Family Shelter and Public Assistance
When parents must rely on public assistance and family shelters to provide for their children's most basic needs, they lose autonomy. Within a system of public assistance that already stigmatizes and isolates its beneficiaries, their family lives become subject to public scrutiny and criticism. They are parenting in public.
This book is an in-depth examination of the realities of life for parents and their children in family shelters. The author uses the Massachusetts family shelter system to explore the impact of asset and deficit-oriented help-giving approaches as they are experienced by mothers and service providers.
The format of the book is unique. Following each chapter are the "reflections" of a mother who has parented in a shelter, a front-line worker, and a shelter director. The author and contributors propose a "Power With" policy and practice framework that runs counter to the prevailing "Power Over" cultural policy trends.
Contributors include Rosa Clark, Brenda Farrell, Deborah Gray, Michele Kahan, Margaret A. Leonard, Mary T. Lewis, Nancy Schwoyer, and Elizabeth Ward.
"Parents that rely upon public assistance are forced to subject the inner workings of their families to the scrutiny and criticism of the public. This book examines the Massacusetts family shelter system to provide a better understanding of this delicate situation and the additional strain it places upon already-stressed families." — Journal of Social Work Education
"Refreshing... detailed... clear." — Infant & Child Development
"This is a landmark book—it will help us to understand how children grow up (and parents do their family work) under the most difficult of circumstances. Here is human understanding rendered forthrightly, lucidly, compellingly." — Robert Coles, Harvard University
1. Parenting and Public Assistance
2. Family Shelter Environments
3. Parental Rights and the Protection of Children
4. Shelter Rules
5. Individualized and Standardized Service
6. The Paradox of Self-Sufficiency: Building Community and Interdependence
7. Final Group Reflection
8. We Need a Revolution