By Sheldon Danziger, Ann Chih Lin
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Additional info for Coping With Poverty: The Social Contexts of Neighborhood, Work, and Family in the African-American Community
And she’s pregnant, too! Since I got to be here anyway, I might as well take care of hers, too. You can’t just leave your kids with anybody. She knows Between a Rock and a Hard Place 39 I’ll do right by my nieces—I wanted girls, she was the one wanted boys. She’s not going to leave her kids with just anybody. When Darla recovered from the cancer, she found a job at a department store. Immediately, her job altered her sister’s child-care arrangements and created new child-care needs for Darla. Now her nieces spend their beforeschool time in the care of another aunt, who just happened to quit her job because of doctor-ordered bed rest due to pregnancy complications.
But if she succeeds, she will most likely relocate to another overwhelmingly poor, black suburb. Her subsidy was once a ticket into a safer, more economically viable suburb in the area. Now, those who want to leave often find themselves blocked as a result of a political battle between county and local housing authorities that restricts the mobility of the Section 8 certificates in this region (Hicks-Bartlett forthcoming). Leaving the community is even more difficult for those with little income and no housing subsidy.
By simply reinforcing the obligation to pay without instituting any policies to increase the ability to pay, it reinforces the absent father problem, at least for this segment of the population. It will discourage some men who cannot pay support from being close to their children, lest they be discovered and sanctioned for the failure to pay. In addition, by enhancing the belief that parental responsibility is economic, it unwittingly downgrades the other dimensions of responsible parenting. Johnson also points out that fathers and mothers are not exclusively parents: they are the children of their own parents and may be adolescents themselves.