Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Welfare Reform, Work-Family Tradeoffs, and Child Well-Being

TitleWelfare Reform, Work-Family Tradeoffs, and Child Well-Being
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsLondon, AS, Scott, EK, Edin, K, Hunter, V
JournalFamily Relations
ISBN Number01976664 (ISSN)
KeywordsChild well-being, Family, Low-wage work, Maternal employment, welfare reform, Work-family

Welfare reform and related policy changes have altered the context in which welfare-reliant women make choices about employment and family care. Using data from longitudinal qualitative interviews, we examined women's experiences of work-family tradeoffs and how they think their employment affected their children. Women identified multiple co-occurring costs and benefits of work for themselves and their children. Benefits included: increased income; increased self-esteem, feelings of independence, and social integration; and the ability to model work and self-sufficiency values for children. Costs included: working without increased income; overload, exhaustion, and stress; and less time and energy to be with, supervise, and support children. The relevance of these findings for family policy specialists and practitioners who work with low-income families is discussed.