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Welfare and Mothering

  • By: A. Fiona Pearson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Welfare mothering refers to the parenting experiences of women who are raising children while receiving state aid. In more general usage, the term welfare refers to governmental programs intended to promote the well-being of disadvantaged individuals. Traditionally, such programs have provided services for individuals not participating in the formal labor economy, including children, the elderly, the unemployed, and the physically or mentally disabled.

Much of the current literature on welfare focuses on programs in the United States, in particular two programs that have serviced primarily mothers and children: Aid to Dependent Children/Aid to Families with Dependent Children, 1935–96; and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, 1997-present. Researchers generally agree that welfare, welfare mothers, and welfare mothering are similarly stigmatized within the United States. To combat this stigmatization, ...

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