Assisting Low-income Single Mothers in Becoming Self-sufficient: An Instrumental Case Study

Assisting Low-income Single Mothers in Becoming Self-sufficient: An Instrumental Case Study

Author: 
Ruby E. Powell
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to provide insight into the strategies used by former Illinois Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (AFDC/TANF) recipients to become independent of governmental assistance. Study participants were former low-income single mothers defined as self-sufficient and independent of the Illinois ADC/TANF system for a minimum of 24 months. A pilot study provided validation of the interview questions (Appendix A) and was included in the final analysis. The research findings indicated participants were successful in becoming self-sufficient from support and motivation of family members and not because of services offered by the State of Illinois Department of Human Services as Administrators of the TANF. The implications for Human Services leadership include additional social work services to assess individual needs of TANF recipients and caseworkers assisting social workers to keep the caseloads of social workers manageable.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation primarily to the hundreds of thousands of women who were formerly low-income single mothers that have managed to achieve self-sufficiency; I also dedicate this dissertation to the low-income single mothers that are still struggling to provide for their children and families. I cannot say enough to thank all of my encouragers during these years of intense study. Your prayers, words of encouragement, jokes, offers of help, etc. helped me to accomplish what at times seems un-accomplishable. Unfortunately, this space is not big enough to thank everyone name by name. To my natural parents, R.D. Roberson and Mattie Williams, that gave me life and taught me tenacity. To my father-in-love, Porter C. Powell and mother-in-love, Elouise Powell (may you continue to rest in heaven) ~ thank you for accepting me and loving me like I was your own daughter. To my spiritual parents, Drs. John and Jo Ann Long, that continually feed me my faith. I feel blessed to have three sets of parents that love me and taught me steadfastness. I will never forget the many, many life lessons! To my incredible, wonderful, loving, supportive husband, Minister Anthony V. Powell that saw my potential and helped me to finish this race especially during days, weeks, and months when I wanted to quit before I got to the finish line. Thank you for always keeping me focused on the bigger picture of the future that is ahead of me. I could write an entire chapter dedicated to you. To the Tribe of Powell: my gifted, talented, and selfless children, Adya Monique (you have seen me through two graduate degrees), Kasiya Janae, Nathan Joseph Anthony, and Jonathan Christian. I cannot thank you enough for sacrificing some of the quality times that you wanted to spend with me because you recognized the value of what I was trying to accomplish. To my siblings, friends, church family, and academic colleagues ~ you all made this journey worthwhile. I am glad I did not disappoint you!
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge my committee for all of the dedicated time that you took to review and re-review my document. Dr. Sheila Vinson, my committee chair, thank you for talking me off the ledge so many times. Dr. Marcia (Marty) Hill, your intensive feedback was invaluable and helped me to realize that I had what it took to get this done. Dr. Paula Young, thank you for staying the course throughout these years that I have been working on this process. I want to thank the 11 former low-income single mothers that have achieved what so many others have desire to achieve. Your babies are proud of you. Thank you for arranging and rearranging your schedule to accommodate my interview. Last but not least thank you also to “The Doctors” ~ Baker, Stewart, Crushon, and Morgan for your diligence to push through the processes.