Welfare reform and childcare in Texas : how poor women in San Antonio negotiate work and childcare needs
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In this paper I compare the lives of poor women receiving TANF with lives of poor women not receiving TANF in San Antonio to examine whether the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act is achieving its goal of helping poor women become self-sufficient. Using both survey and ethnographic data, I find that childcare is a significant barrier to work outside the home for both groups of women, but that women who are on or who have recently left TANF have an easier time getting into childcare centers and getting help with paying for care. The policies of the PRAWORA do not set up poor women for long term financial success and could in fact perpetuate the phenomenon of women cycling on and off of welfare and in and out of poverty.