Parental pathways to self-sufficiency and the well-being of younger children

Greg J. Duncan, Lisa Gennetian, Pamela Morris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The push for antipoverty programs that promote parents' self-sufficiency by requiring or supporting employment has been building for over thirty years, since the early 1980s. Yet increasing the self-sufficiency of single parents raises some important questions about how such strategies affect the development of their children. Most important, how do children fare when their parents increase their employment? Transitions from welfare to work may benefit children by placing them in stimulating child-care settings, creating positive maternal role models, promoting maternal self-esteem and sense of control, introducing productive daily routines into family life, and, eventually, fostering career advancement and higher earnings on the part of both parents and children. On the other hand, efforts to promote employment may overwhelm already stressed parents, force young children into substandard child care, reduce parents' abilities to monitor the behavior of their older children, and, for those unable to sustain steady employment, deepen family poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaking the Work-Based Safety Net Work Better
Subtitle of host publicationForward-Looking Policies to Help Low-Income Families
PublisherRussell Sage Foundation
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9780871544667
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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