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Single-Parent Family Structure and Children

The topic of this presentation is the effects of lower-income single-parent mothers on their children's educational achievements, with the focus on AFDC families.

Before discussing the effects of the single-parent family structure on the children, it is important to have a general profile of an AFDC family. Therefore, the class will have a clear picture of the impact of the family on its children's educational achievements.

AFDC, which stands for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, is a subsidy that is almost entirely devoted to single mothers. In 1983 (the latest official statistics available), single mothers constituted 75 percent of all AFDC mothers. In this group of single mothers, 45 percent are divorced or separated, while 30 percent had babies out of wedlock (Popenoe, 1996, p. 26). According to David Popenoe, who provided the statistic in this article, more recent data from the government would probably reveal a higher percentage of mothers with out of wedlock children (Popenoe, 1996, p. 26).

To qualify for this subsidy, she must not be working nor be married to a man who is working ("Babies making," 1993, p. A27-A28). For a single mother with two children, the subsidy is about $580 a month. Statistics have shown that more than 40 percent of the never-married mothers with young children who started receiving AFDC before they turned 25 have remained on the welfare list for nine or more years (Duncan, Hill, & Hoffman, 1988, p. 468).


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