Welfare-to-work and the experience of single mothers in Australia : where are the benefits?

Grahame, Teresa & Marston, Gregory (2011) Welfare-to-work and the experience of single mothers in Australia : where are the benefits? Australian Social Work, 75(1), pp. 73-86.

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In July 2006 ‘welfare-to-work’ policies were introduced for single parents in Australia. These policies require most single parents with school aged children to be employed or seeking employment of 15-25 hours per week in return for their income support payment. The changes represented a sharp increase in the obligations applying to single parents on income support. This paper is concerned with how the well-being of single mothers who are combining income support and paid employment is being influenced by these stepped up activity requirements. The paper draws on data from semi-structured interviews with 21 Brisbane single mothers. The analysis explores participants’ experiences in the new policy environment utilizing the theoretical framework of ‘relational autonomy’. Relational approaches to autonomy emphasize the importance of relations of dependency and interdependency to the development of autonomy and well-being. The findings indicate that in their dealings with the welfare bureaucracy participants experienced a lack of recognition of their identities as mothers, paid workers and competent decision makers. These experiences have negative consequences for self worth, relational autonomy and ultimately the well-being of single parent families.

Impact and interest:

16 citations in Scopus
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11 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 56424
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2011.604093
ISSN: 0312-407X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIAL WORK (160700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2013 05:22
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 06:08

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