Good Parents or Good Workers? How Policy Shapes Families' Daily Lives.

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Berrick, Jill Duerr.
Fuller, Bruce.
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This book explores how dramatic changes in family welfare policies over the past decade have impacted the work, child care practices, and relationships of low-income mothers and fathers. Drawing upon several local, State, and national qualitative studies, the book explores how women and men are reading the policy signals, rules, and incentives as they attempt to raise their children and earn sufficient income to hold their families together. The text is divided into three themes centered around women’s roles as workers and mothers, policy effects on children, and the evolving role of fathers. Section 1 examines the changing role of women in the workplace and their newly adjusted roles as parents. Chapters discuss barriers to self-sufficiency, the long road to quality day care and work, and the impact of welfare reform on caregiving. Section 2 on policy effects on poor children, includes chapters that explore the effects on children as parents transition from welfare to employment and the impact of welfare reform on parenting and young children. The final section on fathers includes chapters that explore how mothers see fathers, whether fathers are deadbeat dads or are attempting to father while in poverty, and implications of welfare reform impacts for families, children, and policymakers. Numerous references. (Author abstract modified)

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