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Doing The Best I Can

Author: Kathryn Edin
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520955137
Size: 31.74 MB
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Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as "deadbeat dads." Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral. Drawing on years of fieldwork, Doing the Best I Can shows how mammoth economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor. Intimate interviews with more than 100 fathers make real the significant obstacles faced by low-income men at every step in the familial process: from the difficulties of romantic relationships, to decision-making dilemmas at conception, to the often celebratory moment of birth, and finally to the hardships that accompany the early years of the child's life, and beyond.

Doing The Best I Can

Author: Kathryn Edin
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520274067
Size: 66.40 MB
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Examines the shifting paradigm of unmarried fatherhood in inner cities in the United States, citing how economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor.

Shadow Mothers

Author: Cameron Lynne Macdonald
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520947819
Size: 71.83 MB
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Shadow Mothers shines new light on an aspect of contemporary motherhood often hidden from view: the need for paid childcare by women returning to the workforce, and the complex bonds mothers forge with the "shadow mothers" they hire. Cameron Lynne Macdonald illuminates both sides of an unequal and complicated relationship. Based on in-depth interviews with professional women and childcare providers— immigrant and American-born nannies as well as European au pairs—Shadow Mothers locates the roots of individual skirmishes between mothers and their childcare providers in broader cultural and social tensions. Macdonald argues that these conflicts arise from unrealistic ideals about mothering and inflexible career paths and work schedules, as well as from the devaluation of paid care work.

2 00 A Day

Author: Kathryn J. Edin
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544303245
Size: 70.85 MB
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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year “A remarkable book that could very well change the way we think about poverty in the United States.” — New York Times Book Review “Powerful . . . Presents a deeply moving human face that brings the stunning numbers to life. It is an explosive book . . . The stories will make you angry and break your heart.” — American Prospect Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter, Brianna, in Chicago, often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends. After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before — households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million households, including about three million children. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Through this book’s eye-opening analysis and many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge. $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality. “Harrowing . . . [An] important and heart-rending book, in the tradition of Michael Harrington’s The Other America.” — Los Angeles Times

Poverty And The Underclass

Author: William A. Kelso
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814749003
Size: 28.18 MB
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The much-heralded War on Poverty has failed. The number of children living in poverty is steadily on the rise and an increasingly destructive underclass brutalizes urban neighborhoods. America's patience with the poor seems to have run out: even cities that have traditionally been havens for the homeless are arresting, harassing, and expelling their street people. In this timely work, William Kelso analyzes how the persistence of poverty has resulted in a reversal of liberal and conservative positions during the last thirty years. While liberals in the 1960s hoped to eliminate the causes of poverty, today they increasingly seem resigned to merely treating its effects. The original liberal objective of giving the poor a helping hand by promoting equal opportunity has given way to a new agenda of entitlements and equal results. In contrast, conservatives who once suggested that trying to eliminate poverty was futile, now seek ways to eradicate the actual causes of poverty. Poverty and the Underclass suggests that the arguments of both the left and right are misguided and offers new explanations for the persistence of poverty. Looking beyond the codewords that have come to obscure the debate—underclass, family values, the culture of poverty,—Kelso emphasizes that poverty is not a monolithic condition, but a vast and multidimensional problem. During his Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton called for an overhaul of the welfare system and spoke of a new covenant to unite both the left and right in developing a common agenda for fighting poverty. In this urgent, landmark work, William Kelso merges conservative, radical, and liberal ideals to suggest how the intractable problem of poverty may be solved at long last by implementing the principles of this new covenant.

The Cultural Contradictions Of Motherhood

Author: Sharon Hays
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300076523
Size: 56.57 MB
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While women are expected to be nurturing and unselfish in their role as mothers, they are expected to be competitive and even ruthless at work. Drawing on ideas about mothering since the Middle Ages, on contemporary childrearing manuals, and on in-depth interviews, Hays shows that 'intensive mothering' is a powerful contemporary ideology. These unrealistic expectations of mothers, she suggests, reflect a deep cultural ambivalence about the pursuit of self-interest.

Divided By Borders

Author: Joanna Dreby
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520945832
Size: 16.11 MB
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Since 2000, approximately 440,000 Mexicans have migrated to the United States every year. Tens of thousands have left children behind in Mexico to do so. For these parents, migration is a sacrifice. What do parents expect to accomplish by dividing their families across borders? How do families manage when they are living apart? More importantly, do parents' relocations yield the intended results? Probing the experiences of migrant parents, children in Mexico, and their caregivers, Joanna Dreby offers an up-close and personal account of the lives of families divided by borders. What she finds is that the difficulties endured by transnational families make it nearly impossible for parents' sacrifices to result in the benefits they expect. Yet, paradoxically, these hardships reinforce family members' commitments to each other. A story both of adversity and the intensity of family ties, Divided by Borders is an engaging and insightful investigation of the ways Mexican families struggle and ultimately persevere in a global economy.

