By 1984, 3 in 5 children born out of marriage were black. Angie has three children by the time she was 21. Her husband was in prison for life and she lived in abject poverty living in Chicago. Welfare payments were different, depending on the State and the city. In Milwaukee, there was no public housing, crime and drugs were low. Rents were lower. Welfare payments were higher. With three children, Angie moved with her 'cousin' Jewell to a new life. Until the welfare system became computerized, Angie worked odd jobs off the books. She made a living to support herself and her children. Living with another mother helped in expenses. The welfare check and food stamps helped put food on the table for her four children and herself. Jewell was pregnant when she moved to Milwaukee. Her husband was in prison. She relied on the system which allowed her to stay home for the two years until she was obligated to get a job. Opal had finished high school and gone to Community College. She had a lack of self confidence and had a drug dependence on cocaine then on crack. She eventually fell completely out of the system. Welfare was the answer to ghetto poverty. Taking it away made the strong survive. When Angie had to get training under the JOBS, she became a Nursing Assistant. Angie loved working as a Nursing Assistant but it had strong repercussions on her family life. Angie's kids missed more school when she was working then when she was on welfare. Clinton said if a mother worked, it would bring pride and order back to the home. This wasn't true. Her children missed the equivalence of 2 full years of school (chp 9) She lost her job when her car was stolen. "Liking a job is not the same as needing a job". "Leaving welfare is constantly being criticized by boyfriends" as though it is a sign of security. It was a vicious circle. By 1998, she could have gotten a check but it had become a hard bureaucratic humiliating process. She refused to sit through ''the self esteem class", and do 'the community service' As a fighter she went to get another job. She had a low paying scud job cleaning bed pans. Before Jewell took responsibility and got motivated she had called the TANF office only to get recordings "Please call once a week". When she had enough of the paperwork, she got a job in a factory. It was steady and well paid. Both these women had relatively unskilled jobs. The potential for advancement and leaving poverty as single mothers was limited. Both had problems with unhappy children who resented their boyfriends. Having fathers in prison was common place but difficult to handle. Opal, the most intelligent of the three, became lost in the system. She came to Milwaukee with her problems and the TANF did not have the services or rehabs for long term drug users. A problem needs to be identified before it is helped. Welfare offices did not have the man power to change roles so quickly.. She got a job in a lab but lost it because of her drug use. She fell off the grid. TANF stated that everyone was supposed to do something in order to get a check. Her first case officer gave her money on the side. Opal wasn't capable. Her children had been sent to her mother's. The W-2 promised rehabs but Opal never showed she had a drug problem. None of the three women had health insurance. The financial difference of being on welfare or having a low entry job after taxes was not more than $2000 for
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