"So You Think I Drive a Cadillac?": Welfare Recipients' Perspectives on the System and Its Reform

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"Underneath the political rhetoric and welfare statistics are real live human beings who are trying to make sense out of their lives." These are the words of author Karen Seccombe, as she attempts to elucidate the experiences of welfare recipients and the hardships that continue to plague them with the institution of the new welfare reforms. Provides readers with stories from welfare recipients' themselves: how they got onto welfare, what the reality of welfare (and welfare reform) is for them, and what their plans, hopes, and dreams are for the future. Welfare recipients who were interviewed by the author shared their perspectives on work requirements, family caps, time limits, and other features of TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) -- the new welfare reform program. Their voices provide a crucial counterpoint to the politicians and policy "experts" who have shaped the policy reform initiative. These qualitative interviews are supplemented with up-to-date statewide and national data on welfare reform and its consequences. Social workers, social policy specialists, welfare workers, politicians, and educators and researchers in the field of social policy and welfare reform. A Longwood Professional Book.

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About the Author:

Karen Seccombe, M.S.W, Ph.D . is a Professor of Community Health at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.  She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington focusing on health and social welfare policy.  She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University, where she continued to develop her public policy interests in inequality, families, and health.  She is the author of Families and their Social Worlds (Pearson Allyn & Bacon), Families in Poverty (Pearson Allyn & Bacon),  Just Don’t Get Sick: Access to Health Care in the Aftermath of Welfare Reform , with Kim Hoffman (Rutgers University Press), and Marriage and Families: Relationships in Social Context , with Rebecca Warner (Wadsworth).  She is a Fellow in the National Council on Family Relations, and a member of the American Sociological Association and the Pacific Sociological Association.   Her current research explores the health care needs of families after they leave welfare. She resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband Richard and her young daughters, Natalie Rose and Olivia Lin, where they enjoy hiking, kayaking, and sampling all the kid-friendly local attractions. 

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Karen Seccombe
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