Child Support Compliance in the USA and Australia: To Persuade or Punish? / Oldham, J. Thomas and Smyth, Bruce, November 16, 2018 – Family Law Quarterly, 2019 Forthcoming; U of Houston Law Center No. A13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3286048 — In this paper, we compare strategies employed in Australia and the U.S. to attempt to increase child support compliance. We compare the tendency in the U.S. to look to various punitive measures and compare that approach with the more holistic approach that has sometimes been used in Australia. We note that, at least based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, child support compliance has not significantly changed during the period from 1993-2015. We speculate upon why this may have occurred, and highlight promising initiatives in the U.S. that reflect a move away from a punitive compliance strategy.
Classed formations of shame in white, British single mothers / C Morris, SR Munt – Feminism & Psychology, 2019 — This paper discusses the formation of shame in a group of white heterosexual British women originally from middle-class backgrounds. Narrative interviews convey how participants perceive their lives to have been ‘spoiled’ and stigmatized through becoming single mothers. They articulate perceptions of how their lives have fallen short of idealised heteronormative, middle-class trajectories of neoliberal success and adopt a range of narrative strategies to counter this, informed by the politics of shame in relation to single motherhood in contemporary Britain.
Gender Equality and Poverty are Intrinsically Linked / R Nieuwenhuis, T Munzi, J Neugschwender, H Omar… – 2019 – UN Women — This discussion paper provides an updated analysis of gendered economic inequality in high- and middle-income countries. A review of the literature demonstrates that such an analysis needs to explicitly recognize that gender, poverty and (economic) inequality are intrinsically linked. Specifically, the paper addresses two sets of questions: First, how do intrafamily resource allocation and distribution patterns both reflect and shape gender inequalities in power and well-being, and what factors—including policyrelated ones—can mitigate these inequalities? Second, how do families as gendered institutions contribute to broader socio-economic inequalities, and what can be done to reduce/reverse these inequalities?
Housing Cost Burden and Maternal Stress among Very Low Income Mothers / KL Bills, SM West, J Hargrove – J. Sociology & Social Welfare, 2019 — As the affordable housing shortage proliferates, more American households struggle with high housing cost burdens. Grounded in Belsky’s (1984) parenting stress framework, we use a weighted low-income sample from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study of mothers who rent their homes (N= 388) to investigate a relationship between housing cost burden, or paying a substantial portion of income toward housing, and higher rates of reported maternal stress. Findings of the linear regression indicate that younger mothers …
How Australian welfare reforms shape low-income single mothers’ food provisioning practices and their children’s nutritional health / N Jovanovski, K Cook – Critical Public Health, 2019 — This paper examines the food provisioning practices of low-income single mothers affected by market-driven welfare reforms in Australia. We explore the tensions between women’s care responsibilities and the government’s welfare-to-work reform, and the effects of these tensions on the nutritional health and wellbeing of women and their children. Conducting a thematic analysis of 20 interviews with single mothers receiving either Parenting Payment Single, Newstart Allowance (NSA), or the Disability Support Pension, we found that when women’s income and time were significantly compromised, especially when women were transferred onto the less generous unemployment benefit NSA, that food provisioning became more psychologically taxing and nutritional health decreased. The findings suggest that public health researchers must focus on challenging the structural antecedents of women’s food work and hunger to alleviate the responsibilities of single mothers in countries facing similar circumstances.
Life on Newstart allowance: A new reality for low-income single mothers / HJ McKenzie, C McHugh, FH McKay – Journal of Family Studies, 2019 — In recent years, significant policy changes have been made to Australian welfare benefits for single parent families. These changes include the addition of work requirements and changes to the eligibility requirements for family payments. This paper explores the most recent welfare payment change for low-income single parents in 2013, whereby a change in eligibility requirements has seen many move from the Parenting Payment Single (PPS) to Newstart Allowance, a decreased fortnightly payment with a stricter income test. Twenty-three in-depth interviews were conducted with women who had recently experienced this payment change. All of the women were already struggling financially on the PPS, with the shift to Newstart Allowance further exacerbating their precarious financial position. This paper focuses on the financial impacts, the need to prioritise expenses and women’s capacity to make up the financial shortfall since moving off the PPS. This paper adds to the existing literature exploring the impacts of welfare policy change on single parent families.
