Working it Out? Welfare Policies and Poor Single-Mother Families
Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Randy Albelda is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is the author of Economics and Feminism: Disturbances in the Field (Twayne Publishers), co-author of the books The War on the Poor: A Defense Manual (The New Press) and Glass Ceilings and Bottomless Pits: Women's Work, Women's Poverty (South End Press); and co-editor (with Ann Withorn) of Lost Ground: Welfare Reform, Poverty and Beyond (South End Press). She is currently working on a project estimating the costs and benefits of paid family and medical leave and co-editing a special issue on Lone Mothers for the journal Feminist Economics.
Working It Out? Welfare Policies and Poor Single-Mother Families
Radical changes to welfare policies by the states and federal government in the 1990s include strict work requirements and time limits. The numbers of families receiving welfare (and other forms of public assistance) has declined rapidly since these changes leading many policy makers to declare welfare reform a success. However, it is not at all clear that the types of welfare policies enacted will alleviate poverty or promote "self-sufficiency" among single mother families (the family type most likely to receive welfare) because the job market and pressing family needs are not resolved by welfare-to-work policies. Instead, comprehensive policies directed at improving the conditions of low-wage work and expanding options and access to caregiving services are needed to address the main problems faced by poor families with children.