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It takes a community to raise a child : income support programs and lone mothers Blown, Suzanne Carys 2004

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It Takes a Community to Raise a Child: Income Support Programs and Lone Mothers by Suzanne Carys Blown B A , University of Victoria, 1995 B S W , University of Victoria, 1998 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S ( P L A N N I N G ) in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S Schoo l of Community and Regional Planning W e accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A June 2004 © Suzanne Carys Blown, 2004 L i b r a r y A u t h o r i z a t i o n In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia , I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be al lowed without my written permission. S u z a n n e Blown June 30, 2004 N a m e of Author (please print) Date (dd/mm/yyyy) Title of Thes is : It Takes a Communi ty to Ra i se a Chi ld : Income Support Programs and Lone Mothers Degree: Master of Arts (Planning) Year : 2004 Department of Communi ty and Regional Planning The University of British Co lumbia Vancouver , B C C a n a d a Abstract This thesis employs a comparative framework for examining two different approaches to income support for lone mothers: the current British Columbia (BC) model and the current Swedish model. The two models are based within their respective traditions of the welfare state. Each approach represents a distinctive response to the prevalent economic vulnerability of lone mothers. In order to compare the models, I pose questions related to feminization of poverty, to tensions between worker and parent roles, and to notions of citizenship. Drawing on lessons learned from the BC and Swedish model, this thesis then explores an alternative, community development approach that incorporates principles of social justice and ecological sustainability in the goal of economic security for lone mothers. Lastly, I offer conclusions and planning implications. ii Table of Contents Page Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Tables iv List of Figures v Chapter I: Introduction 1 Chapter II: It Takes a Parent to Ra i se a Chi ld: Neo-Liberal Pol ic ies in British Columbia (BC) 2.1 Introduction 8 2.2 Neo-L ibera l i sm and Soc ia l P rograms 9 2.3 The Ministry for Human R e s o u r c e s 10 2.4 The Employment and Assistance Act 11 2.5 Income Support P rograms 11 2.6 Recen t Pol icy C h a n g e s 14 2.7 S u m m a r y 15 Chapter III: It Takes a Nation to Ra i se a Chi ld: Swed i sh Pol ic ies and Lone Mothers 3.1 Introduction 16 3.2 Income Support P rograms in S w e d e n 16 3.3 S u m m a r y 21 Chapter IV: Compar i sons of the B C and Swed i sh Models 4.1 Introduction 2 3 4.2 Femin izat ion of Poverty 23 4.3 Worke r ve rsus Parent Tens ions 33 4.4 Not ions of C i t izensh ip 36 4.5 S u m m a r y 40 Chapter V: It Takes a Community to Raise a Chi ld: Planning for C h a n g e 5.1 Introduction 41 5.2 Beyond the Wel fare State 4 3 5.3 Definit ion of Communi ty 44 5.4 Pr inc ip les of Communi ty Deve lopment 4 5 5.5 Decentral izat ion and Ci t izen Part ic ipat ion 47 5.6 T h e Communi ty Board 52 5.7 P rogram Examp les 55 5.8 Ana l ys i s of the Communi ty Deve lopment A p p r o a c h 60 5.9 S u m m a r y 66 Chapter VI: Conclus ions and Planning Implications References 68 70 List of Tables Table Number and Description Page 2.1 2004 Rates for Single Mothers on Income Ass i s tance 12 4.1 Compar i sons between Family Programs in B C and S w e d e n 28 5.1 Compar i sons of Approaches 67 iv List of Figures Figure Number and Description Page 4.1 Percentage of Lone Mothers Living Below the Poverty Line in Sweden and Canada 25 4.2 Percentage of Families with After-Tax Incomes Below Statistics Canada's Low-Income Cutoff, by Family Type, 1998 26 5.1 Holistic Framework 46 5.2 Freedom from Poverty and Disadvantage 47 5.3 Governance Structure of the Community Development Approach 54 5.4 Community Programs 56 V Chapter I Introduction Lone mothers and their children have traditionally been perceived as a 'problem' constituency in our society. They have been variously pathologized, stigmatized and marginalized. However, this thesis contends family structure is not the problem; it is lone mothers' vulnerability to economic disadvantage that is of concern. Whatever poverty measure is used, lone mothers emerge as one of the poorest groups in the Western World (Polakow et al, 2001). Similar problems and obstacles confront low-income single mothers in different countries, such as lack of access to education, to stable, well paid employment, to childcare and to public supports that ease the tensions between work and home life. Studying the effects of income support policies on lone mothers is important for various reasons. Policies that affect lone mothers impact directly on their children. Reducing child poverty is high on the agenda for many governments, but in order to do so they must address the issue of poverty within the context of lone mothers' families. In addition, the situation of lone mothers can provide sensitive indicators of the dangers posed to all women by economic and social policies (Winkler, 2002). Understanding the situation of lone mothers can provide insight into the concept of gender equality within a nation. Lone motherhood is a litmus test of gendered social rights (Hobson, 1994). Purpose The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate two different models of income support for lone mothers, the current British Columbia (BC) Model and the current Swedish Model, and to address their respective limitations by exploring a community l development approach. I have chosen to focus on Sweden and B C as they represent two contrasting governmental responses to single mothers and poverty even though both are based within the traditions of the welfare state. Contrasting welfare state regimes can contribute to our understanding of social policies and ideology, and provide an opportunity to a s sess the relative success of different policy approaches . B C is currently pursuing a strongly neo-liberal approach to policy, while S w e d e n has a long and continuing tradition of social democracy. B C is an interesting case to study as major changes to income assis tance policies are currently taking place here. The current changes represent a culmination of success ive governments ' policies that firmly entrench the neo-liberal ideology. Sweden offers a distinct alternative in a time when fiscal restraint and reductions to the social safety net s e e m taken for granted in B C . However , upon examination, it is clear that neither model coherently and comprehensively addresses the needs of single mothers. In light of the respective limitations of the B C and Swedish models, I d iscuss a community development approach that offers innovative and alternative ways to support lone mothers. Throughout the thesis I use the terms lone mothers and single mothers interchangeably. The term lone mother is more common in the European literature and the term single mother is more common in North Amer ica ; hence, I use the two synonymously. The BC Model The B C Mode l is characterized by a neo-liberal approach to socia l programs. The main thrust of neo-liberalism is to reinforce the primacy of the market for distributing goods and services and regulating human activity. The guiding assumption is that a healthy market will benefit everyone. Assoc ia ted with growing neo-liberalisrh has been 2 a shift from perceiving social rights as an important component of cit izenship toward policies that emphas ize personal responsibility and the economic self-sufficiency of individuals, regardless of whether they are disabled, unemployed or lone mothers. This model s t resses private solutions to social issues (Evans & Weker le , 1997, Jayasur iya , 2002, More l 1998, Mulvale, 2001). Socia l programs within this model are heavily means tested, targeted towards low-income people and provide low benefit rates. For example , people in B C who receive income assis tance (IA), including single mothers, live far below the poverty line (Goldberg & Long, 2001). The Swedish Model The Swed i sh Model falls within the social democratic tradition. T h e social democrat ic ideology is characterized by support for universal social programs that give support to those who may be economically vulnerable to the fluctuations of the market and are at risk of structural discrimination. The 'women-friendly' Swed i sh welfare state is characterized by family-centred, universal support programs, des igned to foster equality among all children. There is strong emphasis on full (full-time and permanent) employment for all mothers. Var ious programs such as universal childcare and generous parental leaves contribute to this goal . Although, single mothers in S w e d e n have one of the lowest rates of poverty in the Western World , they are still economical ly disadvantaged relative to partnered mothers. Comparisons of Approaches In order to evaluate the two models, I employ a comparative framework. The framework is composed of three sets of questions. The first set of questions explores the feminization of poverty, which refers to the large number of single mothers and 3 w o m e n whose incomes fall below the mean around the Western world. This is because w o m e n earn significantly less than men both in Sweden and C a n a d a , and are over-represented in the lower paid occupations. Single motherhood tends to be correlated with poverty due to the gendered wage gap and/or lone mother's role as primary caregiver. For single mothers with young children, working full time is not a lways a feasible option, especial ly without affordable childcare. In B C , the only socia l program available to single mothers that guarantees a minimum income is "income assistance". However , living on income assis tance means living well below the poverty line. The second set of questions explores the tension between worker and parent roles. Traditionally, most women were not engaged in the paid labour force. Their responsibilities included care giving for family members and looking after the home. With the fairly recent advent of women working outside the home, w o m e n have had less time for home responsibilities. However, they have maintained the majority of the responsibilities, as compared to men. W o m e n devote many hours a week to running a household and this can conflict with the demands of full-time work. B e c a u s e single mothers have no partners to share household duties, this creates particular tensions for members of this group. There are a number of policies in Sweden , such as reduced work hours and public childcare that help to mitigate the tension; however, tensions between work and home life still exist. The option to work part time, as some partnered mothers do, is not always feasible for single mothers due to the need for a full time wage to support their family. In B C the tension is more pronounced than in Sweden , as there are few employment supports in place for single mothers. The third set of questions I pose centre on the notion of citizenship. T . H . Marshal l (1950), a prominent British sociologist defined citizenship rights to include civil, political and social rights. Civi l rights include the right of individual freedom, liberty of 4 the person, right to freedom of speech, thought and faith. Political rights are the rights to exercise political power, either through voting or as an elected representative. A number of authors argue it is necessary to expand the notion of political rights to include the right to participation in decision-making processes (Lister, 1997). The idea of social rights includes ensuring that basic needs are addressed by safety nets and state subsidies to the extent necessary. The welfare state has embodied in many ways the concept of social rights. S o m e critics argue against including social rights as a basis for cit izenship. They contend it is unfair to expect the state to bear the costs social rights entail. They also argue that social rights are contingent on the duty to engage in paid work. However , socia l rights promote the effective exercise of civil and political rights by groups who are disadvantaged in terms of power and resources. Without socia l rights, gross inequalities would undermine the equality of political and civil status inherent in the idea of cit izenship (Lister, 1997). In addition to the notion of rights, citizenship also includes responsibilities and duties. The responsibility of citizenship has been traditionally defined as paying taxes, getting an education, and performing military services. However, others have argued for an expanded notion such as contributing to the welfare of the community (Marshall , 1950, Lister, 1997). The key concept is balancing rights with duties, and broadening our concept of duty to include the care giving and community service work of lone mothers. M a n y feminists have shown that liberal democracies have privileged their foundational principles on a 'public man' as political actor and thus excluded those who have traditionally been confined to the private sphere, w o m e n and children, from becoming engaged citizens (Lister 1997, Rai , 2000). S u c h is the case in B C where 5 single mothers on income assistance are treated as second-class citizens because they are not engaged in paid work. They are given a meager income to live on and their contribution to society through their reproduction and social roles is devalued. The same is true of single mothers on general assistance in Sweden; however, because of other generous supports most single mothers do not have to rely on this program. An employed single mother in Sweden is accorded full social citizenship rights with access to a wide array of the state's resources. The Community Development Approach The community development approach is based on normative ideals given that it is not implemented as a coherent system anywhere in the world. I have pulled together theories, principles and program examples in order to create a community development alternative to the welfare state model. The community development alternative promotes an alternative economic system to capitalism and emphasizes holism and balance in social justice and ecology. This alternative is based on a system of locally governed communities that supports inclusion and empowerment of single mothers through democratization and participation in civic life. I use the same set of analytic questions, as mentioned above, to analyse this approach. The fundamental objective of this approach is to honour through fostering their economic security, the contributions single mothers make by their domestic, reproductive work, productive work and community roles. The emphasis is on promoting single mothers' agency by integrating these roles, not privileging one over the s other, as happens in the BC and Swedish models. 