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Australian governments along with other western countries have made significant changes to the welfare system with a focus on encouraging sole parents on social security payments to move into paid work. This paper reports on in-depth interviews with 48 sole parents about their experiences with the welfare-to-work process and with a range of other services. Although parents reported some positive encounters, they also described a range of negative experiences, including how they needed to repeatedly prove their entitlement to help, leaving them feel as if they were undeserving of support. The study has demonstrated that it is often the most vulnerable parents who feel under close scrutiny and who have to work extra hard to get the help they need. These experiences can also see them disengaging from services. The findings show how the current policy environment adds to the complexity of sole parents' lives reinforcing their disadvantage.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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