time-limit exemptions may want to start making policy and programmatic choices now to better prepare this population for work in the long run.

    This guide provides TANF program administrators and staff with information to help devise a strategy for identifying and addressing the needs of recipients with substance abuse problems. The guide has four sections:

    • Section I: Understanding the Substance-Abuse Problem. Discusses the prevalence of substance abuse among welfare recipients and the benefits of addressing these problems in the context of the welfare program.
    • Section II: Identifying Welfare Recipients with Substance-Abuse Problems. Presents a series of decision points for developing a process to identify TANF recipients with substance-abuse problems.
    • Section III: Treating Substance Abuse. Provides background information on treatment-related issues such as treatment options, outcomes, expectations and service delivery as well as the resources available for treatment.
    • Section IV: Integrating Treatment into a Work-Focused Welfare Program. Outlines the policy and programmatic decisions for integrating an approach to treatment into the welfare program and discusses the points to consider when coordinating welfare and treatment services.

    Additional organizations and resources that can provide greater detail on the concepts and decisions outlined in this report are described throughout the text and in the resource section in Appendix A. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Jayakody, Rukmalie; Danziger, Sheldon; Pollack, Harold
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    Welfare reform transformed the traditional entitlement to cash welfare under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into a transitional program known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Because of the work requirements and the time-limited nature of assistance, policy makers are increasingly confronted with what to do when welfare recipients do not effectively make the transition from welfare-to-work, and are increasingly using the language of public health to determine who is 'employable' and who is not. Thus, renewed attention is being focused on the individual characteristics of participants themselves, particularly specific diagnoses that might reduce employability. This paper focuses on substance abuse and mental health problems among single mothers and examines their relationship to welfare receipt. We analyze data from the 1994 and 1995 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA), and find that 19 percent of welfare recipients meet the criteria for a DSM-III-R psychiatric diagnosis. About the same percentage have used illicit drugs...

    Welfare reform transformed the traditional entitlement to cash welfare under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into a transitional program known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Because of the work requirements and the time-limited nature of assistance, policy makers are increasingly confronted with what to do when welfare recipients do not effectively make the transition from welfare-to-work, and are increasingly using the language of public health to determine who is 'employable' and who is not. Thus, renewed attention is being focused on the individual characteristics of participants themselves, particularly specific diagnoses that might reduce employability. This paper focuses on substance abuse and mental health problems among single mothers and examines their relationship to welfare receipt. We analyze data from the 1994 and 1995 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA), and find that 19 percent of welfare recipients meet the criteria for a DSM-III-R psychiatric diagnosis. About the same percentage have used illicit drugs during the previous year. Logistic regression results indicate that mental and behavioral health problems are significant barriers to self-sufficiency that are increasingly important in this era of time-limited benefits. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Joyce, Kristen; Radel, Laura; Wulff, Carli
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    In the years since welfare reform transformed federal cash  assistance for the poor into the time-limited, work-focused Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, the issue of substance abuse among welfare recipients has arisen periodically as a policy and programmatic concern.1 In recent years there have been vigorous policy debates focused on welfare policy with respect to persons with drug felony convictions as well as proposals to require drug tests as a condition of eligibility.

    This paper discusses the prevalence of substance abuse among TANF recipients, how States typically address substance abuse in their welfare programs, the variety of drug testing proposals now under discussion in States, and legal and practical issues raised by drug testing proposals. (author abstract)

    In the years since welfare reform transformed federal cash  assistance for the poor into the time-limited, work-focused Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, the issue of substance abuse among welfare recipients has arisen periodically as a policy and programmatic concern.1 In recent years there have been vigorous policy debates focused on welfare policy with respect to persons with drug felony convictions as well as proposals to require drug tests as a condition of eligibility.

    This paper discusses the prevalence of substance abuse among TANF recipients, how States typically address substance abuse in their welfare programs, the variety of drug testing proposals now under discussion in States, and legal and practical issues raised by drug testing proposals. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Metsch, Lisa R. ; Pereyra, Margaret; Miles, Christine C. ; McCoy, Clyde B.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    Employment and welfare outcomes are investigated for women who received both welfare and substance abuse treatment in Florida from 1994 to 1999. By linking information from three statewide administrative databases, we identify 4,236 women who meet both criteria. Over the study period, there was a significant increase in the proportion of women moving from welfare to work. Predictors of posttreatment employment include demographic characteristics, treatment-related characteristics, and working during the month of admission. Both completion of treatment and length of time in treatment are associated with employment. (author abstract)

    Employment and welfare outcomes are investigated for women who received both welfare and substance abuse treatment in Florida from 1994 to 1999. By linking information from three statewide administrative databases, we identify 4,236 women who meet both criteria. Over the study period, there was a significant increase in the proportion of women moving from welfare to work. Predictors of posttreatment employment include demographic characteristics, treatment-related characteristics, and working during the month of admission. Both completion of treatment and length of time in treatment are associated with employment. (author abstract)

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