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My Children Come First: Welfare-Reliant Women's Post-TANF Views of Work-Family Trade-Offs and Marriage.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Scott, E. K.
Edin, Kathryn.
London, A. S.
Mazelis, J. M.
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This chapter provides highlights from interviews with low-income women about their perceptions of the benefits and costs of making the transition from welfare to work. Approximately 80 African American and white women from target neighborhoods in Cleveland and Philadelphia were interviewed as part of the Project on Devolution and Urban Change. The women consistently framed their views about work in the context of the impact on their children. They hoped that their employment would allow them to pay bills and provide material goods for their children, as well as help them earn respect from their children. They also believed that their work would influence their children to be productive. However, they were concerned about the expense and logistics of childcare, as well as the loss of supervision and quality time with their children. Although marriage is an important objective of welfare reform, many of the women believed that it would interfere in their ability to care for their children. Some women had no interest in marriage because of past experiences with men, such as domestic violence, financial instability, and alcohol and drug use. These women indicated that marriage was not in the best interests of their children. The findings suggest that women making the transition from welfare to work may need additional assistance with childcare and income supplements to help them achieve their goals for work and family. 30 references, 6 notes.

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