Instability in patchworks of child care when moving from welfare to work

Ellen K. Scott, Andrew S London, Allison Hurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use longitudinal, qualitative interview data collected from 38 initially welfare-reliant women in Cleveland, Ohio to examine the factors driving instability in child-care arrangements when women transitioned from welfare to work. Grounded theory analysis revealed that decisions about care were circumscribed by scarce social and economic resources, women went to extraordinary lengths to patch together arrangements that typically involved multiple providers, relative care was central to patchworks of care, and patchworks of child care were often highly unstable. These complex arrangements and their instability were influenced by mothers' desires to find the most suitable arrangements for their children within resource and job constraints, dissatisfaction with providers, difficulties accessing subsidies, and changes in provider availability. Findings suggest that policymakers must consider instability in patchworks of multiple child-care providers as they consider alternatives for meeting low-wage working women's and children's needs for safe, affordable, accessible, and enriching nonmaternal child care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-386
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

Fingerprint

child care
welfare
working woman
low wage
qualitative interview
grounded theory
resources
subsidy
Child Care
Arrangement
Patchwork
economics
Resources

Keywords

  • Child care
  • Poverty
  • Qualitative data
  • Single mothers
  • Welfare reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Instability in patchworks of child care when moving from welfare to work. / Scott, Ellen K.; London, Andrew S; Hurst, Allison.

In: Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 67, No. 2, 05.2005, p. 370-386.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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