6 Format of the Thesis Chapter T w o describes the B C , neo-liberal model of income support for lone mothers, including a discuss ion of how recent policy changes to income ass is tance affect lone mothers. Chapter Three explains the Swedish , social democrat ic model focussing on the policies that relate to lone mothers. Chapter Four compares these two models . Chapter Five explores a community development alternative, describing how it can address many of the limitations in both the B C and Swed i sh models . Finally, Chapter S ix presents conclusions and planning implications. 7 Chapter II It Takes a Parent to Raise a Child: Neo-Liberal Policies in BC 2.1 Introduction Over the past decade in Canada , the federal government and many provincial governments have embraced neo-liberal ideology to inform their governance strategy and socia l and family policies. Success ive governments in B C have increased the use of means tested and targeted income transfer programs and reduced the use of universal social programs. A s a continued move in this direction, in 2002, the B C provincial government instituted comprehensive policy changes to the income ass is tance (IA) or "welfare" system that have reduced rates and restricted eligibility. The type of reforms occurring in B C are consistent with aspects of larger Canad i an and international trends. Ontario and Alberta have led the way in welfare reforms in C a n a d a , but many of the reforms in B C are unprecedented. In this chapter, I will describe the current model of income ass is tance in B C and the recent policy changes that affect lone mothers. Due to the fact that lone mothers make up a large proportion (37% ( B C Stats, 2004)) of the income ass is tance case load , it is clear that there are many implications for lone mothers and their economic security. I will limit my discuss ion to the IA program for single mothers who are classified as employable or temporarily excused from employment. I will not d i scuss the IA programs for people with disabilities, although some single mothers fall under this category. In addition, I will not address the heterogeneity of lone mothers. There are various sub-groups of single mothers for example, aboriginal, immigrants, teenagers, and lesbians. T h e s e groups deserve specific attention; however, I a m not able to cover this important 8 characteristic in this chapter or thesis. Despite the differences, there are still common factors that justify treating lone mothers as a group. 2.2 Neo-Liberalism and Social Programs The transformation that is occurring in the delivery and governance of income ass is tance is reflective of a neo-liberal ideology that is evident across the country and the globe in the social policy and programs of Ontario, Alberta , the United States and Great Britain. Over the last two decades, governments in liberal democrac ies have pursued a range of policy changes, in the name of enhancing general economic performance, that have led to substantial reductions in the scope, coherence, and accessibil i ty of the social safety net (Brodie, 2002, Burt, 1997). In Britain in the 1980's, Margaret Thatcher made sweeping changes to the British benefits system, which affected many low-income people. In 1996 the United States created its Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which focused on restricting eligibility to welfare benefits and a redirection of recipients to find jobs. In the mid to late 1990's the governments of Ontario and Alber ta followed suit. The B C government contends that its new income ass is tance policies will lead to increased employment for welfare recipients and decreased reliance on government. However , the B C government makes little attempt to create programs that will assist lone mothers (such as childcare funding), in attaining employment that will adequately meet the needs of their family without turning them into the working poor. Both community groups and international organizations, such as the United Nations, have criticized these reforms. They argue that the changes undermine the socia l safety net and threaten economic security, especially for economical ly vulnerable populations, 9 such as single mothers, aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, seniors, youth, and new immigrants. 2.3 The Ministry of Human Resources Throughout the years in B C , success ive governments have reduced benefit rates, limited accessibility, and required recipients to spend more time in training and job search. The changes introduced in 2002 by the Ministry of Human Resources ( M H R ) were particularly sweeping and reflective of some of the U . S . models , specifically the state of Wiscons in (For more information on Wiscons in ' s system see Appendix 1: A Close r Look at the "Wisconsin Miracle": The Human Side of Welfare Restructuring in Klein and Long, 2003). The Ministry of Human Resources , which has responsibility for the delivery of income ass is tance in B C , states that its mission is to provide "services that move people towards sustainable employment and to assist individuals and families in need." (2003/2004 Ministry of Human Resources Service Plan , 2003). The vision of the Ministry is a "province in which those British Columbians in need are assis ted to achieve their socia l and economic potential"(lbid). In order to achieve this vision and fulfill its mandate a number of guiding principles have been implemented including "personal responsibility, active participation, innovative partnerships, citizen confidence, fairness and transparency, clear outcomes and accountability for results"(lbid). In addition to shifts in principles and vision, the government announced in January 2002 that it would be reducing the operating budget of the Ministry of Human Resources by $581 million (30 %) over 3 years (Klein & Long, 2003). In the 2003 B C budget it was announced that the total cut to M H R would be $609 million. 10 2.4 The Employment and Assistance Act In Apri l 2002 the government proclaimed the Employment and Assistance Act, which replaced the BC Benefits Act of 1996. This Act , for non-disabled recipients, focuses on shifting people back into the paid workforce and to "provide income ass is tance for those truly in need". Unlike B.C. Benefits, the new law does not speak at all about the larger employment or childcare context, or society's obligation to "preserve a social safety net that is responsive to changing social and economic circumstances" (Preamble to B.C. Benefits). Rather, the focus in the new law is on personal responsibility and on reduction of the number of welfare recipients (Reitsma-Street, 2002). 2.5 Income Support Programs The Income Assistance Program The income assis tance program in B C is designed as a payer of last resort for those who have no other resources. Recipients are eligible if they have no income, no savings and limited assets. It reflects the value that no socia l program should encourage individuals to choose income transfers over paid work. Therefore, benefit rates are set very low. A single mother with one child receives $325/ month for the support a l lowance portion, and $520/ month for her shelter al lowance, s ee Table 2.1 ( M H R Pol icy and Procedures Manual , 2003). Shelter rates are increased $35/ month per child. The support rate for her child is paid through the National Chi ld Benefit program, which provides funds for the B C Family Bonus in B C . Recipients on income ass is tance receive basic health coverage under the Medica l Serv ices P lan and Pharmacare (assistance to pay for medication). Children on income ass is tance receive basic, conservative dental treatment and optical care through the Healthy Kids program. The Healthy Kids program is also available to children of low-income families (Ibid). n Table 2.1: 2004 Rates for Single Mothers on Income Assistance Support Rate Shelter Rate BC Family Bonus Total 1 child $325.58 $520.00 $123.49 $969.08 2 children $325.58 $555.00 $245.74 $1126.32 3 children $325.58 $590.00 $396.23 $1311.81 4 children $325.58 $625.00 $519.72 $1470.30 The National Child Benefit The National Chi ld Benefit is a means tested program targeted at child poverty introduced in the late 1990's by the federal government. The stated goals of the program are to help prevent and reduce the depth of child poverty, promote attachment to the work force, and to reduce overlap and duplication through harmonization of program objectives and benefits for children (Stephenson & Emery, 2003). More than 80 percent of Canad ian families with children receive this benefit (Ibid). T h e program is meant to increase the financial resources of children and remove the barrier many poor families encounter attempting to enter the employment market. B y accepting low paying jobs, families on social assis tance could lose supplementary benefits, such as non-insured health benefits like medications and dental services. The potential loss of these benefits creates a barrier for families on social assis tance, and the National Chi ld Benefit was thought to tear down the "welfare wall". The "welfare wall" is a term created by the Ca ledon Institute of Soc ia l Policy to describe barriers welfare recipients' exper ience leaving the security of regular income ass is tance and entering the employment market (Durst, 1999). 12 The two main components of the program are the C a n a d a Chi ld Tax Benefit and the National Chi ld Benefit Supplement. The C a n a d a Chi ld Tax Benefit is a base benefit available to families with children where the family's taxable income is under $30,004. The C a n a d a Chi ld Tax Benefit funds the B C Family Bonus in B C . The B C Family Bonus replaces income assis tance rates for children. For those families on IA the benefit is $123.49/ month per child, see Table 2.1. The National Chi ld Benefit Supplement is available to families whose income is under $21, 214; however, this benefit is deducted dollar for dollar in B C from income ass is tance rates through what is generally known as the "claw back". Thus lone mothers on income ass is tance do not benefit in direct dollars from the federal contribution; the federal and provincial government claim that they benefit instead from enhanced employment-related programs, such as the Healthy Kids program (Ibid). Child Care There are no publicly funded childcare centres in B C as there are in S w e d e n . B C offers a subsidy program for low-income parents; however, the subsidies are limited in their effectiveness as they only cover a portion of the childcare costs. The federal government also allows working parents to deduct a portion of childcare expenses from their income tax, but this tax deduction benefits only those using non-family caregivers and benefits mainly those parents with higher incomes. Parents on IA are given a child care subsidy only if they can prove they need it, for example if they are in a job training program or looking for work. 13 Parental Leave Employed parents are entitled to a combined 50 weeks (350 days) of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. The leave is paid through the federal employment insurance. A portion of this leave is designated just for mothers. The leave is compensa ted at 55% of the full salary, with a maximum income cap. S o m e employers will top up this percentage. There are strict rules around who is eligible. Employment insurance does not apply to students, the self-employed or those without work. Often w o m e n who work part time, or in contingent work do not qualify for the leaves. Parents on IA are not eligible for this program. 2.6 Recent Policy Changes Under the new B C income assis tance guidelines, lone mothers' monthly shelter and support payments have been reduced. Before 2002, a single parent received a support a l lowance of $377 per month, now they receive $325.58. For single parents with two or more children, the total amount of the shelter al lowance has been cut. Reduct ions range from $55 to $75 per month. Previously single parents were able to keep $200 from any employment earnings. Now all earning are subtracted dollar for dollar from their monthly IA cheques. A l so , previously single parents could keep $100 from their child support payments. Now the payments are deducted from their cheques . A lone mother's total income from IA could be reduced to up to $400 per month by the 2002 changes (Klein & Long, 2003). In addition, able-bodied welfare recipients are now subject to a two-year time limit. B C is the first province in C a n a d a to implement a time limit policy. If a single person with no children has been receiving continuous support for two years, he or she may be cut off welfare. Lone mothers who have been receiving ass is tance for two 14 years may have their support rate reduced by $100/ month. In February 2004, the government added created an exemption to the time-limit rule. If welfare recipients are complying with their employment plan in full the time limit is not in effect. Nevertheless, single mothers still face the threat of reduction to their welfare rates after two years. Lone mothers are now expected to find work once their youngest child is three years old; prior to, it was when their child became seven years old. At the s a m e time, the government has eliminated many work entry assis tance benefits (such as money for work clothes or child care). Prior to recent changes, many recipients were able to acces s transition-to-work benefits of up to $150 a month for a maximum of 12 consecut ive months, and a workforce entry benefit of up to $200 to cover incidental costs related to entry into paid employment. Importantly, transition-to-work benefits could be used to cover child care costs in excess of the child care subsidy amount. T h e s e programs have been replaced with what the B C government calls the Confirmed Job Program ( C J P ) . The C J P offers one-time grants of up to $250 to welfare recipients who can prove that they have secured a job, but require ass is tance to purchase an essential item to begin work—such as transportation, safety clothing, or work boots. 2.7 Summary Over the past two decades , success ive governments in Britain, the U . S . A and C a n a d a have been transforming their income assistance systems based on the principles of neo-liberalism. Governments have been shifting their involvement in programs and letting the economic market become the leading player. This is ev idenced in B C by IA benefit reductions and restriction of eligibility. The government argues these policies will increase employment and decrease reliance on welfare programs. 