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  • Individual Author: Perez-Johnson, Irma; Moore, Quinn; Santillano, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Following passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), local workforce investment areas have been required to use individual training accounts (ITAs) to fund most occupational training activities. With some restrictions, customers of the One-Stop system can use ITAs to select training from a wide array of state-approved programs and providers. States and local offices have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to structure ITAs. At one extreme, local counselors can play a pivotal role in directing customers to particular training programs and closely tailoring ITA award amounts to each customer’s needs. At the other extreme, local staff can play a minor role, providing all customers with the same fixed ITA amounts, allowing customers to choose their training programs independently, and providing counseling only on request.

    This report presents long-term results from an experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of three different models for delivering ITA services, with impacts measured six to eight years after program enrollment. The Employment and...

    Following passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), local workforce investment areas have been required to use individual training accounts (ITAs) to fund most occupational training activities. With some restrictions, customers of the One-Stop system can use ITAs to select training from a wide array of state-approved programs and providers. States and local offices have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to structure ITAs. At one extreme, local counselors can play a pivotal role in directing customers to particular training programs and closely tailoring ITA award amounts to each customer’s needs. At the other extreme, local staff can play a minor role, providing all customers with the same fixed ITA amounts, allowing customers to choose their training programs independently, and providing counseling only on request.

    This report presents long-term results from an experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of three different models for delivering ITA services, with impacts measured six to eight years after program enrollment. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the U.S. Department of Labor designed the ITA experiment to provide federal, state, and local policymakers, administrators, and program managers with information on the tradeoffs inherent in different ITA service delivery models.

    As a part of the experiment, nearly 8,000 customers of One-Stop Centers in eight different sites were randomly assigned to one of the three ITA service delivery models tested in the ITA Experiment. These models varied along three policy-relevant dimensions (Table ES.1): (1) the ITA award structure (that is, whether the award amount was fixed for all customers or tailored to the customer’s needs); (2) required counseling (that is, whether ITA counseling was mandatory or optional, and its intensity); and (3) program approval (that is, whether counselors could reject customers’ training choices and deny an ITA, or had to approve them if the customer had completed his or her ITA requirements). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zaslow, Martha J. ; McGroder, Sharon M. ; Moore, Kristin A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    As we seek to understand the effects on families of the 1996 welfare reform law, we can build on the foundation of a rigorous evaluation study focusing on the effects on families of welfare-to-work programs implemented under the previous welfare law, the Family Support Act of 1988. The National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (the NEWWS, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education) is evaluating the impact of a set of welfare-to-work programs operated under "JOBS" (the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program). A pioneering feature of this national evaluation is that it simultaneously considers program impacts on adult economic outcomes and on the development and well-being of the children in the families.

    This summary report presents a summary of findings from one of a set of three complementary reports from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies' two-year follow-up (with results from a further follow-up, completed five...

    As we seek to understand the effects on families of the 1996 welfare reform law, we can build on the foundation of a rigorous evaluation study focusing on the effects on families of welfare-to-work programs implemented under the previous welfare law, the Family Support Act of 1988. The National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (the NEWWS, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education) is evaluating the impact of a set of welfare-to-work programs operated under "JOBS" (the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program). A pioneering feature of this national evaluation is that it simultaneously considers program impacts on adult economic outcomes and on the development and well-being of the children in the families.

    This summary report presents a summary of findings from one of a set of three complementary reports from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies' two-year follow-up (with results from a further follow-up, completed five years after families enrolled, to be presented in the future). We focus in the present summary report on the findings related to impacts on children, reporting results from a special component of the evaluation, the Child Outcomes Study (see McGroder, Zaslow, Moore and LeMenestrel, 2000, for a detailed presentation of findings). This component of the evaluation focuses in depth on children's development and well-being for a sample of families with young (preschool-age) children at the start of the evaluation, drawn from three of the evaluation's seven research sites. A second report in this series focuses primarily on economic impacts in all seven of the evaluation's research sites, with a more limited examination of impacts on children of all ages (Freedman, Friedlander, Hamilton, Rock, Mitchell, Nudelman, Schweder, and Storto, 2000). A third report draws together findings on children from the in-depth look at young children in the Child Outcomes Study, and brief markers of well-being collected regarding children of all ages in families in the full evaluation sample (Hamilton, with Freedman and McGroder, 2000).

    The Child Outcomes Study of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies examines the impacts on both the parental and child generations of two distinct approaches to welfare reform implemented as part of the federal JOBS Program: a labor force attachment approach (emphasizing a rapid transition to employment), and a human capital development approach (emphasizing a longer-term strategy of education and training in order to obtain a better job). These strategies are precursors of the welfare reform programs now being implemented under the 1996 welfare law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The labor force attachment approach under JOBS is especially germane because of its emphasis on moving clients quickly into employment, the clear priority of new policies. However, the human capital development approach may provide an informative model for states as caseloads drop, and those families remaining on welfare face more barriers to employment (such as low literacy or limited education).

