The Negotiation of Child Care and Employment Demands Among Low-Income Parents

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Abstract

Low-income working mothers face significant child care challenges. These challenges are particularly salient in an era of welfare reform, when welfare recipients are under increased pressure to find a job. The current study examines how child care demands are negotiated for an urban sample of low-income mothers. The sample includes a racially and ethnically diverse group of 57 respondents with and without welfare experience who are mothering children under 13 years of age and working in entry-level jobs. Findings suggest that respondents seek arrangements that are affordable, convenient, and safe, and informal arrangements may be most compatible with convenience and cost considerations. Informal care is not universally available, however, andmay be less reliable. Implications for child care policy are discussed.

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