Making Poor Mothers Fungible: The Privatization of Foster Care
Barbara Bennett Woodhouse
Emory University School of Law; University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law
CHILD CARE AND INEQUALITY: RE-THINKING CAREWORK FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH, Routledge Press, Forthcoming 2002
Woodhouse's chapter in this book explores the history in America of publicly funded fostering as a response to family disruption. It examines the impact of new federal legislation that radically shifts the emphasis away from the support of biological families (through fostering) to a policy favoring dissolution of disrupted families and the creation of new families (through adoption). Her chapter analyzes the positives and negatives of this new policy and concludes that, while the objective of assuring that all children have a safe and permanent home is a worthy one, the new reforms run a severe risk of treating women engaged in mothering - particularly poor women and women of color - as fungible commodities that can be interchanged without cost to child, parent, or society.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 25, 2002
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