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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: Farrell, Mary; Morrison, Carly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is...

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is statistically significant at the 10 percent level (which suggests that it is due to the Start Smart intervention rather than random chance), and represents a 9 percent increase in payments made during the first month. Start Smart did not produce statistically significant differences in payments made in the second or third month. (Edited author overview)

  • Individual Author: Howard, Lanikque; Vogel, Lisa Klein; Cancian, Maria; Noyes, Jennifer L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Maag, Elaine; Werner, Kevin; Wheaton, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that provides substantial benefits to low-income working families with children at home but little to those without resident children. But families without resident children also struggle, including noncustodial parents, who are often considered “childless” for tax purposes. We model a plan that would increase the maximum childless EITC to almost half the size of the maximum EITC for one-child families and that would begin to phase the childless EITC out at the same income level used for families with children. This would improve parity between people with and without children at home, filling a gap in existing credit benefits. It could also improve noncustodial parents’ economic well-being and increase their capacity to support their children. (Excerpt from author introduction)

    The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that provides substantial benefits to low-income working families with children at home but little to those without resident children. But families without resident children also struggle, including noncustodial parents, who are often considered “childless” for tax purposes. We model a plan that would increase the maximum childless EITC to almost half the size of the maximum EITC for one-child families and that would begin to phase the childless EITC out at the same income level used for families with children. This would improve parity between people with and without children at home, filling a gap in existing credit benefits. It could also improve noncustodial parents’ economic well-being and increase their capacity to support their children. (Excerpt from author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Guarin, Angela; Hodges, Leslie; Meyer, Daniel R.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The purpose of this report is to begin to fill in the blanks by documenting the characteristics of more than 10,000 noncustodial parents who participated in the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration program (CSPED).  The federally funded intervention was operated by child support agency grantees within eight eligible states, and served noncustodial parents who were behind on child support payments and experiencing employment difficulties. (Author introduction)

    The purpose of this report is to begin to fill in the blanks by documenting the characteristics of more than 10,000 noncustodial parents who participated in the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration program (CSPED).  The federally funded intervention was operated by child support agency grantees within eight eligible states, and served noncustodial parents who were behind on child support payments and experiencing employment difficulties. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.; Wood, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The final implementation report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on January 15, 2019. It reflects demonstration activities that commenced in fall 2012, when the eight child support agencies competitvely awarded grants by OSCE to participate in CSPED began a one-year planning period, and concluded with the end of the demonstration period in September 2017. 

    Grantees designated 18 implementation sites, ranging from one to five counties per grantee. Grantees enrolled participants in the demonstration over a three year period, from October 2013 through September 2016. Half of the demonstration's 10,161 enrollees were randomly assigned to receive CSPED services, including enhanced child support services, employment assistance, parenting education delivered in a peer-supported format and case management. Half were assigned to a control group and did not receive extra services. On average, participants assigned to the extra services group received about 22 hours of services. 

    As the report describes, throughout...

    The final implementation report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on January 15, 2019. It reflects demonstration activities that commenced in fall 2012, when the eight child support agencies competitvely awarded grants by OSCE to participate in CSPED began a one-year planning period, and concluded with the end of the demonstration period in September 2017. 

    Grantees designated 18 implementation sites, ranging from one to five counties per grantee. Grantees enrolled participants in the demonstration over a three year period, from October 2013 through September 2016. Half of the demonstration's 10,161 enrollees were randomly assigned to receive CSPED services, including enhanced child support services, employment assistance, parenting education delivered in a peer-supported format and case management. Half were assigned to a control group and did not receive extra services. On average, participants assigned to the extra services group received about 22 hours of services. 

    As the report describes, throughout the demonstration, CSPED grantees and their partners grappled with a complex array of challenges. These included reorienting child support staff and systems toward helping low-income noncustodial parents obtain employment; recruiting noncustodial parents to enroll in CSPED; keeping participants engaged in services; addressing participants' barriers to employment; establishing partnerships and meshing different organizational cultures; and helping participants with parenting time issues.

    The successes and challenges experienced by CSPED grantees offer important insights into strategies from which future programs serving similar populations can learn, adapt, and innovate. These include investing in strong partnerships and communication systems; drawing on strong leaders with a commitment to facilitating a cultural shift towards a customer-oriented apporach within child support agencies; staffing programs with employees who support CSPED's goals, and hiring and retaining a sufficient number of staff to manage large and challening caseloads; developing services that take into account the substantial barriers to employment faced by the target population; and designing services to promote sustained participant engagement. (Author abstract)

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