Failing Our Fathers

Author: Ronald B. Mincy
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199371148
Size: 11.94 MB
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Maligned as "deadbeat dads" or sexually and financially irresponsible inner-city fathers and overlooked in discussions of poverty and family policy, economically vulnerable nonresident fathers are a greatly misunderstood population. Failing Our Fathers summarizes the most recent quantitative and qualitative research, and undertakes new analyses to fill in important gaps, to produce a comprehensive picture of who these fathers are, what types of relationships they have with their families and children, and the challenges they face meeting what their loved ones and taxpayers expect from them. The great majority of these men see their children on a regular basis, despite the financial, legal, and extra-legal barriers they face. Besides requiring fathers to support their children, we must enable them to do so by supplementing their earnings and supporting their co-parenting, in ways that parallel how we require and enable vulnerable single mothers to support their children. The book lays out specific reforms required to achieve this goal as well as tips for those resources for economically vulnerable nonresident fathers.

Making Ends Meet

Author: Kathryn Edin
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610441753
Size: 60.40 MB
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Welfare mothers are popularly viewed as passively dependent on their checks and averse to work. Reformers across the political spectrum advocate moving these women off the welfare rolls and into the labor force as the solution to their problems. Making Ends Meet offers dramatic evidence toward a different conclusion: In the present labor market, unskilled single mothers who hold jobs are frequently worse off than those on welfare, and neither welfare nor low-wage employment alone will support a family at subsistence levels. Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein interviewed nearly four hundred welfare and low-income single mothers from cities in Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois, and South Carolina over a six year period. They learned the reality of these mothers' struggles to provide for their families: where their money comes from, what they spend it on, how they cope with their children's needs, and what hardships they suffer. Edin and Lein's careful budgetary analyses reveal that even a full range of welfare benefits—AFDC payments, food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies—typically meet only three-fifths of a family's needs, and that funds for adequate food, clothing and other necessities are often lacking. Leaving welfare for work offers little hope for improvement, and in many cases threatens even greater hardship. Jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled women provide meager salaries, irregular or uncertain hours, frequent layoffs, and no promise of advancement. Mothers who work not only assume extra child care, medical, and transportation expenses but are also deprived of many of the housing and educational subsidies available to those on welfare. Regardless of whether they are on welfare or employed, virtually all these single mothers need to supplement their income with menial, off-the-books work and intermittent contributions from family, live-in boyfriends, their children's fathers, and local charities. In doing so, they pay a heavy price. Welfare mothers must work covertly to avoid losing benefits, while working mothers are forced to sacrifice even more time with their children. Making Ends Meet demonstrates compellingly why the choice between welfare and work is more complex and risky than is commonly recognized by politicians, the media, or the public. Almost all the welfare-reliant women interviewed by Edin and Lein made repeated efforts to leave welfare for work, only to be forced to return when they lost their jobs, a child became ill, or they could not cover their bills with their wages. Mothers who managed more stable employment usually benefited from a variety of mitigating circumstances such as having a relative willing to watch their children for free, regular child support payments, or very low housing, medical, or commuting costs. With first hand accounts and detailed financial data, Making Ends Meet tells the real story of the challenges, hardships, and survival strategies of America's poorest families. If this country's efforts to improve the self-sufficiency of female-headed families is to succeed, reformers will need to move beyond the myths of welfare dependency and deal with the hard realities of an unrewarding American labor market, the lack of affordable health insurance and child care for single mothers who work, and the true cost of subsistence living. Making Ends Meet is a realistic look at a world that so many would change and so few understand.

Black Fathers In Contemporary American Society

Author: Obie Clayton
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610441273
Size: 15.18 MB
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The majority of African American children live in homes without their fathers, but the proportion of African American children living in intact, two-parent families has risen significantly since 1995. Black Fathers in Contemporary American Society looks at father absence from two sides, offering an in-depth analysis of how the absence of African American fathers affects their children, their relationships, and society as a whole, while countering the notion that father absence and family fragmentation within the African American community is inevitable. Editors Obie Clayton, Ronald B. Mincy, and David Blankenhorn lead a diverse group of contributors encompassing a range of disciplines and ideological perspectives who all agree that father absence among black families is one of the most pressing social problems today. In part I, the contributors offer possible explanations for the decline in marriage among African American families. William Julius Wilson believes that many men who live in the inner city no longer consider marriage an option because their limited economic prospects do not enable them to provide for a family. Part II considers marriage from an economic perspective, emphasizing that it is in part a wealth-producing institution. Maggie Gallagher points out that married people earn, invest, and save more than single people, and that when marriage rates are low in a community, it is the children who suffer most. In part III, the contributors discuss policies to reduce absentee fatherhood. Wornie Reed demonstrates how public health interventions, such as personal development workshops and work-related skill-building services, can be used to address the causes of fatherlessness. Wade Horn illustrates the positive results achieved by fatherhood programs, especially when held early in a man's life. In the last chapter, Enola Aird notes that from 1995 to 2000, the proportion of African American children living in two-parent, married couple homes rose from 34.8 to 38.9 percent; a significant increase indicating the possible reversal of the long-term shift toward black family fragmentation. Black Fathers in Contemporary American Society provides an in-depth look at a problem affecting millions of children while offering proof that the trend of father absence is not irrevocable.