15 Chapter III It Takes a Nation to Raise a Child: Swedish Policies and Lone Mothers 3.1 Introduction Since 1932, when the Socia l Democratic party came to power, the government and people of S w e d e n have been committed to a strong welfare state. Within the social democrat ic ideology, governments play a significant role in people 's lives. S ince the 1990's, S w e d e n has been impacted by globalization and neo-liberalism; however, their basic commitment to families has remained strong. For the purposes of this chapter, I will d iscuss income support programs in S w e d e n that assist single mothers and their children. In S w e d e n there is a wide array of universal programs that help all families, such as the child a l lowance and maintenance support guarantee. There are various programs such as universal childcare and generous parental leaves that contribute to the goal of full employment for all mothers. Because of these programs, very few low-income single mothers need to rely on income assis tance payments, as we know them in C a n a d a . However , many single mothers are still disadvantaged economically due to their role as primary caregiver and the fact that many work in lower paid jobs, as compared to men. 2.4 Income Support Programs in Sweden Since Wor ld W a r Two, as rapid industrial growth created an economic surplus, S w e d e n has chosen to redistribute resources in order to foster equality among all children, regardless of family form. This obligation to children has deep roots in Swed i sh socia l policy, s temming from the early 1900's. This commitment has transferred large portions of private responsibility for raising children to the public sphere. 16 Sweden ' s policy goals stress reducing inequality and promoting gender equity more than reducing poverty. B y fostering women 's equality they believe children will benefit. Swed i sh policy makers are likely to see structural problems as the source of inequality rather than individual defect. For example, if it is difficult for a low-income earner to afford housing, then the problem is seen as one of low wages and high housing cost. The state's response is to increase wages and housing stock (Winkler, 2002). Sweden ' s national commitment to equality reveals itself as a process marked by a sense of solidarity. S w e d e s view solidarity as sharing the burdens as well a s the benefits of society (Ibid). In general, universal welfare polices have enhanced solidarity among different c lasses and promoted broad support for the welfare state. The Soc ia l Democrat ic governments of Sweden have stressed the importance of full employment and the role of labour market policies in supporting families and children. Earnings from a job are viewed as the fundamental source of family income and gender equity in Sweden . A l l mothers are expected to work and have acces s to many of the same universal benefits. Pol ic ies have focused on the employed mother, advancing programs that promote childcare, women 's employment opportunities, decent working conditions and progressive taxation. Promoting women ' s economic independence has blurred the line between single and married women . For example , instead of being taxed as a couple, husband and wives are taxed individually, which creates a better tax advantage for the lower paid spouse, usually the woman . Single mothers are viewed as socially and economical ly independent, although specific policies recognize their needs based on the stages of the lifecycle. Only 5% of lone mothers live in poverty, defined as incomes below half the national average (Ibid). Labour force participation rates for women with children are very high, among the highest in the industrial world, regardless of marital status (Kamerman & Kahn , 17 1988). In S w e d e n 87% of lone mothers are in paid work (Duncan & Edwards , 1996). This is due to attempts by the state to try and help balance work and home life through universal a l lowances, housing subsidies, generous paid leaves and flexible, part time work schedules , and public child care systems. Neo-Liberalism in Sweden In the early 1990's, Sweden was hit by an economic recession and unemployment increased. In 1991, the Soc ia l Democrats lost control and a five party coalition government took over governmental leadership. The new administration was marked by explicit adherence to the neo-liberal policies of privatization, reduction of the public sector, and wage replacement benefits and changes to labour laws (Winkler, 2002). This 'crisis package ' introduced reductions to sick leave coverage and parental leave, and increased taxes on food. More people relied on general ass is tance due to high employment. In 1994, the Soc ia l Democrats regained power; however, the victory did not result in any quick return to the traditional democratic program. Government leaders argued that the new global economy required concess ions from Swed i sh workers, such as higher levels of unemployment and a longer workday (Ibid). The role of w o m e n was re-constructed and women began to be v iewed in the context of a marital economic unit, rather than as economically independent. Unemployment and increased user fees affected single mothers more significantly that partnered mothers. The government also eliminated the single parent's tax deduction at this time. Although the Swedish government embraced some of the neo-liberal ideology and policies during this time, fundamentally it stayed true to their concept of equality and sense of solidarity. The government maintained policies that ensured the lives of single mothers and their children would not be substantially more deprived than others'. 18 Over the years, the state has maintained the universal al lowances, housing subsidies , childcare centres and general assis tance that support all families, including lone mothers. The following section outlines these programs. Child Allowance A l l Swed i sh families with children receive a child a l lowance regardless of income. The a l lowance is given in place of tax deductions s ince deductions imply keeping one 's income for one 's own family, while the child al lowance demonstrates society's commitment to providing equality and well-being amongst children. The child a l lowance reflects the state's position that all members of society benefit from the raising of healthy children and therefore all adults should contribute to the cost of raising these future cit izens. Child Support Guarantee/ Maintenance Support The Swed i sh government provides a maintenance support guarantee to all single parents if a non-custodial parent refuses to pay or the support ordered is below the minimum amount. The government assumes responsibility for re-claiming the support owed directly from the non-custodial parent. The intent behind the program is to ensure that children living in a single parent household are guaranteed a standard of living that is equal to children with co-habitating parents (Winkler, 2002). In 1994, the Soc ia l Democrat ic government re-named the child support guarantee as "maintenance support". The maintenance support differs from the child support guarantee in that it includes means testing, but only against the non-resident's parent income. For the resident parent it is a flat rate grant. The maintenance support varies by the age of the child but currently is supposed to account for 50% of the child's needs (Winker, 2002). 19 This model of child support places a greater emphasis on collective support for children. The state plays a primary role in guaranteeing that support. This differs from the B . C . model in that B C emphas izes the private responsibility of parents for their children. In B . C , the state plays a secondary, essentially enforcement role, unless the mother is on IA and then the government plays a more active role. Housing Allowance and Educational Support M a n y single parents in Sweden receive the income-tested housing al lowance. T h e s e a l lowances are cash benefits, which offset some of the costs of housing, and are available to all low-income families. Sweden has free university tuition and offers generous loans and grants to single mothers pursuing educational goals. Parental Leave The parental leave program is an entitlement to claim time off from the job in order to care for a child. In order to qualify for these benefits the parent must be working prior to the birth or adoption of a child. Parents are entitled to 450 days of maternity, paternity and parental leave, 360 days of which are given with 8 0 % wage compensat ion, the remainder at a flat, lower rate (Leira, 2002). The maternity leave is reserved specifically for mothers and includes a period prior to the birth of the child. Fathers are granted 'daddy days ' when their child is born and a portion of the parental leave is reserved just for fathers. The statutory leave arrangement also includes the right of employed parents to a leave of absence from work with wage compensat ion to care for sick children. Parents have a legislated right to reduce their workday to six hours for child caring responsibilities. 20 Subsidized Child Care and the Care Allowance The municipalities in Sweden run high quality, subsidized child care centres. Single parents are given priority for childcare spaces over two parent families. Ove r the last decade there has been a wide debate regarding care a l lowances versus childcare spaces . Briefly, in 1994, the Five Party Coalition government enacted the care al lowance. The care al lowance is a cash benefit ($285 U S per month) that goes directly to the parent with children one to three years old unless their child has a place in the municipal childcare centre. The al lowance decreases to reflect the hours the child is at the child care centre. Advoca tes argue this program allows "choice" for one parent to look after their own child at home. However, later in 1994 the re-elected Soc ia l Democrat ic government argued that the care al lowance makes w o m e n less economical ly independent and therefore more vulnerable. The care al lowance generally benefits two parents families, s ince single mothers usually can not afford to stay home full time on this al lowance. General Assistance The general ass is tance program is most similar to our B . C . welfare sys tem. It is heavily means tested and is the last resort for those who are unable to support themselves. It is heavily stigmatized and has no categorical eligibility requirements (Winkler, 2002). The municipalities have responsibility for the delivery of this service. 3.3 Summary The Swed i sh welfare state embraces the value that full employment with associa ted public support is the best way to enhance lone mothers' economic security. This view 21 underscores the belief that economic independence contributes to women ' s equality. Sweden ' s policies have generally been effective. Swedish single mothers fair better than their counterparts in the rest of the world. 22 Chapter IV Comparisons of the BC and Swedish Models 4.1 Introduction In order to evaluate and compare the two models I employ three sets of questions. I revisit these questions in Chapter Five in order to explore the implications of these questions for a community development approach. First, I pose questions related to the feminization of poverty. I ask whether and to what degree do single mothers have incomes that fall below the mean, how correlated single motherhood is with poverty status, and how these outcomes relate to particular aspects of each policy model. Secondly, I explore the tension between worker and parent roles. Are there tensions between these roles in each country? Are these tensions felt equally by all parents, or are they gendered and/or unique to lone mothers? Do government policies mitigate or exacerbate these tensions and how? Are the programs and policies designed to address such tensions effective for lone mothers? Thirdly, I investigate the notion of citizenship. What are the social and political rights and citizenship responsibilities assumed within the BC and Swedish model? How do these relate specifically to lone mothers? And do notions of citizenship foster inclusion or marginalization of lone mothers? 4.2 Feminization of Poverty To what degree, if any, do single mothers and their children have incomes that fall below the mean? Feminization of poverty usually occurs for two reasons. Firstly, parenthood generally leads to reduced earnings in order to care for one's child because less time in spent in the work force; Secondly, women are less likely to be in a well paying job, in 23 large part due to the issue of occupational sex segregation. In general S w e d e n has been able to protect mothers from poverty by their policy goal of full employment and associated public supports. B C however, has failed dismally to protect single mothers from poverty due to its lack of support for working mothers. In both countries occupational sex segregation and a gendered wage gap contributes to the feminization of poverty. The Canad ian and B C policy approach has been less effective than S w e d e n in protecting lone mother households from experiencing poverty. (Refer to Figure 4.1 for comparisons) . General ly within Sweden , universal family and labour policies have addressed the reduction in earnings due to care giving responsibilities. In C a n a d a the child poverty rates are 15.5%, as compared to 2.6% in Sweden for 2000, (Jackson, 2002). Swed i sh lone mothers are not nearly as destitute as those in B C . Data from the Luxembourg Income Survey (1990) shows that in C a n a d a 58% of lone parents have earned incomes below one half of the median income as compared to 3 1 % of Swed i sh parents. W h e n calculated with post transfer income the difference becomes more pronounced. In C a n a d a 4 0 % of lone parents live in poverty, versus 3.5% (Bradshaw, 1998). This is in large part due to the labour force policies such as public support through day care, parental leaves and child a l lowances. 