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How welfare-to-work requirements impact on single parents' volunteer activities
journal contributionposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kay Cook, B Ward, Hayley MckenzieHayley Mckenzie, Andrew NobletAndrew Noblet, E Bodsworth
This paper seeks to describe the volunteering experiences of female single parents engaged in Australia's welfare-to-work program. Interviews were conducted with 26 single parents who had been required to increase their hours of work as a condition of the Centrelink policy introduced in 2006. To analyse the data, the technique of rich point analysis was employed which identified three key concepts central to the women's experiences. These concepts included the nature of a decent job, notions of reciprocity, and a seeming hierarchy of suitable jobs promoted within the welfareto- work policy. How volunteer activities fit within these constructs was the focus of the investigation. The analysis revealed that the types of paid jobs women obtained were less fulfilling and flexible than their volunteer activities. and gave them less sense of contributing to society, Further, in most cases prior to welfare reform, these single mothers were volunteering in their children's school and as such, both the school's capacity and intergenerational role modelling of volunteering were depleted.