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Abstracts from Volume 30, Number 2
(June, 2003)

The Mommy Track: The Consequences of GenderIdeology and Aspirations on Age At First Motherhood
Jennifer Stewart
While there is extensive and compelling evidence that growing up in an impoverished background leads to early fertility, few studies explain why early socioeconomic disadvantage leads to early childbearing. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I test whether gender ideology, as well as educational and occupational aspirations, mediates the connection between poverty and teen fertility patterns. Traditional gender ideology depresses age at first motherhood. Adolescent aspirations appear to act as protective factors in the production of early pregnancy.

Changing Women: An Ethnographic Study of Homeless Mothers and Popular Education
Lorna Rivera
This article discusses ethnographic research conducted between 1995 and 1998 that studied the impact of popular education on the lives of fifty homeless and formerly homeless mothers. Data collection involved indepth interviews and participant observation in a family shelter located in one of Boston's poorest neighborhoods. The article argues that popular education increased the women's self-esteem, they were inspired to help other low-income women, they learned to advocate for their rights and they became more involved in their children's education. The findings suggest that popular education can best address the academic, personal, and community goals of very poor women.

The Settlement House Tradition: Current Trends and Future Concerns Beverly Koerin
The settlement tradition represents a comprehensive approach that "strengthens individual and neighborhood assets, and builds collective capacity to address community problems" (Hirota, Brown, & Martin, 1996, p. i). While there is a rich literature on the history of the settlement movement, there is little information about contemporary settlement houses. This paper reports findings of a national survey of settlement houses/neighborhood centers that provide information about programs and services offered, populations served, unmet community needs, and policies or trends that contribute to or respond to these needs.

The First Four Months in a New Foster Placement: Psychosocial Adjustment, Parental Contact and Placement Disruption
James G. Barber
Intake and four-month follow-up measures were obtained for 235 children referred into a new foster care placement over a 12-month period in the Australian State of South Australia.Twenty-five percent of the sample returned home within 4-months, and for those who remained in care throughout, there had been modest gains in behavior, psychological adjustment and adjustment at school. On the other hand, there were considerable levels of placement disruption, a high degree of non-compliance with parental visiting plans, and a high proportion of children fell outside ninety-five percent confidence intervals for the general adolescent population on most well-being measures, particularly conduct disorder.

Linking Welfare Clients to Jobs: Discretionary Use of Worker Social Capital
Michelle Livermore
Children and the Courts Judicial Council of California Administrative Office of the Courts The overarching theme of the 1996 welfare reform law was to move clients from dependency to self-sufficiency by facilitating their entry into the labor market. While numerous mechanisms were used to do this, this study explores discretionary actions taken by workers to help clients find jobs, namely, tapping into their own social capital. Respondents in one urban and one rural county in a southern state reported using their own social capital to get information regarding job openings and to exert influence to get clients hired. Notably, respondents at all levels of the bureaucracy expected this behavior to occur. Both the positive and negative aspects of social capital emerged as points of discussion in the rural county. Potential bene.ts and risks of worker social capital use are discussed as are future research directions and implications.

Head Start, Other Preschool Programs, & Life Success in a Youth Cohort
Richard K. Caputo
This study assesses the effects of Head Start and other preschool programs on five life success measures in a U.S. cohort of youth (N = 5,621). The life success indices are average annual income-to-poverty ratios, economic mobility, and number of years the youth lived in families whose incomes fell below official poverty thresholds, received Food Stamps, and received TANF/AFDC. Controlling for a variety of background and other factors in separate regression models for each life success measure, results show that youth who participated in preschool programs other than Head Start had higher average annual income-to-poverty ratios than nonpreschoolers. Bivariate findings corroborate previous research indicating that Head Starters are economically and behaviorally disadvantaged compared to both other preschool and non-preschool children. Multivariate .ndings of this study also show that Head Starters do as well as nonpreschoolers in regard to the four other life success measures. In essence, on these measures Head Starters become mainstreamed by the time they enter the labor force, start their own families, and form their own households, such that they fare no better or worse than other preschoolers and nonpreschoolers in regard to economic mobility, years lived in poor families, and receipt of Food Stamps and TANF/AFDC. Findings support continued funding of Head Start but also suggest that higher levels of funding may be necessary to raise family incomes above poverty comparable to other preschool programs.

What's Need Got to Do with It? Barriers to Use of Nonprofit Social Services
Rebecca Joyce Kissane
In recent years, legislators have called upon private nonprofit and proprietary organizations to assume a larger role in provision of public benefits to poor persons. Little research, however, has examined poor people's willingness to use nonprofit agencies in lieu of public welfare. This analysis draws data from over 2 years of fieldwork and in-depth interviews with twenty poor women in Philadelphia. I demonstrate that decisions to use nonprofits are contingent upon stigma, information, practical predicaments (e.g., agency hours), and perceived need. I explore the implications of these impediments in a post-welfare reform landscape, while focusing on how decisions to use private services differ from those to use public welfare. One cannot assume that because people have needs they will use nonprofit services to meet them.

Why Special Populations Are Not the Target of Family Preservation Services: A Case for Program Reform
Ramona W. Denby & Carla M. Curtis
The number of children who have been placed outside their homes of origin as a result of abuse, neglect, delinquency, emotional problems, or developmental disabilities, is astronomical and steadily increasing. Of this number, "special populations" like children of color continue to be disproportionately represented. Intensive family preservation, a program that attempts to reduce out-of-home placement rates, has not demonstrated empirically, a sustained record of success in the reduction of placement rates among special populations. The purpose of the current study was to understand the manner in which special populations are targeted for services by examining the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of a national sample of family preservation workers. Results indicate a significant bias against targeting family preservation services to special populations in general, and children of color in particular. Specific recommendations about the targeting of special populations are given.

Book Reviews
Diminishing Welfare: A Cross National Study of Social Provision.

Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg and Marguerite Rosentha
Reviewed by Charles Guzzetta

Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times & Places.
Robert J. MacCoun and Peter Reuter

Reviewed by Lorraine T. Midanik

Creating Fear: News and the Construction of a Crisis.
David L. Altheide
Reviewed by Allan Brawley

The Environment: Its Role in Psychosocial Functioning and Psychotherapy.
Carolyn Saari

Reviewed by Timothy Page

Ageism: Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Older Persons.
Todd Nelson
Reviewed by Nancy R. Hooyman

Care Work: The Quest for Security.
Mary Daly
Reviewed by Katherine van Wormer

Book Notes
Children as Pawns: The Politics of Educational Reform.
Timothy A. Hacsi

The Funding of Scienti.c Racism:Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund.
William H. Tucker

Council on Social Work Education: Its Antecendents and First Twenty Years.
Katherine Kendall

Beyond the New Paternalism: Basic Security as Equality.
Guy Standing

The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare.

Ram A. Cnaan with Stephanie C. Boddie, Femida Handy, Gaynor Yancey and Richard Schneider

The New World of Welfare.

Rebecca Blank and Ron Haskins

 

 

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