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An American Family Myth: Every Child At Risk
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A study on family structure and values among the poorest of all welfare recipients, homeless families found that not only has the traditional family structure broken down, but that there are stark contradictions between the reality of the lives of homeless women and the values they hold. The traditional family may actually be obsolete for this population. One finding is paramount, however, and that is that education is a strong predictor of the stability of family structure and of a family's ability to rise out of poverty and become independent. It will be useless to attempt to instill values through placement of children in orphanages or by placing financial sanctions on single mothers. Instead, it is important to develop viable policy options that enable families to stay intact and become self-sufficient. The reality is that poor single mothers still want to live independently and responsibly for their children. Education is the key to escaping welfare. The American Family Inns concept is endorsed as a way to keep families together and provide education for mothers and their children. Two figures and one table illustrate the discussion. Contains three references. (SLD)(Author)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services