229857 Cash assistance and social justice from the perspective of low-income mothers: Community participation to change the dialogue on welfare policies

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Jenny Rabinowich, BA , Philadelphia GROW Project/Witnesses to Hunger, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Ashley Ortiz , Drexel University School of Public Health, Witnesses to Hunger, Philadelphia, PA
Imani Sullivan , Witnesses to Hunger, Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer Breaux, MPH, CHES , Research Coordinator - Children's HealthWatch, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Mary Welsh, BA , School of Public Health, Drexel University School, Philadelphia, PA
Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH , Health Management and Policy, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, or “cash assistance”) is an essential yet flawed component of the safety net for families in the U.S. Current TANF allotments are insufficient to provide for a family's basic needs, even with support from other welfare programs. Contrary to TANF's stated goals, many of the requirements of the program perpetuate cycles of poverty, and are in fact detrimental to the health and well-being of children who are entitled to such benefits. The reauthorization of TANF scheduled for fall 2010 provides an opportunity and obligation to re-examine these programs with the participation of those who are and who have been TANF recipients. This presentation will utilize results from Witnesses to Hunger, a participatory action research project with low-income mothers of young children in Philadelphia, almost all of whom have received TANF as adults. Results from analyses of 150 recorded hours of open-ended interviews demonstrate that women's and children's social and economic rights are consistently violated; in turn, these social injustices negatively affect maternal and child health and limit human potential. This presentation, created with the input of the mothers of Witnesses to Hunger, will discuss recommendations for improvements in cash assistance policies and our work to change these policies through community-based advocacy.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the effects of current TANF policies in relation to maternal and child health 2.Discuss the shortfalls of TANF from a social justice perspective 3.Analyze original qualitative research from Witnesses to Hunger 4.Identify recommendations for legislative change to welfare policy based the ideas of those who receive TANF

Keywords: Welfare, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Research and Policy Coordinator of Witnesses to Hunger and will be presenting on research that I have conducted over the last two years in conjunction with colleagues and community members listed on this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.