This article presents African American adolescent girls' views of welfare and welfare reform at the cusp of welfare legislation in 1996. Interview data from a random sample of poor and low-income families indicate that adolescents have a limited knowledge of basic welfare rules. Low-income girls see welfare as an important safety net, yet they also have negative views of welfare recipients and the effects of welfare on recipients. The vast majority express agreement with work requirements, and about half believe that a discontinuation of welfare would change adolescent sexual and childbearing behaviors. These results raise the possibility that adolescents are responding to the rhetoric and "signals" of welfare reform; alternatively, they may simply be expressing typical adolescent egocentrism and optimism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)