By Sharon Hays
Hailed as an outstanding luck, welfare reform ended in a dramatic decline within the welfare rolls--from 4.4 million households in 1996 to 2.1 million in 2001. yet what does this "success" appear like to the welfare moms and welfare caseworkers who skilled it? In Flat Broke, With young children, Sharon Hays tells us the tale of welfare reform from contained in the welfare place of work and contained in the lives of welfare moms, describing the demanding situations that welfare recipients face in coping with their paintings, their households, and the principles and rules of welfare reform. Welfare reform, skilled at the floor, isn't really a rosy photo. the vast majority of grownup welfare consumers are mothers--over ninety percent--and the deadlines imposed through welfare reform throw thousands of those as a rule single, determined ladies into the exertions industry, the place they need to settle for low wages, the main menial paintings, the poorest hours, without advantages, and little flexibility. Hays offers a brilliant portrait in their lives--debunking some of the stereotypes we've got of welfare recipients--but she additionally steps again to discover what welfare reform finds concerning the that means of labor and family members lifestyles in our society. specifically, she argues that an inherent contradiction lies on the middle of welfare coverage, which emphasizes conventional kin values at the same time its ethic of "personal accountability" calls for ladies to paintings and depart their childrens in childcare or at domestic on my own all day lengthy. Hays committed 3 years to traveling welfare consumers and welfare places of work, one in a medium-sized city within the Southeast, one other in a wide, metropolitan zone within the West. Drawing in this hands-on learn, Flat Broke, With kids is the 1st publication to discover the influence of contemporary welfare reform on motherhood, marriage, and paintings in women's lives, and the 1st publication to supply us a portrait of ways welfare reform performs out in millions of neighborhood welfare places of work and in hundreds of thousands of houses around the kingdom.
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Additional resources for Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform
You receive little or no welfare money, yet your "clock" is ticking and you are using up your lifetime allotment of welfare benefits. 11 Failure to make job contacts, attend a scheduled meeting with a welfare caseworker, go to all your job readiness classes, arrive at your workfare placement on time, or cooperate with child support enforcement, or quitting a job without good cause or getting fired from a 42 FLAT BROKE WITH CHILDREN job because of some mistake—all these are sanctionable offenses.
Operating like human assembly lines, they apply uniform rules, follow regularized procedures, and ignore the particular circumstances of each case as far as possible. Bureaucracies also serve as a powerful form of social control. Every rigid, unforgiving rule signals yet another demand with which the client must comply. 12 Welfare mothers thus learn the message of reform in a context that most people experience as dehumanizing and degrading. This arrangement also means that they first hear the messages of "personal responsibility" and "self-sufficiency" in a context where they are required to be deferential and compliant, obediently following the rules laid down by others.
Such bureaucracies are efficient precisely because they are cold and impersonal. Operating like human assembly lines, they apply uniform rules, follow regularized procedures, and ignore the particular circumstances of each case as far as possible. Bureaucracies also serve as a powerful form of social control. Every rigid, unforgiving rule signals yet another demand with which the client must comply. 12 Welfare mothers thus learn the message of reform in a context that most people experience as dehumanizing and degrading.