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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19034

Title: Low-income Mothers, Provisioning, and Childcare Policy: A Vision of Shared Caring
Authors: Cerny, Judy Marie
Advisor: Neysmith, Sheila
Department: Social Work
Keywords: childcare policy
family policy
low income
mothers
poverty
immigrants
government policy making
provisioning
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2010
Abstract: This research examines how childcare policy in Ontario, Canada assists and constrains low-income urban women’s strategies of provisioning for their children. Childcare policy refers to the range of programs that assist families in reconciling paid work and parenthood. In Ontario, Canada, these programs include childcare fee subsidies, tax deductions, parental leave policies, child benefits/allowances and a program regulating live-in caregivers. Provisioning is used to capture an array of daily work-related activities (e.g. paid, unpaid and caring labour) that mothers perform to ensure their children’s survival and well-being. The qualitative study, based on individual semi-structured interviews with 20 low-income mothers living in an urban community, found that women carry out various activities in provisioning for their children. Some of these are familiar and visible activities such as providing domestic caring labour, engaging in the labour market, and undertaking volunteer work in the community. Others are less visible tasks such as sustaining their health and that of their children, making claims/asserting their rights, and ensuring safety. Low-income urban mothers provision under numerous constraints. A continuous shortage of money and childcare issues are at the core of these constraints. The study also found that the mothers encounter a variety of barriers in the community, such as a limited availability of social and community services and a high level of violence/criminal activity in their neighbourhoods. Issues related to poor health, an inadequate diet, or the necessity of caring for children with special needs further constrain women’s lives. Limited English language skills, racial barriers, and the struggles of adapting to a new country add to the multi-dimensional barriers facing low-income urban mothers. The research indicates that mothers use a variety of strategies to counter these barriers; however, these strategies cost women in terms of their time as well as their physical, mental and emotional energy. Childcare policy assists to a certain extent by providing some support to low-income mothers. Enhancements to the existing policies have potential benefits; however, they are like patches on a leaky bucket. Ultimately, the bucket needs to be replaced with a new way of envisioning family responsibilities, work and childcare.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19034
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work - Doctoral theses

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