Editor's note: This post is the second in a series of three exploring the issue of asset building and single motherhood. Haley Eagon, a current senior at Williams College in Massachusetts, interned with the Asset Building Program this summer and authored these posts. Read part one here.
Single mothers face unique obstacles in their quest to raise families and live fulfilling lives themselves. According to a as stated in this New York Times piece by Jason DeParle (see an interview with him in our office here), single mothers lack both a second income, and “a second set of parenting hands.” While these challenges are significant for many single mothers, additional systematic disadvantagesin the form of financial instability, lack of access to affordable and quality child care, and obstacles to utilizing public benefits also play a role. When considering the confluence of these factors, we can begin to see single motherhood not as inherently dysfunctional, but instead, a life made more challenging by obvious limitations on capacity and current social policy. Even targeted anti-poverty programs such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) can actually confound efforts on the part of low-income parents to get out of poverty.