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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2004): Welfare State - Overseas

POVERTY, WELFARE AND THE LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES OF NON METROPOLITAN SINGLE MOTHERS

J.B. Brown and D.T, Lichter

Rural Sociology, Vol. 69, 2004, p.282-301

Using the US National Survey of Family Growth, the authors document rural and urban single mothers' economic livelihood strategies. They find that employment, cohabitation and sharing with other adults are associated with economic well-being for both groups. However, single mothers in rural areas are less likely than their urban counterparts to benefit economically from full-time employment. Results suggest that "work first" policies are likely to be less effective in rural areas. The article concludes that rural single mothers experience higher rates of poverty, are less likely to receive cash assistance or food stamps and receive lower economic terms from employment.

PRIVATIZING THE WELFARE STATE: NON-PROFIT COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS AS POLITICAL ACTORS

N.P. Marwell

American Sociological Review, Vol. 69, 2004, p.205-291

The paper introduces and discusses a model describing three types of community based organisation (CBO) activity: service provision, community building and electoral politics. By reciprocally distributing services to residents and binding them to the organisation, CBOs create reliable voting constituencies for local elected officials. These officials then trade these constituencies at higher levels of the governmental system and steer government human service contracts to favoured CBOs. Through this process non profit CBOs can influence decisions about how contracts for the provision of social services are allocated and therefore impact on the ability of the poorest citizens to access these services.

REUNIFICATION OF FOSTER CHILDREN BEFORE AND AFTER WELFARE REFORM

K. Wells and S. Guo

Social Service Review, Vol. 78, 2004, p.74-95

The article explores whether a mother's income affects the speed at which her children are returned to her from foster care both before and after welfare reform. It examines the cases of 903 children from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and considers whether welfare reform has increased their time spent in foster care. Results indicate that families with children in foster care were less stable after reform than before and that the decision to return children to their families was increasingly influenced by family income. As the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act ended the entitlement to cash assistance available under the previous welfare policy, the findings have huge significance for families of children in foster care. The article concludes with calls to reorient US welfare policy towards reducing poverty rather than reducing cash assistance.

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