24 Figure 4.1: Percentage of Lone Mothers Living Below the Poverty Line (defined internationally as households with less than half the median income) in Sweden and Canada • Sweden • Canada Child Lone Lone Employed Poverty Mother- Mother- Lone Rate pre- post Mothers transfer transfer Single mothers and women in general are disadvantaged by the gendered wage discrepancy and the occupational sex segregation in B C and S w e d e n . In Sweden , w o m e n and single mothers still make less money than men and generally hold jobs with lesser status. M e n hold the majority of positions in managerial jobs in S w e d e n . They earn more and are more dominant in higher status positions (Bergqvist & Jungar, 2000). In C a n a d a , a federal task force on pay equity found that a full time working w o m e n earned on average about 71 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterpart in 2000 (Paraskevas, 2004). In B C , men made on average $50,159 and w o m e n made $35,636 per year in 2001 ( B C Stats, 2004). Certain lower paid occupat ions remain dominated by women , such as retail sales, health care, or administrative work. 25 How correlated single motherhood is with poverty status? Lone mothers are particularly vulnerable to economic insecurity due to their role as primary caregivers for their children. Figure 4.2, shows the high percentage of Canad i an lone mothers who live below the low income cut-off line. In 1998, 4 2 % of all families headed by lone-parent mothers had after tax incomes which fell below Statistics C a n a d a L o w Income Cut Off Line (Statistic C a n a d a , 2003). This compares with just 7% of two parent families with children. In B C the median family income for 2000 for lone parent families was $33,829 ( B C Stats, 2004). This compares to the median family income of couple families of $70, 033 (Ibid). In S w e d e n single mothers are socially and economical ly disadvantaged when compar isons are done between two-parent families and one-parent families (Winkler, 2002). The Swed i sh standard of living for families with children a s sumes two wages . This makes it difficult for single mothers to thrive within this society. S ince the move towards neo-liberalism, gains made for women as independent economic units have been weakened . Success ive governments have begun using the two-parent family as the basic family unit. The assumption of two-wage earning parents inherently 26 Figure 4.2: Percentage of Families with After-Tax Incomes Below Statistics Canada's Low-Income Cutoffs, by Family Type, 1998 42.0% Female Male Wish Without headed headed children children Cone-parent families Non-elderly two-parent families Sr.iii.rt.- S u i t i x i c s C:m ;«l:i. Catalogue ? 5 - 2 0 2 . disadvantages single mothers. This points to gendered discrimination still evident in Swed i sh policy. How does feminization of poverty relate to particular aspects of each policy model? In general the Swedish approach to family-related policy rests on the philosophy that children represent a public responsibility. A s noted by Shei la K a m e r m a n (1980), "European countries have a long history of acknowledging that children are a major societal resource and that the whole society should share in the costs of rearing them" (p. 24). In contrast, in B C , the support of children is regarded as a private parental responsibility (see Table 4.1). The types of social programs that are available within a neo-liberal sys tem reflect a particular model of the family. Magrit Eichler (1993) descr ibes the model of the family that underlies neo-liberal Canad ian socia l policy as the 'Individual Mode l of the Family ' . This model a s sumes that the parent is responsible for both the economic well-being and the care provision for dependent children. The state has no responsibility for the children in society, unless families have a low-income and temporary help is needed. The reduction of spending on socia l programs in the name of neo-liberalism and fiscal restraint has further entrenched this private responsibility. 27 Table 4.1: Comparison between Family Program in B C and Sweden Sweden B C Chi ld Al lowance / National Chi ld Benefit Al l families Low-income families (1/2 benefit clawed back from families on IA J Chi ld Maintenance Guarantee Al l single parent families None Chi ld Care Subs id ized for all families Limited subsidies for low-income families Parental Leave 400 days @ 80% compensation + reduce work hour + time to care f o r sir.k rh\M 350 days @ 5 5 % compensat ion Genera l / Income Ass i s t ance Low-income families Low-income families (single mother/1 child receives $969/month) Canad ian and B C family programs are less than comprehensive and far from universal in their coverage. The National Child Benefit program does little to alleviate child poverty, especial ly for children who live in families that rely on income assis tance. S tephenson & Emery (2003) claim the clawback from parents receiving social ass is tance makes a mockery of the goal of fighting child poverty. It not only increases the income gap between social assis tance families and other families, it is highly gendered, due to the high rate of income ass is tance among single mothers. The program assists 50 percent of two-parent, low-income famines but only 12 percent of single parent, low-income families (Durst, 1999). Paid Employment Both in B C and Sweden there is a strong emphas is on full employment for all mothers. In B C , single mothers on income assis tance are expected to find work once their youngest child is three years old. In Sweden , once parental leave expires, mothers are expected to return to work and put their children in public day care. 28 S w e d e n has been more successful than has B C in supporting working lone mothers, as evidenced by the high rates of employment for lone mothers (87% in S w e d e n versus 58% in Canada) and by the rates of poverty for working mothers. In C a n a d a 6 0 % of lone mothers in paid work lived in poverty due in large part to lack of public support (see Figure 4.1). In Sweden , only 10% of mothers in paid work lived in poverty, due largely to universal family programs (Bradshaw, 1998). For example, in 1996 only 2 4 % of lone parent families in C a n a d a received child maintenance payments versus 100% in S w e d e n (Eisler, 1997). In Sweden , the government offers a maintenance guarantee to all lone parents. In Canada , it is the responsibility of the custodial parent to go to court and fight for their support. If it is inadequate or the non-custodial parent cannot pay then the lone parent is out of luck. However if the single mother is on IA the government will track down fathers and enforce payment (and the support payment is c lawed back 100% from the mother's IA cheque). In order for employment to decrease the feminization of poverty, single mothers must be recipients of public support. The theme that increased participation in the B C labour market force raises the standard of living for single mothers needs critical a s sessment and evaluation in view of limited public support and the realities of the labour market. Globalizat ion has transformed the labour market from full time, tenured work to more so-called 'flexible', contingent or non-standard work (Stephenson & Emery, 2003). This transformation has been key in increasing economic vulnerability of women , especial ly single mothers. Lone mothers, when compared to other women , have a more difficult route to employment and their comparative situation in terms of employment participation and relative income levels has worsened over the years (Ibid). The labour force analysis in C a n a d a indicates that single mothers have substantially lower employment rates than partnered mothers (Ibid). C e n s u s information reveals that 2 9 5 8 % of lone mothers are employed but half of these w o m e n are working on a part-time or part-year basis (Ibid). In Canada , employed women, including single mothers are over-represented in the non-standard employment category, including part-time, part year and temporary employment (Ibid). The greater tendency for w o m e n to be employed in non-standard work is significant for several reasons. Non-standard employees have less access to benefits such as health care and pensions. M a n y of the jobs they can find do not offer the stability or income they need to support their families. In 1996, more than 37% of working single mothers earned less than $10 per hour, compared to 26% for all employees in C a n a d a (Burke & Shields , 1999). L o w wages , coupled with part time or temporary work makes it difficult to make ends meet. This places lone mothers in a precarious financial position and raises d i lemmas about the best way to support themselves and their family. Income Assistance and Feminization of Poverty M a n y single mothers rely on IA due to the lack of well paid employment and lack of comprehens ive family and employment supports. In 2002 lone-parent families made up approximately 37% of cases in the Ministry of Human Resources ( B C Stats, 2004). W o m e n head the vast majority of these families. Being in receipt of income ass is tance guarantees poverty, as the rates are so low. The current annual income of a single mother on income assis tance is under $12,000, well below the low-income cut off line. The low income cut off line in B C is $23, 561 (Canadian Counc i l on Soc ia l Development, 2002). This system is not adequate to meet the needs of single mothers because it is based on a paid employment model of poverty (Kamerman & Kahn , 1988). IA is des igned as a payer of last resort to those who are temporarily out of work. The causes of single mothers' poverty are different from those of who are temporarily out of 3 0 work. IA does not address the effect of the women 's role as unpaid caregiver within the family nor the differential position within the paid labour market (Eisler, 1997). The B C sys tem pre-supposes that single mothers have the individual ability to meet her family's basic needs, at subsistence IA rates. This sys tem necessi tates that many single mothers have to make tradeoffs to make sure her children are fed. For example , she may not eat enough so she can pay the rent. Or she may resort to charity based services such as food banks. The recent changes to the B C income assis tance policies have increased the economic hardship for single mothers. Before the rates only covered 6 5 % of the minimum living costs; now, they are even more inadequate (Long & Goldberg , 2002). In a 2002 paper entitled The Cost of Eating in BC, the Dieticians of C a n a d a and the Communi ty Nutritionists Counci l of B C warned about the implications of inadequate welfare benefits. Accord ing to this report, those on social ass is tance already lack sufficient income to purchase a healthy diet, and undernourished children are more susceptible to illness, have diminished attention spans and are unable to perform at school as well as their nourished peers (Ibid). The shelter portion of the income assis tance cheques is inadequate to meet the costs of rent in Vancouver , B C . Based on C a n a d a Mortgage and Housing Corporation rental data from October 2002, the maximum shelter a l lowance ($555) for a single mother plus two children permitted the family to access only .4% of all two bedroom apartments in Greater Vancouver , and no three bedroom apartments (Ibid). Whi le these reforms are fairly recent in B C it is possible to look to other jurisdictions to predict how the B C reforms will affect the feminization of poverty. The outcomes of welfare reform in Alberta and Ontario would s e e m to suggest that female lone parents have much to lose under a system of stringent eligibility requirements and 31 lowered benefits. Sylvia Bashevkin (2002) in her book Welfare Hot Buttons: Women, Work, and Social Policy Reform, focused on a particularly vulnerable segment of lone mothers, those under 25 years old. S h e writes after 1995 - that is, after welfare reforms in Alber ta and Ontario began - poverty rates for young lone mothers increased from 8 3 % to 9 1 % . T h e s e statistics illustrate that welfare reforms functions both to deepen poverty and to raise di lemmas for those who remain recipients of income ass is tance . W h e n benefits are lowered in order to minimize 'dependence ' on the system, families who remain on public assis tance fall deeper into poverty. However, starting wages are often less than welfare payments. Their 'choice' is poverty within the welfare sys tem or poverty within the work world. In 1999, the Premier of Ontario, Mike Harris gave a speech to the Kitchener-Water loo Chamber of C o m m e r c e saying that "over the last three years our province has started to pull itself back on track... It took hard work and sacrifices by the people of Ontario and as a result families are better off." However, the report by B e z a n s o n & McMur ray (2001) called, Booming for Whom? People in Ontario talk about Incomes, Jobs and Social Programs would argue that instead of being better off, many households in Ontario are struggling to get by because of fewer job protections, less generous social programs and cuts to social spending. For example, the annual incomes of single mothers in Ontario fell by 3 .1% from 1995 to 1997 ($27,617 to $26,771) making it more difficult to pay rent and put food on the table. A debate exists in the Amer ican literature about the effects of welfare reform on single parent families. In the United States (US) , the welfare reforms mainly affect single parents, as people without children are not entitled to collect welfare. Accord ing to a study by the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, the 1996 reforms have caused increased hardship, due to restricted eligibility, lowered benefit rates and time 32 limits. The survey found that among families that left welfare between 1997 and 1999 for full time employment, nearly half experienced hardships such as going without food, necessary medical care or housing. Other studies show that while the incidence of poverty in the U S declined overall during the 1990's, poverty has deepened for those who remained poor, and has increased among working families (Boushey & Gunderson , 2001). Nevertheless, it is important to note that B C ' s policies differ from that of A m e r i c a n welfare reforms in that U S reforms were not entirely driven by a fiscal imperative. In fact, the U S increased its spending on low-income people in the post 1996 welfare reform period through supports that help people make the transition to paid employment (such as childcare, transportation, training and educational opportunities and earning exemptions). Unfortunately, this is not the case in B C ; the current changes are accompanied by a 30% budget cut to the Ministry of Human Resources . 4.3 Worker versus Parent Tensions Are there tensions between these roles in each country and are these tensions felt equally by all parents, or are they gendered and/or unique to lone mothers? The first wave of feminism in the 1970's generally advocated for equality and ' sameness ' between men and women. W o m e n were encouraged to become like men in terms of acces s to employment and financial freedom. Because of this movement w o m e n and single mothers have generally made gains in economic independence. However , despite different social policies promoting a more equal distribution of care labour, w o m e n have maintained most responsibility for parenting and household duties. For example , in Sweden the prolonged parental leave is still a preserve of mothers. In 1996, fathers took only 12% of the paid parental leave (Bergqvist & Jungar, 2000). 