    Although welfare policies were initiated many years ago with the aim of protecting children in poor families, most of the evaluation research concerning these policies has focused on adult economic outcomes. This is perhaps not surprising, given that the most clearly targeted outcomes of these programs have been economic. The Family Support Act explicitly stated as its goal the reduction of long-term welfare dependency. Further, this law did not call for services aimed directly at enhancing the development of children (such as early childhood educational intervention, or developmental screening); rather authorized services focused on increasing adult employment.

    Nevertheless, a mother's assignment to a welfare-to-work program has the potential to affect the development of children, for example, by affecting the material resources available within the family, and by affecting children's experiences of care both within and outside of the home. The Child Outcomes Study of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies examines whether children can be affected by their mothers' assignment to a welfare-to-work program, how their development and well-being are affected (favorably or unfavorably), if at all, and in what ways any impacts on children come about.

    The Child Outcomes Study uses a rigorous experimental design. Two years after mothers were randomly assigned to one of the two JOBS welfare-to-work strategies or to a control group, outcomes for children (at that point between about 5 and 7 years of age) were examined. The children's cognitive development and academic achievement were measured through a combination of direct assessment (an assessment of the children's cognitive school readiness) and maternal report (for example, mothers' reports of academic problems). The children's behavioral and emotional adjustment were measured through maternal report (for example, using measures of the child's behavior problems and positive social behaviors). The children's health and safety were also measured through maternal report (for example, using an interview measure indicating whether the child has had an accident, injury or poisoning requiring emergency medical attention; an interview measure widely used in national surveys in which the mother indicates whether she sees the child's overall health as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor). Validation work indicates that the global health rating reflects primarily physical health problems (Krause and Jay, 1994).In general, all measures selected for use in the Child Outcomes Study have demonstrated sufficient validity and reliability (Bracken, 1984; Polit, 1996; Zill, 1985; Peterson and ZILL, 1986)

    In addition to examining mean scores on measures of cognitive school readiness, problem and positive behavior, and overall health, we also examined program impacts on the proportion of children with extreme scores on these measures in the interest of ascertaining whether JOBS welfare-to-work programs changed the distribution of children's outcomes — for example, reducing the proportion at the "unfavorable" end and/or increasing the proportion at the "favorable" end — which is possible even if the programs had no impacts on mean scores. Thus, in some cases a single response to a survey question can give rise to two or more impacts (e.g., one relating to the mean and one relating to the distribution).

    The Child Outcomes Study was conducted in three sites: Atlanta, Georgia; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Riverside, California. Families enrolled in the evaluation between September 1991 and January 1994. Data collection for the two-year follow-up was completed in January 1996, prior to the implementation of the new welfare law. Findings from this study must be seen in light of the fact that mothers were exempt from participation in JOBS welfare-to-work activities if they were needed at home to care for an ill or incapacitated family member, including a child. As a result, children with a health condition requiring such care were not included in the evaluation. The 1996 welfare law no longer provides an explicit exemption for a mother with an ill or incapacitated child.

    In this experimental evaluation, mothers randomly assigned to a control group in each of the study sites were eligible for all welfare benefits. However, they did not receive the special messages and case management of a JOBS program, they were not mandated to participate in JOBS program activities, and they did not have access to the particular work preparation activities through JOBS. Control group members were eligible for child care assistance, similar to that offered to program group members, if they were participating in work preparation activities in which they had enrolled on their own. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Magnuson, Katherine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Does an increase in a welfare mother's education improve her young child's academic performance or behavior? Positive correlations between mothers' educational attainment and children's well being, particularly children's cognitive development and academic outcomes, are among the most replicated results from developmental studies. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the causal nature of this relationship. Because conventional regression approaches to estimating the effect of maternal schooling on child outcomes may be biased by omitted variables, this study uses experimentally induced differences in mothers' education to estimate instrumental variable (IV) models. Data come from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies Child Outcomes Study-an evaluation of mandatory welfare-to-work programs in which welfare recipients with young children were randomly assigned to either an education- or work-focused program group or to a control group that received no additional assistance. Findings suggest that increases in maternal education are positively associated with...

