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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: Haskins, Ron
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    In August, 1996, after a two-year struggle and two vetoes, President Clinton signed a sweeping welfare reform law. The centerpiece of the law was the replacement of the New Deal Program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) progam. Although TANF has received most of the scholarly and popular attention since 1996, the legislation contained other major reforms, some of them almost as fundamental as TANF, notably the reforms of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), welfare for noncitizens, child care, child support enforcement, and food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP). (author abstract)

    In August, 1996, after a two-year struggle and two vetoes, President Clinton signed a sweeping welfare reform law. The centerpiece of the law was the replacement of the New Deal Program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) progam. Although TANF has received most of the scholarly and popular attention since 1996, the legislation contained other major reforms, some of them almost as fundamental as TANF, notably the reforms of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), welfare for noncitizens, child care, child support enforcement, and food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Edin, Kathryn; Seefeldt, Kristin; Dutta-Gupta, Indivar ; Greenberg, Mark; Simms, Margaret; Cancian, Maria
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2016

    This video from the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) includes the opening remarks and first plenary session on the second day of the conference. Plenary panelists included academics, researchers, and policymakers. The discussion centered around what is known about Americans living in deep poverty.

    This video from the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) includes the opening remarks and first plenary session on the second day of the conference. Plenary panelists included academics, researchers, and policymakers. The discussion centered around what is known about Americans living in deep poverty.

  • Individual Author: Falk, Gene
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides states, territories, and Indian tribes with federal grants for benefits and services intended to ameliorate the effects, and address the root causes, of child poverty. It was created in the 1996 welfare reform law, and is most associated with policies such as time limits and work requirements that sought to address concerns about “welfare dependency” of single mothers who received cash assistance. This report examines the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload in FY2013, and compares it with selected post-welfare reform years (FY2001 and FY2006) and pre-welfare reform years (FY1988 and FY1994). The size of the caseload first increased, from 3.7 million families per month in FY1988 to 5.0 million families per month in FY1994, and then declined to 2.2 million families in FY2001 and 1.7 million families in FY2013. Over this period, some of the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload have remained fairly stable, and other characteristics have changed. (author introduction)

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides states, territories, and Indian tribes with federal grants for benefits and services intended to ameliorate the effects, and address the root causes, of child poverty. It was created in the 1996 welfare reform law, and is most associated with policies such as time limits and work requirements that sought to address concerns about “welfare dependency” of single mothers who received cash assistance. This report examines the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload in FY2013, and compares it with selected post-welfare reform years (FY2001 and FY2006) and pre-welfare reform years (FY1988 and FY1994). The size of the caseload first increased, from 3.7 million families per month in FY1988 to 5.0 million families per month in FY1994, and then declined to 2.2 million families in FY2001 and 1.7 million families in FY2013. Over this period, some of the characteristics of the TANF cash assistance caseload have remained fairly stable, and other characteristics have changed. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Bitler, Marianne; Hoynes, Hilary
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    The Great Recession was the longest and by some measures the most severe economic downturn in the postwar period. The experience revealed important weaknesses in the central cash welfare program for families with children in the United States, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). First, TANF fails to reach a sizeable share of needy families, does little to reduce deep poverty, and is not targeted to the most needy. Second, in its current form the program does not automatically expand during economic downturns, when the need for the program is likely greatest and the additional consumer spending would be particularly welcome. To strengthen TANF, we propose reforms to expand its reach, improve its responsiveness to cyclical downturns, and enhance its transparency. Together these reforms would make the program more effective in protecting families from deep poverty. (Author abstract)

    The Great Recession was the longest and by some measures the most severe economic downturn in the postwar period. The experience revealed important weaknesses in the central cash welfare program for families with children in the United States, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). First, TANF fails to reach a sizeable share of needy families, does little to reduce deep poverty, and is not targeted to the most needy. Second, in its current form the program does not automatically expand during economic downturns, when the need for the program is likely greatest and the additional consumer spending would be particularly welcome. To strengthen TANF, we propose reforms to expand its reach, improve its responsiveness to cyclical downturns, and enhance its transparency. Together these reforms would make the program more effective in protecting families from deep poverty. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseloads have plummeted since the program was enacted in 1996. This brief summarizes changes to the caseload during this period of decline and explores factors that have contributed to caseload change.

    While the demographic characteristics of adults receiving benefits have been similar over time, the caseload has shifted, with the percentage of “child-only” cases rising to about 50 percent, while the percentage of single-parent and two-parent cases has fallen.

    Factors such as the economy and the earned income tax credit (EITC) played a key role in caseload decline, but TANF policy has had a substantial impact. Specific TANF policies such as financial incentives, sanctions, and time limits help explain changes in case-load exits and entries and overall caseload size. Variation in state TANF policies and other state characteristics contribute to wide differences in program outcomes across the country. (author abstract)

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseloads have plummeted since the program was enacted in 1996. This brief summarizes changes to the caseload during this period of decline and explores factors that have contributed to caseload change.

    While the demographic characteristics of adults receiving benefits have been similar over time, the caseload has shifted, with the percentage of “child-only” cases rising to about 50 percent, while the percentage of single-parent and two-parent cases has fallen.

    Factors such as the economy and the earned income tax credit (EITC) played a key role in caseload decline, but TANF policy has had a substantial impact. Specific TANF policies such as financial incentives, sanctions, and time limits help explain changes in case-load exits and entries and overall caseload size. Variation in state TANF policies and other state characteristics contribute to wide differences in program outcomes across the country. (author abstract)

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