33 The policy goal of full employment both in Sweden and B C for single mothers creates tension since very little time is left over for household and care giving responsibilities. Because single mothers have no partners to share household duties, this creates particular tensions for members of this group. D o government policies mitigate or exacerbate these tensions and how? Through employment supports in Sweden , the government has helped to mitigate tensions between the worker and parent role. However, in B C tensions are high due to the government 's lack of support. The B C policy goal of employment for single mothers on income ass is tance with young children exacerbates the worker/ parent tensions. Ove r the years in B C , the age of the child has become younger and younger as to when the mother is expected to find work. The most current policy states that when the youngest child is three years, the mother must look for work. Full time employment leaves little time for caregiving responsibilities and increases the worker/ parent tensions, especial ly for single mothers. Al though the B C government has placed an emphas is on transition to work, they have done little to actively support employed mothers. In order to work full time, single mothers need childcare. However, in 2002 the government has reduced the childcare subsidy budget by $24 million or 19%. Subsidies are used by low-income parents to help pay for private day care. The subsidy rates for single mothers only cover a small portion of the actual day care costs. The subsidy rates vary for the type of care and for the age of the child. Family care is regulated care run in private homes. Family care for a pre-schooler costs $561 (Forer & Hunter, 2001). The subsidy pays for $354. Therefore, single mothers would have to make up the difference of $200/ month. 34 Saving an additional $200 per month is next to impossible while living on the meagre welfare rates or while making minimum wage. The government has also cut earning exemptions and work entry ass is tance benefits for people on welfare. Previous to the 2002 changes, single mothers were al lowed to keep $200 of their employment earnings. Now whatever money they earn gets deducted dollar for dollar, reducing the incentive to hold a part-time job and gain work experience. Are the programs and policies designed to address such tensions effective for lone mothers? In Sweden , parents have the opportunity to reduce their working hours in order to make time for caregiving responsibilities. However, part time work, the predominant employment form for mothers of young children, has weaker status on the labour market, with less job security and lower wages . The opportunity to reduce working hours continues to marginalize and set aside women 's work, as their income is v iewed as the secondary source. For single mothers as the only financial provider in the family, the 'choice ' to work less is not always possible. This situation benefits w o m e n who are in a partnered relationship. The emphasis on the family unit continues to enshrine gender roles and income distribution and enforce the family as a micro economic sys tem (Winkler, 2002). 35 4.4 Notions of Citizenship What are the social and political rights and citizenship responsibilities assumed within each model and how do these relate specifically to lone mothers? Social Rights In S w e d e n and B C the notion of social rights, such as entitlement to the generous parental leaves, stems from employment. Motherhood does not confer "deserving status, difference-based entitlement or protection from the market" that guarantees access to social rights (Pulkingham & Ternowetsky, 1997 p. 21). Full time care giving is not perceived as a citizenship responsibility that bestows full socia l and political rights. The Swed i sh national commitment to reducing structural inequalities as evidenced through many universal benefits reduces much of the pathology and stigmatization that occurs for B C single mothers on IA. In B C stigmatization occurs through means testing. In Sweden working parents are not seen as defective if they use public transfers. However, in B C , raising children is v iewed as a private function and the use of income transfers is stigmatized. In Sweden the universal child a l lowance and maintenance support is viewed as a tool to help parents raise children that will become workers for the next generation. That said, earnings are the basis for family livelihood. The universal benefits are not adequate to support a family. A n unemployed single mother is S w e d e n is not entitled to the generous parental leaves. S h e must resort to the general ass is tance program to support herself and her children. Al though she is eligible for the universal al lowances, the standard of living is low. A n d , much like receiving welfare in B . C . , receiving general ass is tance is heavily st igmatized, illustrating the connection between citizenship and employment. 36 Political Rights Within the B C model, there is limited understanding of the political contributions w o m e n make, as mothers and citizens, in our society. W o m e n ' s voices generally are not encouraged in the public sphere. M e n represent the majority of positions at the elected provincial and federal level. Low-income single mothers are even less represented at decision-making tables. Policies are made generally by men and single mothers remain the objects of these policies. In S w e d e n there has been an attempt to ensure equal representation at an elected level. In 1998, women accounted for 40-50% of elected representatives at the local, regional and central level (Bergqvist & Jungar, 2002). However, men are still more dominant in managerial positions and in higher status positions and are therefore more influential in some decision-making capacities. A s evidenced by the lack of inclusive decis ion making processes , there is continued need to examine the role of w o m e n and single mothers related to political citizenship rights in both models . Citizenship Responsibilities In Sweden , there is a strong work ethic and engaging in paid employment is a key citizenship responsibility (Winkler, 2002). The Swed i sh welfare state is based on the notion that the path to women 's and single mothers' cit izenship should be through paid work; however, this is an arguable point and definitions of work and cit izenship need to be re-considered. The goal of full employment for mothers in S w e d e n and B C reinforces the idea that the labour market is the primary mechan i sm for allocating financial resources, and hence for giving people the capacity to participate in the economic and social life of the community. Pa id labour is seen as the primary way for most of society's social and economic goals to be achieved, despite the fact that much 37 social ly necessary and useful work is unpaid such as caring for the elderly and for children. W o m e n traditionally do most of the unpaid work (Ife, 2002). Full time parenting is valued up to a certain age of the child and then the parent is encouraged to re-enter the work force. In 1985 in Sweden , the Moderate Party argued that the care of one's small children should be considered work for the purposes of receiving general assistance. However, the problem with this argument is that the caregiving work would be compensated at a very low level, and not in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, which is the case with parental leaves. Al though general ass is tance would allow for single mothers to stay at home with their children, it would be a "meagre living, stigmatized and harsh" (Winkler, 2002, p. 223). The ruling party did not implement the Moderate Party's proposal, citing their concern about further marginalization of single mothers. The debate between the care al lowance and public childcare spaces raised similar concerns . In the 1960's, there was widespread deliberation over the implementation of care al lowances for all mothers to subsidize their choice to stay home with young children. This policy alternative was tied to positions in the debate "over women ' s roles and the meaning of work for citizenship purposes and whether freedom of choice meant the freedom to choose to stay home or choose to work" (Winkler, 2002, p. 278). Feminists argued that women who had to work (including single mothers) paid, through taxes and women ' s marginalized status in the workforce, for other women ' s 'choice ' to remain at home. The proposed care al lowance would not be large enough to allow a single mother to live comfortably. The care al lowance w a s enacted briefly in 1994 by the five-party coalition government but was rescinded when the Soc ia l Democrats came back to power. 38 Both the reconsideration of work for the general ass is tance and the care a l lowance debate illustrates the tensions within the notion of citizenship responsibilities and entitlement to social rights. This tension demonstrates the theme that Caro le Pa teman (1987) refers to as Wollstonecraft 's di lemma: whether social rights for w o m e n should be granted on the basis of their s ameness or their difference from men. The policies have been put forth as promoting parental choice. Having parents stay home with their young children may be constructed as a good thing; however, unless it is adequately compensated, single mothers and children will face greater economic disadvantage and social exclusion. Do notions of citizenship foster inclusion or marginalization of lone mothers? Within the neo-liberal model of income assistance, those on income ass is tance are perceived as second-class citizens. Instead of being perceived as contributing citizens with rights and responsibilities, people on welfare become 'clients' first, individuals who are objects of the system. Single mothers are defined, constructed and labeled as dependents. This labeling diminishes their citizen rights (Fraser, 1989). Pol icy makers view single mothers as those who need to be "fixed" to acquire skills to be productive, tax paying citizens. Single mothers and welfare recipients in general are pathologized. The language in the B C legislation and the Ministry of Human Resources Serv ice P lan (2003) reflects the attitude that people who rely on income ass is tance are undeserving, lazy, and require 'incentives' to remove them from unhealthy 'dependency ' on the system. Rarely do underlying structural factors like persistently high unemployment, the shortage of childcare, the value of the work, or lack of affordable housing enter into the discussion. They are marginalized as citizens. Poverty is v iewed as an individual/ family pathology- a behavioral disorder and the product of bad 39 personal choices rather than a consequence of structural discrimination (Polakow et al , 2 0 0 1 ) . 4.5 Summary Unlike Sweden , the Canadian welfare state has failed to develop a comprehens ive policy system to address the requirement of lone mothers to provide for themselves and their children both financially and physically. Mothers in B C are caught in the contradictions of full employment policies. Without public childcare, employment is not a lways economical ly feasible, due to the cost of childcare and the low w a g e s some w o m e n receive. The assumption is that the mother has the capacity to provide for her children from within her own resources through paid employment. However combining work and care giving is difficult without public support. Without a well-paid job, many single mothers must rely on the minimal and stigmatized state benefits of income assis tance. Both the Swed i sh and B C models raise the question of how we adequately reward caregivers in our society, the people who do the socially necessary yet unpaid work. Both approaches are based on the model of the worker- citizen. This model privileges the wage earner over the caregiver. In both models care work, which is traditionally women ' s work, is undervalued. Full social and political cit izenship rights are denied to those who are not engaged in paid labour. 40 Chapter V It Takes a Community to Raise a Child: Planning for Change 5.1 Introduction G i v e n the limitations of the two previous models, in this chapter I explore an alternative framework to income support through community development. This chapter draws on the body of literature from various disciplines such as social work and community planning and addresses many of the shortcomings of the B C and Swed i sh models of income support. Where appropriate, I have included historic or international examples , but there is no implemented model to evaluate as I have done for the B C and Swed i sh model . I have formulated an alternative approach on the basis of theories, principles and examples of community development. Communi ty development is based on the principles of socia l justice and ecological sustainability. It is often characterized by the attempt to decentralize services, programs and decision-making power to communit ies and citizens. Communi ty development challenges the structural barriers in society, and seeks alternatives to the existing social , economic and political sys tems (Ife, 2002). O n e of the key values is of inclusive citizen participation through democratization of planning and policy making. Those who have been traditionally marginalized in mainstream models are sought out and given a voice. The environment, which is traditionally missing from discuss ion of the welfare state, is included. The community development approach is based on social capital, the store of socia l relationships and conventions that create trust, mutual ass is tance and social solidarity as an alternative to the welfare state (Restakis, 2001). A prominent practitioner and theorist in this area, Robert Putnam states that social capital is what 41 allows societies to undertake collective action thereby increasing the capacity of the community to be self-reliant (Restakis, 2001). The cooperative approach fosters community cohes iveness and development at a time when communit ies are increasingly divided and strained by social and economic pressures. In that climate the possibilities for employing cooperative solutions to enhance the quality of our lives shows considerable promise. It offers unique strengths that can help Canad ians maintain their customary national commitments to a fair social safety net, traditions of social justice and concern for creating healthy communities (Restakis, 2001). However , the notion of 'community' should not be embraced uncritically. Like families, communit ies can be "a place of support, nourishment, and refuge, or on the other hand places of intolerance and oppression" (Wharf, 1997, p.3). The emphas i s on community cannot be at the expense of social policies that provide equitable a c c e s s to health, education, and employment programs, protection in times of economic hardship and the maintenance and enforcement of human rights (Ibid). Communi ty development can meet these needs if thoughtful, critical and principled approaches are followed. Governments of neo-liberal ideology have co-opted some aspects of community development for their own agenda. They have labelled exercises in downsizing and reductions to government programs in the name of building community capacity. However, these exercises actually have negative outcomes for communit ies especial ly for its most vulnerable members . Within this approach, downsizing and fiscal reductions are not part of the equation. Supporting community development will cost state government money. Decentralization of programs and polices is key but state governments still have a number of crucial roles to play, as I will d i scuss later. 