IPR Policy Brief - The family-work project: working lone mother families and their children

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Abstract

The family-work project is a longitudinal study of the experience of lone mothers and their children, following a move into work supported by tax credits, after a period of time receiving out of work benefits. The aim was to examine the impact of paid work – and for some, job loss – on family life and living standards over time.

Conducted by Professors Tess Ridge and Jane Millar, the study explored how a cohort of lone mothers and their children negotiated the everyday challenges of low-income employment over a period of five years (2003-2008). The project found that most women maintained some form of employment and were able to negotiate some of the most important years in family life and child development. However, in some cases, women’s experiences were marked by stress and depression, linked to financial insecurity and debt.

The research showed that the 'family work project' was an endeavour which actively involved the family as a whole. In particular, children played a key role in sustaining their mothers in work, by taking on household chores, managing their own care and, in some cases, the care of younger siblings. Although children appeared to take on these roles willingly, both children and their mothers were sometimes concerned about what was required of children to keep the working household going.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Bath
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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