Remember the Children

Mothers Balance Work and Child Care Under Welfare Reform—Executive Summary
Bruce Fuller
University of California, Berkeley
Sharon Lynn Kagan
Columbia University
Gretchen L. Caspary
American Academy of Pediatrics
Nancy E. Cohen
University of California, Berkeley
Desiree French
Data Scientist
Laura Gascue
University of Southern California
Africa S. Hands
East Carolina University
James F. Mensing
Edgewood Institute


In the summer of 1998, we began to invite single mothers with preschool-age children—all entering new welfare programs—into a four-year study. Our premiere aim was to learn how the upbringing and development of children may be altered by the unprecedented push on their mothers to leave home, find childcare, and hold down a job.

This monograph details initial findings that stem from the Wave 1 data. The results are largely descriptive, offering a baseline picture for 948 families spread across three states. Some findings offer early warning signals. For example, we find that many youngsters are being placed in low-quality childcare settings We find high levels of social isolation and clinical depression among many women, sure indicators that their children's early development will be delayed

Welfare reform has brought results. But it's a work in progress. If cash assistance and family support programs are to lift this new generation of children out of poverty, much remains to be done. This report delineates key items for this unfinished agenda.

Suggested citationFuller, B., Kagan, S. L., Caspary, G. L., Cohen, N. E., French, D., Gascue, L., Hands, A. S., & Mensing, J. F. (2000, February). Remember the children: Mothers balance work and child care under welfare reform [Report]. Policy Analysis for California Education.