Abstracts from Volume 36, Number 3
INSTITUTIONS AND SAVINGS IN LOW INCOME
Jami Curley, Fred Ssewamala and Michael Sherraden
This paper examines the infl uence of structured savings program
arrangements on the saving performance of low-income households
in individual development accounts (IDAs). Data are drawn from
the American Dream Demonstration (1997-2004), which looked
at the saving performance of low-income households in matched
savings accounts across the United States. Hierarchical multivariate
regression is used to identify which specific structural program
arrangements are important in influencing the saving performance
of low-income families. Findings suggest that overall, structured
program arrangements, including financial education, peer mentoring
groups and saving targets are important in influencing
people’s saving performance—including low-income families.
RESCUING CHILDREN AND PUNISHING POOR
FAMILIES: HOUSING-RELATED DECISIONS
Child welfare policy is not self implementing; an understanding
of child welfare policy must therefore include the decision making
practices by those whom Michael Lipsky (1980) has called “streetlevel
bureaucrats.” This article reports data from a qualitative
study exploring perceptions of child welfare professionals about
housing-related child welfare decisions. Interviews were conducted
with a purposive sample of 18 child welfare lawyers, judges, and
masters level social workers from a large city in the mid-Atlantic
U.S. All agreed that there is insufficient affordable adequate
housing. They held conflicting views, however, on: 1) the standard
for adequate housing in the absence of a clear legal definition; 2)
who should be held responsible for housing that is deemed inadequate;
and 3) the consequences of housing conditions for supervised
children and their families. Rationales for decision-making
stem from contested understandings of responsibility and the role
of the state as protector of vulnerable children. These, in turn,
appear to be influenced by a combination of individual factors, including
personal values, ideology and life experiences; a response
in the face of limited resources and conflicting mandates common
to street-level bureaucracy; and professional and institutional
mandates that are perceived to proscribe behaviors and activities.
CHAT-ROOM VOICES OF DIVORCED NONRESIDENTIAL
Pauline Irit Erera and Nehami Baum
This study uses postings by divorced fathers to an unmoderated
Internet chat room to sound and analyze their voices. The findings
show that the posters expressed an acute sense of powerlessness
with respect to their status as non-residential fathers, the imposition
of child support, the mothers of their children, the family
courts, and lawyers and helping professionals. Although most
of their grievances have already been reported in the literature
on non-custodial post-divorce parenting, the anonymous postings
allow us to hear an intensity of feeling that comes through
much more faintly in studies based on interviews or focus groups.
Since the posters seem to be a particularly aggrieved and angry
group of men who are unlikely to seek professional counseling,
the authors suggest professional intervention via the Internet.
The challenges that chat room data poses to research are noted.
A MIXED METHODS ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL
OF LIBERIAN REFUGEE WOMEN IN GHANA
This article reports on a mixed methods study of Liberian refugee
women at the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana. The study examined
the role and impact of social capital on the women’s well-being.
Three types of social capital - bonding, bridging, and linking - were
examined. The study’s findings revealed that although the women
had some bonding social capital, they possessed very little bridging
social capital, and linking social capital was non-existent. These
findings suggest that the refugee women may benefit from national
and international policies and programs that seek to both strengthen
existing and create new sources of social capital for refugee women.
ETHICS WITH CHARACTER: VIRTUES AND THE
ETHICAL SOCIAL WORKER
This article explores the relevance to social work of those aspects
of applied ethics that are not primarily about identifying
and resolving dilemmas. It examines the potential of the
ethical tradition rooted in the virtues and character of the
practitioner—from Aristotle and Hippocrates to contemporary
virtue-based ethics in medicine—to guide and enrich our
understanding of the social work profession and the dispositions
or qualities of character its practice requires and develops.
THE LIMITS OF PATERNALISM: A CASE STUDY OF
WELFARE REFORM IN WISCONSIN
Thomas S. Moore and Swarnjit S. Arora
This paper uses a pooled sample constructed from the Food Stamp
Quality Control data for the fiscal years 1993 to 2006 to assess
the effects of welfare reform upon the employment, earnings,
income, and poverty trends among poor, single-mother families,
both in Wisconsin and nationwide. It finds that the employment
and earnings gains of the Wisconsin families exceed those of comparable
families nationwide. However, there has been no significant change in the average income of the Wisconsin families, and the number of extremely poor families has increased more rapidly in Wisconsin than in the country as a whole. These findings provide the basis for a discussion of Wisconsin’s antipoverty policy.
