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Single Mothers and the Use of Government Assistance

Whether raising one, two, or more children, single parenting is a job in itself.  Single mothers who are financially unable to support their children may need temporary assistance from the government.  Utilizing government assistance can be a stepping stone for some single mothers, but for some single mothers it can become a way of life.

Single mothers who choose to seek employment, get an education, or both, help themselves become self-sufficient.  As a single mother of three, I was tired of being on public assistance.  After my youngest child turned five in 1998, I went out and found a full-time job.  I was able to generate more income in my household.  Three years after that, I began to experience more financial stability, and as a result, I needed little and then no assistance at all.  Now, in 2011, I am getting a college education.  In two years, I plan to have a degree in mental health.  This will help promote job stability and more money.

In contrast, single mothers who choose to remain on the system may never experience better opportunities.  I have a high school friend, Jenny who now has eight children.  Each time one of her kids would get close to school-age, she would have another baby.  Having these children has made it difficult, and sometimes an excuse for her, not to seek employment or get an education.  Jenny has tried working jobs in the past.  Whenever the government started to cut her benefits due to employment, she would quit her job to get her benefits back.  She is always lacking the financial means for their household.  My friend's dependence on the system has called for other government aid, such as food pantries, United Way, Salvation Armies, and emergency utility programs.  She will more than likely be on the system for a very long time.

For many years, government assistance was and still is the means of support for many single mothers.  Government assistance is supposed to be used for temporary relief for single mothers until they financially get on their feet.  Consequently, there are single mothers who utilize the system for their benefit, and they become self-sufficient single mothers.  And the single mothers who choose not to work or get and education continue to abuse the system

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