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Single Mothers and Their History

19th Century– State governments and charities created establishments such as orphanages and poorhouses for poor families and individuals who could not otherwise support themselves.  These families and individuals were also able to receive food and fuel relief, and sometimes given money from local governments.

1911– “Mother’s Pension” movement was started in Illinois that allowed single mothers to receive aid from the state to help support their children and allow them to be unemployed to be able to stay home with their children.

1930’s-During the Great Depression an organization called ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) was created to help women with dependent children who had husbands that were either deceased, divorced, or abandoned them.

Source: “Moving Up and Out”

Author: Lori Holyfield

Publisher: Temple University Press

Published: 2002

1933– Franklin D. Roosevelt created a concept called the New Deal, which was to help people of the United States during the Great Depression by providing the three R’s: relief, reform, and recovery.  The first R, relief, was to help the unemployed and hurt farmers; the second R, reform, was to help businesses; and the third R, recovery, was to help the economy.

1964-Lyndon B. Johnson introduced the War on Poverty that was an extension of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.  During the War on Poverty, Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act which allowed an organization called Office of Economic Opportunity to help put federal funding towards fighting poverty.

1967- Direct Action Recipients of Welfare was created

Source: “The Welfare Mothers Movement”

Author: Susan Handley Hertz

Publisher: University Press of America

Published: 1981

1974-WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program was created for low-income women with children in need of nutritious foods, education on nutrition, and references to numerous health and social services that were at no cost to the women.  The government gave $20.6 million to the program in support of single mothers and their children.

1996– President Bill Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Act that provided assistance for those on welfare to transition into the workforce.  The act also provided limited cash assistance and an increase in funds for child care.

2006– TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) was created to help welfare recipients become self-sufficient.  It helped single parents prepare for jobs so that once they were ready, they could be part of the workforce.

2009– The Recovery and Reinvestment Act was created by President Barrack Obama

Linked Sources:

Aid to low income workers, unemployed and retirees (including job training)-This link provides statistics on how much money is being allocated from the government to the low-income community during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It gives me a better idea of how much money is going to be put towards single mothers and their struggle for getting out of poverty.  It also gives an overview of what is involved in the act.

“Moving Up and Out”-This book gave me a lot of information of not only past organizations that have helped single mothers who are in poverty, but also recent organizations that have been created.  The book also describes how existing programs that were created years ago have developed today to help millions of single mothers.

Source: “Moving Up and Out”

Author: Lori Holyfield

Publisher: Temple University Press

Published: 2002

How Welfare Began in the United States-This file gave me the history of how welfare began and discussed some of the first welfare systems that were introduced to the United States.  It gave me an understanding of how single mothers dealt with poverty in the past and where the programs we have today stemmed from.

Not everyone can receive welfare– This article addressed the darker side of the issue of mothers and poverty.  It describes how not all single mothers receive welfare and even the ones that do, don’t receive the benefits they need.  Some are forced to work but don’t receive health care benefits and they are not able to give proper attention to their children.  This article also addresses the health issues of being an impoverished single mother raising children.

Single motherhood harming children– This article argues against single mothers and even goes as far as saying that single motherhood harms children.  It also describes a relationship between single motherhood and violence.  It makes you look at the other side of single mothers and poverty, and sort of plays devil’s advocate.  It makes you think if we should really be putting more money into supporting programs that fund single mothers.

My timeline describes certain dates throughout history where there has been an establishment of welfare and welfare reform.  The dates chosen are significant because each one describes a new step in moving towards a better welfare system for single mothers.  With the various dates and organizations that were created on those specific dates, I can generate an argument for the issue at hand.  The five links posted above are the most relevant to my topic and to the timeline because they give a general overview of the issue of single mothers trying to get out of poverty and they include specific time periods in which the government has helped single mothers do so.  The links not only describe the history of the issue and past resolutions, but they also describe current issues about single mothers and they allow me to formulate a current resolution.


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