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

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

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The book I chose to write my paper on is Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform by Sharon Hays. In the book, the author looks at the welfare reform act enacted in 1996, known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. . She examines both the positive and negative effects that the Act has had on the poor as well as the effects it has had on society overall.
In her research, she spent over 600 hours in welfare offices, speaking to caseworkers, social workers, and welfare recipients and potential recipients themselves. She learned first hand how the Act affected the day to lives of poor women and their families, as well as how it affected the caseworkers who not only had to learn the large number of new rules and regulations required by the Act, but also had to deal on a day to day basis with the repercussions these changes had on the lives of their clients.
Hays found that initially most welfare workers were optimistic and even excited about the changes. Most workers felt that the Act represented real progress and allowed for positive changes which would positively impact the lives of their clients. Hays spoke to one welfare who said that welfare reform “offered the training and services necessary to 'make our clients' lives better, to make them better mothers, to make them more productive.'” But as she was soon to find out, welfare reform, while it did have a positive impact on the lives of some welfare clients, made the lives of most clients more difficult, not to mention the stress that it caused for the welfare workers who had to deal with the often confusing and illogical new rules.
The book deals with several sociological issues. It focuses on poverty, as well as s...


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...ichael Sauder. New York. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.
Collins, P. (1993) Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection. Inequality and Society from Social Science Perspectives on Social Stratification by J. Manza and M. Sauder. New York. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.
Federman, M. et al. What Does it Mean to be Poor in America? 1996 (2009). Pp. 296-310 in Inequality and Society: Social Science Perspectives on Social Stratification by Jeff Manza and Michael Sauder. New York. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.
Hays, Sharon. (2003). Flat Broke With Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform. New York. Oxford University Press, Inc.
Krugman, Paul. ([2007] 2009). “The Great Divergence”. Pp. 943-959 in Inequality and Society: Social Science Perspectives on Social Stratification by Jeff Manza and Michael Sauder. New York. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.

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