Nonstandard Work Hours and Single Versus Coupled Mothers’ Work-to-Family Conflict / S Moilanen, K Aunola, V May, E Sevón… – Family …, 2019 — Objective: To compare single and coupled mothers’ experiences of time?based work?to?family conflict (WFC) and work?to?family positive affective spillover (PAS) in the context of maternal nonstandard work hours. Background:
Despite having become one of the central topics of work–family research, studies examining the relationship of maternal work schedules and family roles have mainly focused on North American samples or dual?earner families. Although qualitative studies have highlighted the problems faced by European single mothers in relation to the combination of nonstandard work hours and family life, there are no quantitative or cross?national comparative studies on the association. Method: Using a convenience sample derived from the Families 24/7 survey of Finnish, Dutch, and British mothers with children 12 years of age or younger (N = 1,106), path analysis was carried out to assess the associations of single motherhood, nonstandard work hours, and their interaction with WFC and PAS and to compare the associations between 3 countries. Results: The positive association between the amount of nonstandard work hours and WFC was found to be stronger among single mothers than coupled mothers in all 3 countries. However, in Finland, both single and coupled mothers, and in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, only single mothers, experienced higher WFC when the mother worked more during nonstandard hours. In all countries, single mothers experienced less PAS than coupled mothers. Conclusion: Dutch and British single mothers who work nonstandard hours experience the combination of multiple roles particularly challenging compared with coupled mothers. In Finland, both single and coupled mothers report high levels of WFC when they work more nonstandard hours; hence, a greater amount of work during nonstandard hours is not an automatic indication of heightened challenges for single mothers alone. Implications: When aiming to improve mothers’ work–family reconciliation via social and workplace policies, it is important to understand the circumstances of single and coupled mothers in different cultural contexts.
Parental joblessness and the moderating role of a university degree on the school-to-work transition in Australia and the United States / M Curry*, I Mooi-Reci, M Wooden – Life Course Centre Working Paper Series, 2018-09, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland. — Does parental joblessness delay young adults’ school-to-work transitions? If so, can a university degree moderate this relationship? We examine these questions using a representative sample of young adults under the age of 25 that lived with their parents prior to entering the labor market in Australia (N=2,151) and the U.S. (N=811) during the period 2001-2015. Results from Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for clustering of siblings, demonstrate that parental joblessness is associated with slower school-towork transitions in both the U.S. and Australia. University degree attainment mitigates much of this negative relationship in Australia, suggesting that parental joblessness is most harmful for Australians who leave school before earning a university degree. There is no evidence for a similar interaction in the U.S., suggesting that the relationship between education, parental joblessness, and the school-to-work transition may depend on contextual factors such as the welfare regime. [Open access]
**Matthew Curry, Henderson Fellow, Work and Economic Security, Brotherhood of St Laurence – Dr Matthew Curry holds a joint appointment at the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Institute and the Brotherhood’s Research and Policy Centre.
Single Mothers’ Post-Separation Provisioning: Child Support and the Governance of Gender / K Natalier, K Cook, H McKenzie – Sociology, 2019 — This article uses single mothers’ pursuit of child support (child maintenance) to examine how the state governs gender through post-separation financial responsibilities. We draw on interview data to detail how the Australian welfare state compels single mothers’ child support provisioning through claims work and the associated strategies of managing information, emotions and government workers. Despite their sustained efforts, provisioning afforded single mothers’ limited financial benefits. We argue that this outcome reflected a gendered policy and implementation regime that normalised masculine financial discretion and simultaneously compelled single mothers’ provisioning and failed to accord it legitimacy. Provisioning did, however, benefit the welfare state, which appropriated single mothers’ time and knowledge to claim and perform key functions. We conclude that the necessity and challenges of child support provisioning were not indicative of a failing child support programme but rather reflected its role in the reproduction of gendered power, responsibilities and rewards in post-separation parenting.
SOURCE: Single Mothers and Poverty – A selection of articles from a variety of sources [viewed 28 June 2019]
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