UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mothers who must work : a study of the implementation and effects of public assistance laws requiring the employment of mothers of dependent children, Washington, 1959 Muckey, Myron Daniel


For public assistance agencies in the United States, administrative suggestion and legislative direction has been increasingly focused on the encouragement and even coercion of mothers of dependent children to take paid employment. This has been concurrent with increasing public assistance costs during a period of relative prosperity. A common concern of social work, however, is that maternal absence from the family, whether for employment or for other reasons, promotes, under certain circumstances, family failure. This has occasioned value conflict for social work oriented personnel in public welfare agencies, and a searching after a refined methodology to apply to determinations of employability. The methods and results of the implementation of such a legislative directive to remove employable ADC mothers from grants in Washington State In 1959 are explored. A sample of 800 cases in which mothers had been removed from grants because of employability between July 1, 1959 and January 1, 1960 was read to schedule. The study is concerned with what criteria seemed to have been selected by caseworkers as relevant to employability. In relation to the desired result of self-support for employable mothers, the study explores what criteria seemed to have been most relevant. The criteria used and the criteria most effective are analyzed. Certain popularly expounded criteria were found to be valid and others invalid. The study applies value assumptions and theory to certain practical aspects of casework and proposes that success or lack of success relative to an employment goal can be predicted through an understanding of the value system of the public assistance recipient.

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