Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform

Paperback | August 26, 2004

bySharon Hays

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Hailed as a great success, welfare reform resulted in a dramatic decline in the welfare rolls--from 4.4 million families in 1996 to 2 million in 2003. But what does this "success" look like to the welfare mothers and welfare caseworkers who experienced it? In Flat Broke With Children, SharonHays tells us the story of welfare reform from inside the welfare office and inside the lives of welfare mothers, describing the challenges that welfare recipients face in managing their work, their families, and the rules and regulations of welfare reform. Welfare reform, experienced on the ground, is not a rosy picture. The majority of adult welfare clients are mothers--over 90 percent--and the time limits imposed by welfare reform throw millions of these mostly unmarried, desperate women into the labor market, where they must accept lowwages, the most menial work, the poorest hours, with no benefits, and little flexibility. Hays provides a vivid portrait of their lives--debunking many of the stereotypes we have of welfare recipients--but she also steps back to explore what welfare reform reveals about the meaning of work andfamily life in our society. In particular, she argues that an inherent contradiction lies at the heart of welfare policy, which emphasizes traditional family values even as its ethic of "personal responsibility" requires women to work and leave their children in childcare or at home alone all daylong. Hays devoted three years to visiting welfare clients and two welfare offices, one in a medium-sized town in the Southeast, another in a large, metropolitan area in the West. Drawing on this hands-on research, Flat Broke With Children is the first book to explore the impact of welfare reformon motherhood, marriage, and work in women's lives, and the first book to offer us a portrait of how welfare reform plays out in thousands of local welfare offices and in millions of homes across the nation.

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Hailed as a great success, welfare reform resulted in a dramatic decline in the welfare rolls--from 4.4 million families in 1996 to 2 million in 2003. But what does this "success" look like to the welfare mothers and welfare caseworkers who experienced it? In Flat Broke With Children, SharonHays tells us the story of welfare reform fr...

Sharon Hays is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Virginia. The author of The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood, she has been interviewed for publications such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Working Mother Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report.

other books by Sharon Hays

Mysteerie Manor II: The House That Keeps on Giving
Mysteerie Manor II: The House That Keeps on Giving

Kobo ebook|Mar 17 2013

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 5.31 × 7.91 × 0.59 inPublished:August 26, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195176014

ISBN - 13:9780195176018

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"A compelling study of the American system of welfare reform. Sharon Hays' engaging book is replete with insights on the impact of welfare reform on the procedures of welfare offices and on the lives of mothers and children who receive public assistance. I rank it among the best studies ofpoverty and welfare in the last two decades."--William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University