PREGNANT AND POOR IN THE SUBURB:
THE EXPERIENCES OF ECONOMICALLY
DISADVANTAGED WOMEN OF COLOR WITH
PRENATAL SERVICES IN A WEALTHY SUBURBAN
Linda E. Francis, Candyce S. Berger, Marianne Giardini,
Carolyn Steinman, and Karina Kim
This study explores the perinatal care experiences of disadvantaged
women of color in a wealthy U.S. suburb. The women were asked
to discuss the availability of health and social services during pregnancy,
continuity of provider and/or treatment, communication
issues with their providers, and the amount and type of support and
resources available. Many of the questions covered in literature on
urban poverty emerged as well in this suburban sample, including
economic and psychosocial barriers, and continuity and communication
issues between low-income/minority women and providers
of health and social services. Additional barriers in the suburbs
were also discussed, including problems of access to care and services,
with health insurance/reimbursement or financial accessibility,
transportation and housing, and getting needed information. Overall
findings support the argument that suburban poverty is an overlooked
issue contributing to health disparities in infant mortality.
FACTORS PREDICTING RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY
AMONG THE RECIPIENTS OF THE SECTION 8
HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is the
largest low-income federal housing program in the Unites States
and has a policy goal of promoting mobility or “choice.” This study
explored the factors that predict residential mobility among the
recipients of the HCV program in Columbus, Ohio by including
variables found to predict mobility among the general population
and two new variables that are specific to the HCV program:
total tenant payment (TTP); and fair market rent (FMR). Although
the findings revealed that race, gender, age and number
in family were significant in predicting residential mobility, the
variables affected by the housing market and the program’s policies
and budgets (increase in TTP and increase or decrease in
FMR) were more significant in predicting mobility. The findings
indicate that residential mobility among HCV recipients
had more to do with changes in the housing market and the
program’s policies and budgets than individual characteristics.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN UNEQUAL SOCIAL
SAFETY NET: A CASE STUDY OF THE EMPLOYERBASED
HEALTH INSURANCE (NON) SYSTEM
H. Luke Shaefer and Elizabeth D. Sammons
The U.S. social safety net exacerbates labor market inequalities
rather than ameliorating them. This paper traces this theme
within an important historical case study: the emergence of the
employer-based health insurance system. Employers became the
dominant and tax-preferred provider of health insurance in the
United States without any federal legislative action. Understanding
how this happened may inform current reform efforts. This
case study highlights two important factors. The first is path
dependency, discussed by Skocpol (1992) and Pierson (2000).
They argue that the ambiguous divisions of power and a pluralistic
governance framework favor incremental processes of social
policy formation in the United States. The second factor is the divisions
within the American workforce (Esping-Andersen, 1990).
Divisions by race and sex have often led to disadvantaged workers
being left out or underserved by U.S. social welfare policy.
The Americanization of Social Science: Intellectuals and Public
Responsibility in the Postwar United States.
David Paul Haney.
Reviewed by Richard K. Caputo.
People at Work: Life, Power, and Social Inclusion in the New
Economy. Marjorie L. DeVault, Editor.
Reviewed by James Midgley.
Research for Action: Cross-National Perspectives on
Connecting Knowledge, Policy, and Practice for Children.
Robert Chaskin and Jona M. Rosenfeld, Editors.
Reviewed by Ann Reyes Robbins.
The Revival of Labor Liberalism. Andrew Battista.
Reviewed by Larry Nackerud.
The Activation Dilemma: Reconciling the Fairness and
Effectiveness of Minimum Income Schemes in Europe.
Reviewed by James Midgley.
On the Frontier of Adulthood: Theory, Research, and Public
Policy. Richard A. Settersten, Frank Furstenberg Jr. and
Ruben G. Rumbaut.
Reviewed by Sarah Taylor.
The Dismal Science: How Thinking like an Economist
Undermines Community. Stephen A. Margin.
Reviewed by Christopher R. Larrison.
Seven Rules for Social Research. Glenn Firebaugh.
Reviewed by Yasuki Motoyoma.
Diversity, Oppression and Change. Flavio Francisco
Marsiglia and Stephen Kulis.
Reviewed by Qiaobing Wu.
A People’s History of Poverty in America. Stephen
Pimpare. Reviewed by James Midgley.
A Mother’s Work: How Feminism, the Market and Policy
Shape Family Life. Neil Gilbert.
Reviewed by Cheryl Hyde.
For the People: American Popular Movements from the
Revolution to the 1850s. Ronald P. Formisano.
Reviewed by James Midgley.