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Lawinski, Terese
Living on the edge in suburbia : from welfare to workfare / Terese Lawinski
Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press, c2010
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 3rd Floor  HV99.W45 L39 2010    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Public welfare -- New York (State) -- Westchester County
Welfare recipients -- New York (State) -- Westchester County -- Case studies
Welfare recipients -- Employment -- New York (State) -- Westchester County -- Case studies
Suburbanites -- New York (State) -- Westchester County -- Economic conditions -- Case studies
Working poor -- New York (State) -- Westchester County
Physical Description xi, 196 p. ; 23 cm
Summary Westchester County, New York, is thought of as suburban and affluent, but welfare reform hit hard here, too. The radical 1996 legislation created a temporary assistance program for poor families with harsher provisions than the program it replaced. It mandates "workfare," meaning that recipients must work as a condition of benefit receipt. But the work parents obtain in the so-called flexible labor market--jobs like home health care aide--are inflexible for them. One sick child can mean the loss of a job. In contrast to accounts of inner-city poor families, these suburban parents' stories reveal a broad array of precipitating circumstances leading to their downward economic slide and to welfare. They also provide insight into the bureaucratic machinations, rigid rules and mandates, disciplining techniques, and catch-22s that create an insecure environment for many families today. Many of these stories show that the need for welfare over time extends well beyond the federal government's five-year lifetime limit on welfare. Policies emphasizing work first also restrict access to education and further hinder parents' ability to gain a toehold in the economy. In this tale of people and policies, the author shows how the interests of governments are often at variance with those of vulnerable families, and how some government actions place more pressure on lives replete with stress
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 179-188) and index
Contents Introduction -- Living on the edge in suburbia -- From welfare to workfare -- The business of welfare -- Family needs versus welfare limits -- Insecurity and inflexibility of "flexible" labor -- Work first, workfare and education -- Divergent interests

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