42 Communi ty development is holistic and touches on many aspects of society; however, due to the confines of this thesis, I have limited my discuss ion to the role of community development in enhancing the economic security of lone mothers. 5.2 Beyond the Welfare State M a n y socia l activists advocate for a stronger welfare state with increased funding for universal programs to support single mothers such as the programs they have in S w e d e n . However, there is an emerging widespread perception that traditional roles and responsibilities of the welfare state are inadequate to meet the pressing chal lenges facing our society. There are a number of authors who contend that the welfare state has not served society well and we need to look to a different paradigm in delivering human services (Myrdal, 1960, Boothroyd, 1991, Nozick, 1992, McKnight , 1996, Mulvale , 2001, Restakis , 2001, Ife, 2002). These authors believe that the welfare state has not met the needs of its citizens, nor the environment. Feminists critique the welfare state for not creating true equality for women (Pateman, 1987, Lister, 1997 Mulvale , 2001, Leira, 2002). A s I have shown in earlier chapters w o m e n are disadvantaged by both the liberal and social democratic systems. Numerous authors argue that although we have expanded our spending on socia l services and health care, the measures of social pathology are growing relentlessly (McKnight , 1996, Nozick, 1992). They advocate for a total restructuring of the social sys tem which will re-establish community as the focal point for meeting human needs. Money should be spent on supporting neighbourhoods and communit ies rather than on big, impersonal bureaucracies. Mulvale (2001) and Ife (2001) among others offer an ecology-oriented critique of the welfare state. The welfare state depends on an expanding economy based on over 43 production, resource depletion, over consumption and pollution. This economic sys tem is not ecologically sustainable. The community development approach departs significantly from the B C and Swedish Model on its views on the environment. Traditional welfare states have not incorporated environmental sustainability into their policies. Within the community development approach preserving the ecology is one of the key principles. It posits that through small-scale local initiatives, ecological goals can be met. 5.3 Definition of Community For the purposes of this paper, I use Alexis de Tocquevil le 's basic definition of community as "small groups of common citizens coming together to form organizations that solve problems." (as cited in McKnight , 1995). Communi t ies are based on defined geographical boundaries and would have a relatively small population, in order to promote interaction on a scale that could be readily controlled and used by individuals. The community development approach would generally be easier to implement in smaller rural communities because of the s ize, the clear boundaries, the stable population and existing community ties. The challenge lies in implementing it in urban and suburban areas; however it can be done, albeit the boundaries may be more fluid. The nature of transiency in our society is counter-productive to the idea of stable communit ies. It is hard to get people involved and to 'buy into' community processes if they are a lways moving. The one counter point is that if people are included in community processes they may feel like they have a stake and want to stay. 44 5.4 Principles of Community Development Communi ty development is built upon a foundation of fundamental values and principles and an understanding of the inter-related nature of a community. I have drawn from the book, Community Development, J im Ife (2002) and First Nations ' worldviews to inform my discuss ion. Ife (2002) bases his model of community development on two foundational principles: ecology and social justice. I have adopted these principles and his subsequent descriptions for this chapter. The principle of ecology incorporates sustainability. Sustainability means that systems must be maintained in the long term, that resources should be only used at the rate they can be replenished and consumption should be minimized rather than maximized. Soc ia l justice relates to ensuring all marginalized people are included within the community. Empowerment of the disadvantaged is key. Community development should seek to affirm human rights, and people should be able to realize their full potential and be protected from discrimination and oppression. O n e of the integral components is the notion of human agency for single mothers. Human agency is defined as the capacity for individuals to be autonomous, purposeful actors capable of choice (Lister, 1997). In the B C and Swed i sh models , low-income lone mothers are not given much choice about how to live their lives. In the B C model , many live on welfare in poverty or find paid employment and live in poverty. In Sweden , they can live in poverty on general ass is tance or they can find a job and live marginally better off. Generally, it is not possible to care give full t ime and live in comfort as a single mother. However, women ' s agency is of central concern in community development. W o m e n ' s and single mothers' freedom lie in the ability to participate and control the economic and social conditions of their lives, as well as to be free from discrimination and dominance (Ibid). 45 The spiritual and cultural teaching of First Nations can add greatly to the d iscuss ion of community development. Although there are various distinct First Nations across B C and C a n a d a , many share common traditions and values about community. In general , their worldview encompasses a holistic approach. Figure 5.1 illustrates the fluid boundaries between the concepts of families, individual and communit ies (Martin Sp ige lman Resea rch Associa tes , 1998). This framework is contrasted to the mainstream's worldview of each entity as being quite separate. Figure 5.1: Holistic Framework (Martin Spige lman Research Associa tes , 1998) A s stated in Chapter 4, the Individual Mode l of the Family is the premise for the B C sys tem (Eichler, 1993). Single mothers are expected to have sole financial and emotional responsibility for themselves and their children and there is limited recognition of the need to give and receive support from the family and community. In the First Nations framework, children are the responsibility of the individual, family and community. Figure 5.2 illustrates the values that underlie community. Those values include responsibility, respect, work and balance. In the circle below, work is not defined in the 46 mainstream's way such as earning money to support oneself. Work is defined as the contribution you make to the community whether it be child rearing or picking berries for an elder. The notion of balance refers to the teachings of the medicine wheel and the need to integrate aspects of the mental, physical , spiritual and emotional into community and individual life (Ibid). E a c h person has responsibility to respect one another and the community. Figure 5.2: Freedom from Poverty and Disadvantage (Martin Spige lman Resea rch Associa tes , 1998) 5.5 Decentralization and Citizen Participation Decentralization and citizen participation are key components in the governance structure of community development. Decentralization is the transferring of both delegation of power and control from one level of authority to another. Serv ices are delivered from local as opposed to centrally located offices (Clague et al , 1984). Decentralization is valued in order to make services and policy making more access ib le 4 7 and visible to community members . Conventional wisdom holds that responsibility for policy should devolve to the lowest level of government possible (Ibid). Maori Example The report Making Welfare Work: Social Assistance in First Nations Communities includes examples of Maori services in N e w Zea land where community development frameworks for income support programs have been implemented (Martin Sp ige lman Resea rch Associa tes , 1998J. The framework integrates the holistic worldview of the Maori people and builds on their belief in the strength of community. The Maori and the N e w Zealand government developed a social ass is tance system, which relied less on state-provided services and more on extended family and tribal-based services. These Maori institutions, rather than the state, were made the primary providers of service (Baretta-Herman, 1994). In 1986 a Ministerial Advisory Commit tee report recommended that local District Execut ive Commit tees and Institutional Management Commit tees be established and given greater responsibility for the social ass is tance program. The government 's Department of Soc ia l Welfare committed itself to decentralization and devolution of decis ion-making power to iwi (tribal) authorities. The government was committed to Maori participation in policy planning and service delivery, and bi-cultural staff recruitment, training and orientation (Ibid). Al though the change was rapid, it was not all positive. Barret ta-Herman (1994) and Kingfisher and Goldsmith (2001) examine the issue through a broad examination of social policy development as it relates to welfare reform and points out that there are negative effects of the decentralization of social welfare departments. This decentralization occurred under the guise of empowering communit ies in order to avoid 48 the growing criticism surrounding other social policy reform and fiscal reduction. Shrinking resources served to limit the decision-making ability of the district and created competition among the community groups and organization, as well as between Districts. The accountability and control mechanism that the government established limited the ability of the Districts to exercise authority. The authors concluded, for decentralization to be truly meaningful, it has to accompanied by a transfer of real authority and decision-making ability, and by a commitment to adequate funding through an extended period of time. It also has to be accompanied by a commitment to community development and to developing capacity within the community. Despite drawbacks to the implementation, certain positive development emerged from this new structure. The District Commit tees provided the communit ies with the opportunity to participate in service planning. Communi ty members served as a resource for the development of culturally appropriate programs. The initiative succeeded in involving the community in a formal partnership for service planning and delivery. It did not, however, address the underlying causes or conditions of poverty and marginalization of the Maori people. Citizen Participation Cit izen participation is a key component of the decis ion-making process within decentralization. Ife (2002) d i scusses the concept of citizen participation in relation to social justice. Communi t ies should be able to define their own needs rather than having them defined by others and should be able to find solutions for those needs. Garner ing inclusive participation is a reaction to our representative form of democracy that favours the elite and big business. For citizen participation to be effective, enlightened, 49 informed and experienced citizenry is required. Citizen participation is introduced to provide an opportunity for those who have not previously been involved in public affairs. Community Resource Boards in BC The Community Resource Board (CRB) experiment of the 1970's is an interesting historical example of an attempt to decentralize social services to communities and increase citizen participation. In 1972 the New Democratic Party was elected to power. Then Minister of Human Resources proceeded to restructure the social services department to ensure broad citizen input and responsiveness to local needs (Rekart, 1988). The Community Resource Board Act (1974) provided for public participation, planning and provision of social services. This restructuring of social services gave the community a predominant role in the delivery of social programs. The Community Resource Boards' mandate was to: encourage and support citizen involvement in all concerns that affect the quality of life in the community; to encourage an integrated service system and a preventative approach; to identify needs and establish priorities; to monitor and evaluate; and to receive, administer and allocate funds from public and other sources in an equitable, rational manner. {Community Resource Board Act, 1974) However, the minister and government were not willing to give up all control and the minister retained the ultimate authority over decisions (Clague et al, 1984). In 1975 the Social Credit Party returned to power. The new Minister of Human Resources, dismantled the Community Resource Boards and by 1977 control over policy and delivery of social services reverted back to Victoria (Rekart, 1988) There are many interesting lessons to learn from this experiment. The authors of Reforming Human Services: The Experience of Community Resource Boards in BC (1984) contend in general that the Community Resource Board experiment was a 50 succes s and had many positive outcomes. However, during this time there were many critics of the Boards . Most civic governments were opposed to the C R B ' s . T h e Mayor of Vancouver thought the experiment was a complete failure due to the low number of voter turnout for the elections. The C R B ' s also conflicted with patterns of establ ished civic government. They appeared to be a way for senior government to download responsibility back to the municipalities for social welfare, at a time when municipalities had just been relieved of the responsibility. The social service sector felt offended because the Minister was not interested in using the professional and organizational resources of established agencies. They felt slighted that the government would choose to rely on citizen's 'lay knowledge' over their expert and professional opinions. Ques t ions of accountability were key for the critics. S ince the C R B ' s did not have a tax base, many critics felt they lacked accountability to all tax payers. In addition, the costs for delivering social services was increased by this model . The C R B ' s a lso highlighted the issue of regional disparity. Vancouver was given more money and services than other rural areas. However, despite these negative opinions, there were many beneficial aspects associa ted with the experiment. One of the most positive outcomes was the increase in citizen input into the delivery of social services. In 1975, there were 60 Boards in existence in B C . Eight hundred community people were directly involved in various aspect of the planning, coordination, and funding of social programs. In addition, 1500-2000 more people acted as volunteers in public forums and participated in surveys. Wha t the elected board lacked in their own composit ion was offset to a degree by the involvement of consumers and citizens. The Boards established an integrated, decentral ized delivery of social services within the public sector. Communi ty social services became more coherent in form and content. 