May 6, 2008

Flat Broke with Children - Sharon Hays

The subtitle is: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform.

I enjoyed this, because I haven't been reading as much non-fiction as I would like. I found this very thought-provoking. Those who advocate welfare reform say they are doing it to promote the family, but the reality is that the work requirements force single mothers to put their children in daycare. One thing the author also points out is that it creates a pool of desperate workers: they must get a job, and the employers know they can get away with paying minimum wage because there are always more workers. And the workers don't dare complain or they'll get fired.

This is definitely a sociology book, which I liked. The author really got to know both the welfare workers and the welfare recipients, to try to understand how the reforms were really working or not. I though it was well-researched, yet quite easy to read.


Wolfrham Hart said...

I have this idea on Welfare Reform. It isn't really a jobs program, but an educational one.

1. If required put the mother into a life/job skills/GED program.

2. Provide child care so we know mother will go to class. Hey it might help reinforce any lessons the chilren were learning in school that day.

3. Help mother get a better than minimum wage job.

I'm all about giving people a second chance, but the reality is we need to intellectually rearm a lot of people for the real world. Many didn't do it right the first time. I want them self-sufficient so we don't keep paying for them long term. The only downside is a lot of money up front and nobody wants to pay for that.

janiejane said...

I agree in principle, but only for older children. I think if the children are very young, the mother should have the option to stay home with the kids (if she wants). And only if the outside child care is actually good. I do agree that education is an important part of the plan.