Faces of Poverty: Portraits of Women and Children on Welfare by Jill Duerr Berrick

By Jill Duerr Berrick

So much american citizens are insulated from the terrible; it really is demanding to visualize the demanding situations of poverty, the day-by-day fears of crime and victimization, the disappointment of no longer having the ability to supply for a kid. in its place, we're frequently uncovered to the rhetoric and hyperbole concerning the excesses of the yank welfare method. those messages colour our conception of the welfare challenge within the usa they usually shut the yank brain to a whole knowing of the complexity of kin poverty. yet who're those negative households? What will we find out about how they arrived in such determined straits? Is poverty their destiny for an entire life or for just a short interval? In Faces of Poverty, Jill Duerr Berrick solutions those questions as she dispels the misconceptions and myths approximately welfare and the welfare inhabitants that experience clouded the real photograph of poverty in America.
Over the process a 12 months, Berrick spent a variety of hours as a participant-observer with 5 girls and their households, documenting their day-by-day actions, suggestions, and fears as they controlled the traces of poverty. We meet Ana, Sandy, Rebecca, Darlene, and Cora, all of whom, at some point soon, have became to welfare for aid. each one represents a much wider section of the welfare population--ranging from Ana (who misplaced a company, injured her again, and briefly misplaced her activity, all in a quick time period) to Cora (who was once raised in poverty, spent ten years in an abusive courting, and now struggles to elevate six youngsters in a drug-infested neighborhood). And as Berrick records those women's studies, she additionally debunks a number of the myths approximately welfare: she finds that welfare isn't really beneficiant (welfare households stay less than the poverty line regardless of executive assistance); that almost all of ladies on welfare will not be long term welfare dependents; that welfare doesn't run in households; that "welfare moms" don't maintain having little ones to extend their funds (women on welfare have, on usual, children); and that just about half all girls on welfare grew to become to it after a divorce.
At a time whilst welfare has turn into a hotly debated political factor, Faces of Poverty provides us the evidence. the controversy surrounding welfare will proceed as all the 50 states struggles to reform their welfare courses, and this debate will activate the public's belief of the welfare inhabitants. Berrick deals perception into all the reforms into consideration and starkly demonstrates their implications for bad ladies and kids. She offers a window into those women's lives, brilliantly portraying their hopes and fears and their fight to reside with dignity.

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Do you know how I felt? She didn't really want to get off, and it's like she'll always do the same thing and she'll always be there. I would think that you'd want to better yourself and that's how I am, I want to better myself, but she seems like she's stuck. From the moment Ana got on welfare, she began looking forward to the day that she would get off it. She felt that it was not right to be taking welfare when she was supposed to be getting worker's compensation. And she did not feel good about worker's comp, either, except that she knew that it, too, would last for only a limited time before she had to go back to work.

Ana was in constant pain from her back injury and wondered when or even if she would be able to return to work. Conversations with her employer were not comforting either, as he encouraged her to find other employment. And if she were to return to work, it was not clear what she would be doing. She was not eager to return to the trucks, simply because of the movements required. But she was also unsure about her abilities as an indoor worker. Would the DMV retrain her? Would it give her a few weeks to make the transition?

To this day, I still have food stamps in my purse. The welfare worker was astonished by her thrift. She mentioned to Ana that she should come to the welfare office and give classes to welfare applicants. Nothing ever came of the suggestion, but Ana took the advice seriously. She often talked about how she would structure the lessons, and her entrepreneurial spirit was aroused as she imagined even greater ideas about setting up a business: The amount of food stamps they give to you is not a whole lot.

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