51 5.6 The Community Board Drawing on the above examples, I present a structure of governance for the community. It is integral to the community development process that the state delegate decision-making control to communities in order to administer social programs and funds as they see fit. As shown in the Maori example, the state also needs to transfer enough funds to allow the programs to be viable. The communities would follow general municipal boundaries but could have committees responsible for smaller neighbourhood units. In this approach the community would be responsible for the delivery of social services, the identification of needs, the planning of services to meet those needs, the establishment of priorities within and among 'competing' services, and the monitoring and evaluation of programs (Ife, 2002). In the current income assistance system the centralized bureaucracy in Victoria, the capital of BC, sets policy. They set rates and benefits and create programs for single mothers generally without consultation with communities. Often the government will have a community agency deliver services but the agency will be expected to follow procedures and policy set in Victoria. In contrast, under my suggested model services would be designed and provided by and for local community members, including the single mothers, rather than being designed by 'expert' technicians from elsewhere. The governance model could be based loosely on the Community Resource Board structure of elected community members. Some way has to be found to delegate decision-making while retaining inclusive participation. It is impractical to expect all community members to be actively involved in all the decisions that have to be made. The Community Board would be based on the principles of participatory democracy. 52 The Board would actively recruit those who have been traditionally marginal ized and excluded from politics such as low-income single mothers. Empowerment , one of the components of the principle of social justice, a ims to increase the power of the disadvantaged. Low-income single mothers fall into the category of those who are disadvantaged or oppressed within our current system. Paulo Friere (1985) and Gus tavo Gutierrez (1983) speak eloquently of the process of 'conscientization' , an approach that is anchored in the belief that society "shall not have our great leap forward ... until the marginalized and exploited become the artisans of their own liberation- until their voice makes itself heard directly, without mediation, without interpreters" (Guitierrez, 193, p. 65). This is a key point in the model of community development. Low-income single mothers are valued as agents of social change. The knowledge from their lived experience is key in understanding how the community can support them. The Board would be mandated to include all community members in decis ion-making processes . The participatory budgeting process ("orgamento participativo") in S a o Paulo, Brazi l is a particularly good example of participatory democracy in action. The communit ies perform a significant role in the allocation of investments through alternative capital budgeting procedures. The evaluation of the instrument over the years has shown a remarkable attendance to the budgeting process and participation by the community (Baierle, 1998) The Role of the State The state government still retains a role in the delivery of social services (see Figure 5.3). Al though they do not provide direct service, they maintain responsibility for the redistribution of income and control over certain standards. The state would be the 53 major funder of the community's programs in order to maintain equality throughout the geographic areas. This would be met through progressive taxation, whereby those with higher incomes are taxed at a higher rate. The state has a critical role in the dissemination of information and the encouraging of networking between communities. The state has a key role in implementing the systemic transformation that is needed for the community development model to happen. The State: Major Funder and Keeper of Standards 1 1 1 Locally Elected Board Locally Elected Board Exchange of Ideas, Knowledge and Goods between Communities Figure 5.3: Governance Structure of the Community Development Approach 54 5.7 Program Examples In the community development approach the community becomes responsible for most of the services that directly affect low-income single mothers. For example, some of the basic issues for the low-income single mothers are childcare, education, housing, obtaining nutritious food, training and job opportunities. One of the key values in this approach is that the community takes ownership for what are now considered private problems. The strength of community development is the ability to pool resources and create programs and supports that are beneficial for community members. Most of the programs described below would be accessible to all community members since one of the foundational principles is the promotion of diverse community membership with varied family structure, incomes and ethnicities. There are examples of this approach throughout BC and Canada, mostly found within the cooperative movement. However, these initiatives are piecemeal and not uniformly supported by government. The key is for state government to create a comprehensive, integrated strategy and delegate decision-making responsibility and program delivery to communities. The local Board, complete with extensive input from the single mothers and the other users, would make suggestions of where to allocate resources from the state and how best to deliver the programs. Figure 5.4 illustrates the relationship between the community board and the specific programs. 55 Figure 5.4: Community Programs Child Care Chi ldcare is an important issue for single mothers and many working families. In order to engage in paid work, parents need quality child care at a low cost. In B C , most day care is privately run and limited subsidies are issued to low-income families. It has been inadequate in meeting the needs of most parents. A l l parents, especial ly single parents would benefit from community owned childcare. It would be funded through the community board and be available to all families at a very minimal cost. There are numerous examples of cooperatively run childcare throughout B C . T h e Vancouve r Island Cooperat ive Preschool Associa t ion (VICPA) supports 14 parent participation preschools on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands (Vancouver Island Cooperat ive Preschool Websi te , 2004). V I C P A has been in existence s ince 1949. It has been an advocate for high quality early childhood education for children and professional s tandards for adults who work with them. V I C P A preschools meet or exceed provincial 56 government licensing and safety standards. Parents benefit from being a part of the running of the preschool and children benefit from the high educational quality. Housing The lack of adequate, affordable housing is a huge problem for lone mothers, especial ly in Vancouver , B C . Federal and provincial funding for socia l housing programs have declined in the 1990's. The market housing sys tem has not responded adequately to low income people's needs. The community could build and subsidize safe and affordable housing to ensure lone mother and their children have a decent place to live. This could consist of housing which includes various forms of tenure. Member s would purchase a share of the building and then decide to rent or buy their own unit. The model of cooperative housing and co-housing has been used widely across C a n a d a . About half of all co-op households in C a n a d a pay a monthly charge geared to their income. Government funds cover the difference between this payment and the co-op's full charge, based on certain eligibility requirements. Ye t housing co-ops still cost less to operate than other types of housing. Co-ops cost 19 per cent less to operate than municipal or private non-profit housing and 71 per cent less than public housing (owned by the federal or provincial governments), according to a 1992 C a n a d a Mortgage and Housing Corporation study of federal co-operative housing programs (Canadian Cooperat ive Associa t ion of Canada , n.d.). Most housing co-operatives are members of the Co-operative Housing Federation of C a n a d a , a national apex organization which works with government on behalf of housing co-operatives and their members , coordinates group buying among co-operatives, and offers training and organizational development assis tance to housing co-ops across the country. 57 The type of housing the community builds can contribute to the ecological sustainability of the community. Building compact, high-density housing, near amenit ies can reduce sprawl and increase the use of walking and cycling. The housing should be available to a mixed type of families and incomes so as to promote diversity within the building and community. Nutritious Food The use of food banks and wide spread hunger has been a reality in the era of welfare reform in C a n a d a and B C . Food security is a key component is supporting lone mothers. Food Share, based in Toronto is a good example of an organization that offers community based projects to help put food on people 's tables. Food Share promotes cooperative buying systems, collective kitchens and community gardens that have the potential to address short term issues of household hunger, while providing longer term benefits by building capacity of individuals and communit ies (Mulvale, 2 0 0 1 ) . The organization aims to take food out of the realm of market based commodit ies , and make it a basic human right, like air or water. Single mothers would benefit from the model of food security. Community gardens and community kitchens are an excellent way to save money, gain skills and build relationships. E x c e s s produce could be sold at the local farmers market. Community gardens meet the ecological sustainable goal for communities in a number of ways . The garden could be run organically with little or no pesticides. In addition, growing local food reduces the reliance on food from other countries, which has large environmental costs due to the need to ship or haul food over long distance expending fuel and other resources. 58 Income Maintenance The topic of income maintenance is complex and not one I can give definitive answers for. There is a need to recognize single mother's unpaid labour in the household, especial ly if they are not involved in the paid labour force; however, it is important not to weaken women 's economic security through the attachment to the labour force. A s illustrated by the care al lowance debate in Sweden , by allocating transfers to only stay-at-home mothers, there is a risk of further entrenching the traditional division of labour. In order to fully meet the needs of single mothers, there needs to be a variety of income and employment supports. The central concern is to find a balance between the recognition of the value of work w o m e n do as mothers in a private sphere and promotion of their right to participate on equal terms with men in the public sphere and labour market (Lister, 1997). A number of authors offer reasons to adopt a basic income guarantee or citizen income (Lister, 1997, Mulvale 2001). This is an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis including children, without means test or work requirement. This is a very controversial proposal , especial ly given the increasing cuts to social programs and welfare sys tems. It is an interesting concept as it would reduce the stigmatization of receiving welfare and has the possibility of encouraging men to take up more of the care giving and community responsibilities. However others argue that it could inadvertently serve to reinforce men's economic advantage over women, if men continued to make high incomes in the paid labour force while women 's labour force attachment weakened due to time spent away from paid work. In order to reduce the disincentive towards work in the labour force for men and women , meaningful, well-paid work that is controlled by community members needs to 59 be created. A n example of a community run business is Bambinos Family Coopera t ives in Victoria, B C . In 1998, 4 single mothers on income assis tance decided they wanted to establish a "family friendly" business, selling used clothing and material for children. Financing for the project was made available through Rising Tide and ongoing technical support comes from C E D C O , local community economic development agencies . Bambinos regularly receives materials and support from a number of groups in the community. Al though this initiative does not address the external issues such as parental leave and pay equity, they do have control over balancing work and home life in terms of paid working hours. Included within these programs need to be education and job training possibilities. A historic example is the Vancouver Opportunities Program of the 1960's and 1970's. The program illustrated an empowerment framework for supporting single mothers on social assistance. The program was managed by single mothers on social ass is tance and included mutual support and self-help groups, life skills and pre-employment