Childcare experiences and decision making for single mothers leaving welfare


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Literature to date on single mothers leaving welfare for employment lacks research based on decision making models. This paper focuses on two decisions that impact women leaving welfare: 1) the selection of childcare providers and 2) the decision whether or not to use a childcare subsidy. Based on interviews with twenty single mothers from a welfare advocacy group in Philadelphia, I developed an ethnographic decision tree model to map mothers’ decision making during their transition from welfare to work. Findings suggest the level of trust between parents and childcare providers, related to bad experiences with centerbased care, and the availability of information about center-based care facilities were important decision making criteria. The cost of childcare, from the mothers’ perspective, did not play as pivotal a role in the decision making process as did previous bad experiences with center-based care.

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