Faces of Poverty Portraits of Women and Children on Welfare

ISBN-10: 0195113756

ISBN-13: 9780195113754

Edition: 1997

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Description:

Most Americans are insulated from the poor; it's hard to imagine the challenges of poverty, the daily fears of crime and victimization, the frustration of not being able to provide for a child. Instead, we are often exposed to the rhetoric and hyperbole about the excesses of the American welfare system. These messages color our perception of the welfare problem in the United States and they close the American mind to a full understanding of the complexity of family poverty. But who are these poor families? What do we know about how they arrived in such desperate straits? Is poverty their fate for a lifetime or for only a brief period? In Faces of Poverty, Jill Duerr Berrick answers these questions as she dispels the misconceptions and myths about welfare and the welfare population that have clouded the true picture of poverty in America. Over the course of a year, Berrick spent numerous hours as a participant-observer with five women and their families, documenting their daily activities, thoughts, and fears as they managed the strains of poverty. We meet Ana, Sandy, Rebecca, Darlene, and Cora, all of whom, at some point, have turned to welfare for support. Each represents a wider segment of the welfare population--ranging from Ana (who lost a business, injured her back, and temporarily lost her job, all in a short period of time) to Cora (who was raised in poverty, spent ten years in an abusive relationship, and now struggles to raise six children in a drug-infested neighborhood). And as Berrick documents these women's experiences, she also debunks many of the myths about welfare: she reveals that welfare is not generous (welfare families remain below the poverty line even with government assistance); that the majority of women on welfare are not long-term welfare dependents; that welfare does not run in families; that "welfare mothers" do not keep having children to increase their payments (women on welfare have, on average, two children); and that almost half of all women on welfare turned to it after a divorce. At a time when welfare has become a hotly debated political issue, Faces of Poverty gives us the facts. The debate surrounding welfare will continue as each of the 50 states struggles to reform their welfare programs, and this debate will turn on the public's perception of the welfare population. Berrick offers insight into each of the reforms under consideration and starkly demonstrates their implications for poor women and children. She provides a window into these women's lives, brilliantly portraying their hopes and fears and their struggle to live with dignity.
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Book details

List price: $39.99
Copyright year: 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/27/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.396
Language: English

James A. Michener, 1907 - 1997 James Albert Michener was born on February 3, 1907 in Doylestown, Pa. He earned an A.B. from Swarthmore College, an A.M. from Colorado State College of Education, and an M.A. from Harvard University. He taught for many years and was an editor for Macmillan Publishing Company. His first book, "Tales of the South Pacific," derived from Michener's service in the Pacific in World War II, won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was the basis for the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical South Pacific, which won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Michener completed close to 40 novels. Some other epic works include "Hawaii," "Centennial," "Space," and "Caribbean." He also wrote a significant amount of nonfiction including his autobiography "The World Is My Home." Among his many other honors, James Michener received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. He was married to Patti Koon in 1935; they divorced in 1948. He married Vange Nord in 1948 (divorced 1955) and Mari Yoriko Sabusawa in 1955 (deceased 1994). He died in 1997 in Austin, Texas.

Acknowledgments
Introduction Living Poverty
What is Welfare?
Ana: Caught in Circumstances Beyond Her Control
Sandy: Working but Poor
Rebecca: Motivation and a Fighting Spirit
Darlene: Complex People, Complex Problems
Cora: a Portrait of Dependency
Finding a Better Way
Appendix: Study Methods
Notes
Index
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