The Public Interest

The ideology of “family preservation”

Heather MacDonald

Spring 1994

CAN A SINGLE welfare mother who has been beating her children, or failing to feed and bathe them, be turned into a responsible parent as the result of a one-to-three month infusion of counselling, free food, cash, furniture, rent winchers, and housekeeping services—all at public expense? The federal government and over thirty states think so. They have all embraced the hottest new trend in child welfare policy known as “family preservation.”

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