Title

Women's Immersion in a Workfare Program

Start Time

14-10-2009 7:00 PM

End Time

14-10-2009 9:00 PM

Abstract

Introduction and Literature Review: Over five million families in the US, headed by single mothers who were receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) beginning in 1996 were required to enter Workfare- requiring work to earn the welfare benefit. The literature review examined four areas: (1) Socio-historical context, research studies that focus on poor women's interactions with barriers to work versus self-sufficiency, research studies describing interactions between work, family and rolestrain, and the psychological well being of women during the transition to work and finally the outcomes of TANF programs after 1996.The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the impact of the mandated Workfare program(forced transition) on the lives of women and their families (in their own words) in relation to routines of daily life, and preparation for employment. In this study I describe, analyze, and interpret the narratives of six women who were participants in the mandated Workfare program. I identified patterns and themes that emerge in their narratives addressing the research questions. Six thematic lived aspects of forced transition emerged in the lives of the volunteers in the mandated Workfare program: Compliance, Engagement in Work Activities, Conflict with Authority, Family-Work Spill-0ver, Struggling with the System and Contemplating Change. Methodology: This section of the presentation explores the researchers stance, listening for emerging bias, research procedures including description of recruitment of participants, data collection, data management, analysis, and methods to achieve trustworthiness. Findings: Five multiple barriers emerged as interfering with the successful transition to employment and caring occupations in family life; serious psychosocial and medical problems with children and adolescents in the family, lack of adequate preparation in developing literacy skills in reading and writing, stigma from history of welfare, incarceration and drug abuse, no child-care provisions for teenagers and the threat of food and housing insecurity. Future Research: This research looked directly at the experiences of six women who were not able to transition successfully to employment because of interruptions to daily occupation, due to environmental, health and societal problems. Recommendations are made for policy change and occupational therapy intervention. Future occupational science research is needed to expand the understanding of the relationship between organizations, systems and the individual who transitions to employment while providing caring occupations for the family.

References

Clark, F. (1993). Occupation embedded in real life: Interweaving occupational science and occupational therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47(12),1067-1078

Cortazi, M. (1993). Narrative analysis. London, Falmer Press.

Greer, E. (2007). Women's immersion in a Workfare Program; Emerging Challenges for Occupational Therapists. Co-published simultaneously in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health. Volume 23, Numbers3/4 2007. DOI: 10.1300/J004v23n03_07

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Oct 14th, 7:00 PM Oct 14th, 9:00 PM

Women's Immersion in a Workfare Program

Introduction and Literature Review: Over five million families in the US, headed by single mothers who were receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) beginning in 1996 were required to enter Workfare- requiring work to earn the welfare benefit. The literature review examined four areas: (1) Socio-historical context, research studies that focus on poor women's interactions with barriers to work versus self-sufficiency, research studies describing interactions between work, family and rolestrain, and the psychological well being of women during the transition to work and finally the outcomes of TANF programs after 1996.The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the impact of the mandated Workfare program(forced transition) on the lives of women and their families (in their own words) in relation to routines of daily life, and preparation for employment. In this study I describe, analyze, and interpret the narratives of six women who were participants in the mandated Workfare program. I identified patterns and themes that emerge in their narratives addressing the research questions. Six thematic lived aspects of forced transition emerged in the lives of the volunteers in the mandated Workfare program: Compliance, Engagement in Work Activities, Conflict with Authority, Family-Work Spill-0ver, Struggling with the System and Contemplating Change. Methodology: This section of the presentation explores the researchers stance, listening for emerging bias, research procedures including description of recruitment of participants, data collection, data management, analysis, and methods to achieve trustworthiness. Findings: Five multiple barriers emerged as interfering with the successful transition to employment and caring occupations in family life; serious psychosocial and medical problems with children and adolescents in the family, lack of adequate preparation in developing literacy skills in reading and writing, stigma from history of welfare, incarceration and drug abuse, no child-care provisions for teenagers and the threat of food and housing insecurity. Future Research: This research looked directly at the experiences of six women who were not able to transition successfully to employment because of interruptions to daily occupation, due to environmental, health and societal problems. Recommendations are made for policy change and occupational therapy intervention. Future occupational science research is needed to expand the understanding of the relationship between organizations, systems and the individual who transitions to employment while providing caring occupations for the family.