training, volunteer placements and job development. (Clague and Wharf, 1997). This is a good example of an empowerment model but also did little to address outside structural barriers women faced such as the gendered wage gap. 5.8 Analysis of the Community Development Approach Feminization of Poverty In the previous chapter I d iscussed the concept of feminization of poverty in relation to the B C and Swedish Models . This concept is a lso useful to evaluate the community development approach. The goal within community development is to reduce the number of single mothers in poverty. This is done by increasing the community 's capacity to care for 60 those who are most marginalized. The community development approach builds on and strengthens the community ties and social networks that are evident in daily life. It v iews society in a more cooperative vein, rather than privileging the individualism as is done in neo-liberal policies. The large number of single mothers and children living in poverty attest to the difficulties of playing the dual roles of primary wage earner and caregiver within the B C model . Within the neo-liberal framework, if they cannot make ends meet they are told to budget their money more effectively. In the community development approach, the goal is to reduce the feminization of poverty by transferring the responsibility for children to the community. Worker Versus Parent Tensions The second evaluative concept explored the tension between worker and parent roles in the B C and Swed i sh model and are germane for the analysis of community development. The worker versus caregiver tension can be diminished in the community development model by reducing paid work hours for all community members . M a n y feminists believe that the six hour work day for all workers is one of the most important pre-conditions for equality between men and w o m e n in work life, family life and citizenship work. If men had to work the same hours, working a six hour day job would not disadvantage women . It would allow both men and women to share the burdens of running a household and caring for children more equally. The six hour work day would a lso allow single parents more time for family life and participation in political activities, although disadvantage would still occur s ince single parents do not have another parent to share the duties of running the household. 61 O n c e men are freed of full time paid work responsibility the hope is they will be encouraged to take time for all children in the community, not just their own. The organization of Big Brothers is a good example of men volunteering their time to be a role model for boys that may be missing a father figure. This approach encourages a shift in focus of attention from women to men as well as to the wider societal responsibility for children and others in need of care (Pateman, 1987). Notions of Citizenship The third evaluative concept employed in the last chapter centred on the notions of citizenship. Within the community development approach, the goal is to broaden the notion of citizenship responsibility so all members of the community have acces s to social and political rights. The Guiding Principles for Soc ia l Development Welfare Pol ic ies adopted by the United Nations sum up an ideal definition of citizenship: "The enhancement of well being by raising the level of living, ensuring socia l justice and widening opportunities for people to develop their highest capacit ies as healthy, educated, participating and contributing citizens." (as qtd in Lister, 1997). A grounded concept of citizenship, which can be of value to w o m e n and single mothers, has to embrace both individual rights (social and reproductive) and political participation and has to analyze the relationship between the two (Lister, 1997). In the previous two models, the citizen wage earner is privileged over the citizen caregiver, reflecting hierarchy of work form which accords greater status to primary wage work, however, useless , over other forms of work, however useful (Leira, 2002). Soc ia l cit izenship rights in B C and Sweden are contingent on the duty to engage in paid work. This value is the concept underlying workfare programs. 62 The Swed i sh and B C definition of work is based on male worker model of paid employment. In this model , work is valued when it is done outside the home, in the public sphere. Those that do not have paid work are not valued. Mar ia A n g e l e s Duran (1994) writes "unpaid work is trapped in a system of special , unwritten, inexplicit rules, poorly defined in family law, not openly agreed and frequently in contradiction with the general principles of paid work" (p. 24). Unpaid workers lack many of the citizenship rights of other workers. This is problematic within an analysis on the value of parenthood, as well as the more pragmatic consideration of the changing labour force. Within the changing labour force and the move to non-standard work, not everyone is able to find full-time tenured employment. Because of this transformation is it important for government and society to re-evaluate the notions of citizenship and work. In the community development approach citizenship responsibilities encompass more than just engaging in paid work. Soc ia l rights are granted when people work together to improve their own quality of life and that of others (Lister, 1997). Caregiving would be classified as a citizenship responsibility that entitles one to socia l rights such as a basic income guarantee, day care and pay equity. The new definition includes socially necessary and useful work in the labour market, unpaid caring work in the family, and various forms of services in the community (Mulvale, 2001). M u c h of the activities women engage in now fall under this new definition of citizenship responsibilities. Many w o m e n and single mothers are involved in work in volunteer capacities such as advocating for social and environmental change that is instrumental to the health of our society. W o m e n are often involved in spiritual activities, caring for the elderly, volunteering in school and other places, and with the arts. 63 A form of 'wage for mother work' policy has been put in place in France and several other European Union states. It has allowed lone mothers not to seek paid employment and to live on the benefit in recognition of the role as parents. However, the danger of this policy is to further entrench the traditional division of labour between care work by w o m e n and labour market work for men. A profound redistribution of the paid and unpaid work and care is called for, one that goes beyond the largely symbol ic support entailed in promoting parental choice (Leira, 2002). There needs to be adequate supports that give lone mothers real choices about whether they stay home or whether they work in the paid labour market. The entrenchment of women ' s oppress ion must be guarded against at the community level. Through granting single mothers social rights such as a basic income guarantee and employment supports, their political rights are supported. Without having their material needs met, single mothers cannot become political actors. Within the B C and Swed i sh model , single mothers are the policy takers, not the policy makers . They are v iewed as objects rather than subjects in the social service sys tem. T h e Communi ty Development approach encourages single mothers' political voice within the decis ion-making processes of the community. The approach decentral izes government so that local citizens have more access to decision-making. In both S w e d e n and B C most policies that affect single mothers are made centrally, through a hierarchical, bureaucratic structure. In the community development model , single mothers are instrumental in making the policy decisions that affect themselves and their community. B y creating a locally based governance structure, the acces s for single mothers to participate in decision-making is increased. In community development the vision of cit izenship is one that involves the collective and participatory engagement of citizens in the determination of the affairs of community. Collect ive action can boost self-64 confidence as w o m e n start to see themselves as political actors and effective citizens. They will no longer be viewed as clients but as participating members of the community. Single mothers will be viewed as subjects and not just objects of social policy making (Lister, 1997). Ci t izen participation is introduced to provide an opportunity for those who have not previously been involved in public affairs to have a voice. However , this does not a lways happen. The notion of citizen participation is gendered. It tends to a s sume that cit izens have the time and other resources to fulfill their obligations of citizenship. Often those with money, power and status will dominate the more local forms of governance. The more demanding the concept of citizenship, the more likely it will represent a minority. That minority is likely to be male, as was the c lass ica l ideal. The c lass ica l Athenian male was largely freed from labour by non-citizens, s laves and w o m e n so that he could participate in the daily affairs of government. T ime is a resource, often skewed in men's favour. Often women do not have the time to contribute to the decis ion making process . It may create another source of guilt for the already over burdened women . However , what is important is to create the ability for all women and single mothers to participate in the community processes . This does not have to be translated into a requirement. Wha t is important is that conditions are created that enables all cit izens to participate (Lister, 1997). It can be viewed more on a continuum where people might participate more or less at different points in their lives. Ci t izen participation cannot be expected in isolation or else it will contribute to continued structural discrimination. It needs to happen in conjunction with the other goals of community development such as income maintenance and employment support for lone mothers. The state government has a key role here in creating and upholding a community constitution that promotes inclusion in community processes and decis ion making. 65 However there is a fine balance to staying true to the principles of social justice and gender equality without becoming autocratic over the community. Valu ing the community 's voice and knowledge must be balanced with these foundational values; however, oppressive or discriminatory practices must not be tolerated within the community. 5.9 Summary Communi ty development addresses many of the limitations in the B C and Swed i sh models . The biggest limitation is the privileging of the worker-citizen over the caregiver-cit izen. The tension of worker and caregiver is ultimately reduced through programs and policies that support the agency of single mothers in how they care for their children. Ultimately, care work is valued and single mothers are perceived as an integral part of the holistic nature of the community. Single mothers are supported materially by a number of income and employment programs such as child care but are also encouraged to be political actors in the decis ion-making processes . Tab le 5.1 below outlines the comparisons and contrast of the three approaches as d i scussed above. 66 Table 5.1: Comparisons of Approaches BC Model Swedish Model Community Development Approach Governance State- level State-level Community- level Citizen Participation in Decision Making Low Low High Economic Unit Individual/Family Individual/Family Communi ty Responsibility for Children Individual Individual and State Communi ty Citizenship High-income worker Worker M e m b e r of the community Ecological Perspective No No Y e s Al though community development has a wide array of benefits, there is a major chal lenge to this approach: that of implementation. Our society in B C is currently based on a competition that values the market and globalization. It would not be easy to create such a dramatic overhauling of our system. The provincial and federal governments, both need to be on side and make many difficult decis ions in the face of major opposition from those that benefit from the maintenance of the status quo. 67 Chapter VI Conclusion and Planning Implications This thesis adopted a comparative framework to explore two different approaches of income support for lone mothers: the British Columbia (BC) model and the Swed i sh model . The two approaches represent distinct responses to single mothers and poverty. Upon examination, it is clear that the B C model does not meet the economic needs of single mothers and their children. Single mothers in S w e d e n fare better; however, economic discrimination between paired and lone mothers still exists. The community development approach addresses limitations in the Swed i sh and B C models and creates a holistic, integrated approach to supporting lone mothers as caregivers and workers. O f important note for this overall d iscussion is the fact that being an economical ly vulnerable single mother relates to a specific, generally short phase in life. Usually, single mothers need the most support when their children are very young. This is significant as single mothers should not be viewed as a drain on society 's resources, but citizens doing important work who need extra support at very specific times in their lives, such as supports provided to the elderly. During this stage in the lifecycle, communities need to provide for time away from the labour market for parents to care for their children and the ability to synchronize care and work once they return. Generous parental leaves should be offered to men and w o m e n . After parental leave is over, work hours could be reduced for more time for care giving and community responsibilities. In addition, emphas is needs to be given to pay equity so that women ' s wages are more in line with men's . 68 There are many planning implications for the d iscuss ion of income support for lone mothers. Planning and policy making for social services need to be done in conjunction with those most affected. Currently planning is done by those far removed from the community. The current system relies heavily on 'experts' to make decis ions. The d iscuss ion in Chapter 5 on community development illustrates the importance of inclusive processes in planning. Cit izen participation must be undertaken with critical judgement. W h o is the 'citizen' is citizen participation? A s planners are we reaching those whose voices have been si lenced and marginal ized? The principle of praxis is another important planning implication. 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