The gentrification of child support enforcement services, 1950-1984

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The American child support enforcement program exemplifies the gentrification of a traditional public welfare initiative that was initially designed for the poor. This analysis tracks the divergent approaches to enforcing support for women who received welfare and women who did not, through the mid-1980s. It then describes the movement for clientele unification. This unification movement was driven from the bottom up, with middle-class, grassroots organizations demanding change. They found a particularly receptive audience of women politicians and a Reagan administration seeking a second term in office. The clientele merger altered the fundamental character of the child support enforcement program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-604
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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