Work-Family Challenges for Low-Income Parents and Their Children

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The area of work and family is a hot topic in the social sciences and appeals to scholars in a wide range of disciplines. There are few edited volumes in this area, however, and this may be the only one that focuses on low-income families—a particularly important group in this era of welfare-to-work policy. Interdisciplinary in nature, the volume brings together contributors from the fields of psychology, social work, sociology, demography, economics, human development and family studies, and public policy. It presents important work-family topics from the point of view of low-income families at a time in history when welfare to work programs have become standard. Divided into four parts, each section addresses a different aspect of the topic, consisting of a big picture lead essay which is followed by three papers that critique, extend, and supplement the final paper. Many of the chapters address important social policy issues, giving the volume an applied focus which will make it of interest to many groups.

Serving to organize the volume, these issues and others have been encapsulated into four sets of anchor questions:
*How has the availability, content, and stability of the jobs available for the working poor changed in recent decades? How do work circumstances for low-income families vary as a function of gender, family structure, race, ethnicity, and geography? What implications do these changes have for the widening inequality between the haves and have-nots?
*What features of work timing matter for families? What do we know about the impacts of shift work, long hours, seasonal work, and temporary work on employees, their family relationships, and their children's development?
*How are the child care needs of low-income families being met? What challenges do these families face with regard to child care, and how can child-care services be strengthened to support parents and to enhance child development?
*How are the challenges of managing work and family experienced by low-income men and women?

The primary audience for the book is academicians and their students, policy specialists, and people charged with developing and evaluating family-focused programs. The volume will be appropriate for classroom use in upper-level undergraduate courses and graduate courses in the fields of family sociology, demography, human development and family studies, women's studies, labor studies, and social work.

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Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Part I: How Has the Availability, Content, and Stability of the Jobs Available for the Working Poor Changed in Recent Decades? J. Bernstein, The Low-Wage Labor Market: Trends and Policy Implications. P. England, Labor Market and Family Trends and Public Policy Responses. L. Jensen, T. Slack, Beyond Low Wages: Underemployment in America. L.M. Casper, R.B. King, Changing Families, Shifting Economic Fortunes, and Meeting Basic Needs. Part II: What Features of Work Timing Matter for Families? H.B. Presser, Employment in a 24/7 Economy: Challenges for the Family. M. Perry-Jenkins, The Time and Timing of Work: Unique Challenges Facing Low-Income Families. K. Daly, Exploring Process and Control in Families Working Nonstandard Schedules. D.M. Almeida, Using Daily Diaries to Assess Temporal Friction Between Work and Family. Part III: How Are the Childcare Needs of Low-Income Families Being Met? A.C. Huston, Childcare for Low-Income Families: Problems and Promises. B. Thorne, The Crisis of Care. C.C. Raver, Childcare as a Work Support, a Child-Focused Intervention, and a Job. M. Zaslow, Childcare for Low-Income Families: Problems and Promise. Part IV: How Are the Challenges of Managing Work and Family Experienced by Low-Income Men and Women? S. Clampet-Lundquist, K. Edin, A. London, E. Scott, V. Hunter, "Making a Way Out of No Way": How Mothers Meet Basic Family Needs While Moving From Welfare to Work. B.R. Karney, S.H. Springer, Should Promoting Marriage Be the Next Stage of Welfare Reform? L.A. Bond, A.M.C. Hauf, Making Our Way Together: Collaboration in the Move From Welfare to Work. A.J. Cherlin, The Growing Compliance Burden for Recipients of Public Assistance. D.N. Hawkins, S.D. Whiteman, Balancing Work and Family: Problems and Solutions for Low-Income Families.

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