    Does an increase in a welfare mother's education improve her young child's academic performance or behavior? Positive correlations between mothers' educational attainment and children's well being, particularly children's cognitive development and academic outcomes, are among the most replicated results from developmental studies. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the causal nature of this relationship. Because conventional regression approaches to estimating the effect of maternal schooling on child outcomes may be biased by omitted variables, this study uses experimentally induced differences in mothers' education to estimate instrumental variable (IV) models. Data come from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies Child Outcomes Study-an evaluation of mandatory welfare-to-work programs in which welfare recipients with young children were randomly assigned to either an education- or work-focused program group or to a control group that received no additional assistance. Findings suggest that increases in maternal education are positively associated with children's academic school readiness, and negatively associated with mothers' reports of their children's academic problems, but with little to no effect on children's behavior. Analyses were not able to determine whether the benefits of maternal education persisted over time, although they were able to test whether mothers' returns to schooling during their children's preschool years were more beneficial than returns during later years. Weak evidence indicates that mothers' reentry into school when children are young will have a lasting effect on children's academic problems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Freedman, Stephen; Friedlander, Daniel; Hamilton, Gayle; Rock, JoAnn; Mitchell, Marisa; Nudelman, Jodi; Schweder, Amanda; Storto, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of August 19961 ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, one of the nation’s principal safety nets for poor families. Among its provisions, the law replaced AFDC with a block grant program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and created financial incentives for states to run mandatory, work-focused welfare-to-work programs. While these types of programs are not new, various aspects of the 1996 law increase their importance: federal funds now may not be used to support most families on welfare for longer than five years and a number of states and localities have shorter welfare time limits; states face financial penalties if they fail to meet TANF-defined “participation standards,” which require large proportions of welfare recipients to be in work or...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of August 19961 ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, one of the nation’s principal safety nets for poor families. Among its provisions, the law replaced AFDC with a block grant program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and created financial incentives for states to run mandatory, work-focused welfare-to-work programs. While these types of programs are not new, various aspects of the 1996 law increase their importance: federal funds now may not be used to support most families on welfare for longer than five years and a number of states and localities have shorter welfare time limits; states face financial penalties if they fail to meet TANF-defined “participation standards,” which require large proportions of welfare recipients to be in work or work-related activities; and states must have a plan for how they will require recipients to work after two years of assistance.

    To meet the new challenges of the federal welfare legislation, state and local administrators and policy makers need to know about the types of welfare-to-work program approaches that can quickly move substantial numbers of people into work and off welfare. This report provides such guidance, by analyzing the effectiveness of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs operated in seven locales. The sites included in the evaluation are Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon; and Riverside, California. 

    The report is one in a series from an evaluation of the programs called the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with support from the U.S. Department of Education. Child Trends, as a subcontractor, is conducting the analyses of outcomes for young children (the Child Outcomes Study). Two other recent reports (both also published in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and the U.S. Department of Education) should be viewed as “companion” documents to this report: Impacts on Young Children and Their Families Two Years After Enrollment: Findings from the Child Outcomes Study, prepared by Sharon M. McGroder, Martha J. Zaslow, Kristin A. Moore, and Suzanne M. LeMenestrel, Child Trends; and Do Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs Affect the Well-Being of Children? A Synthesis of Child Research Conducted as Part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies, prepared by Gayle Hamilton, MDRC, with Stephen Freedman, MDRC, and Sharon M. McGroder, Child Trends.

    Each of the 11 studied programs operated under the federal Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program, which preceded TANF. Unlike TANF, these programs did not impose a time limit on eligibility for welfare assistance. However, they shared TANF’s primary goal of moving welfare recipients into paid work and off assistance. Further, among the 11 programs some are strongly employment-focused, the welfare-to-work strategy favored under TANF, and some are strongly basic education-focused, an approach possible under TANF but more prevalent during the late 1980s and early 1990s. (Overall, the present results pertain to the period between 1991 and 1996.) The programs varied in other ways, including how broadly the participation mandate was applied to the welfare caseload and how strictly it was enforced, the amount of child care support provided for program participation or employment, and methods of case management. The programs also served different welfare populations and operated in a variety of labor markets. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles; Schwartz, Christine; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    In 1996, Congress radically transformed the nation’s cash assistance welfare program when it passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The legislation replaced the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlement program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a funding mechanism that provides states with block grants and considerable flexibility in designing their welfare programs. In addition to making other changes, many states responded by expanding their employment and training programs or changing the focus of their existing programs. A number of states replaced voluntary welfare-to-work programs that emphasized education and training with mandatory programs that stressed quick employment.

    While many aspects of the 1996 legislation and the state policies that followed were untested, the use of mandatory welfare-to-work programs was not. During the ten years prior to PRWORA, large-scale rigorous studies of welfare-to-work programs were launched in many states and counties. This report...

    In 1996, Congress radically transformed the nation’s cash assistance welfare program when it passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The legislation replaced the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlement program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a funding mechanism that provides states with block grants and considerable flexibility in designing their welfare programs. In addition to making other changes, many states responded by expanding their employment and training programs or changing the focus of their existing programs. A number of states replaced voluntary welfare-to-work programs that emphasized education and training with mandatory programs that stressed quick employment.

    While many aspects of the 1996 legislation and the state policies that followed were untested, the use of mandatory welfare-to-work programs was not. During the ten years prior to PRWORA, large-scale rigorous studies of welfare-to-work programs were launched in many states and counties. This report investigates results from 20 of these programs to determine who has benefited from welfare-to-work programs (and who has not) and whether some practices appear more effective than others at increasing the employment and earnings of single-parent welfare recipients.

    The programs studied in this report share two key characteristics. They all required some portion of the welfare caseload to participate in a welfare-to-work program or risk losing some or all of their welfare benefits through sanctions. And they were all studied by the MDRC using a rigorous experimental research design in which individuals were assigned at random either to a program group, which was required to participate in an employment or training program, or to a control group, which did not have access to the program. (author abstract)

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