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Including low-income women with children: Program and policy directions

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Research Report
Scruby, Lynn & Rapaport Beck, Rachel
Publication Date: 
12 Sep 2007

Excerpts from the report: This report examines information on the issues that affect the health and well-being of low-income women with children, their families and the communities in which they live as well as several of the key policy implications of these findings and recommendations for action. This qualitative research project draws on principles from feminist and participatory action research methodology. A total of nine focus group interviews were conducted at four Family Resource Centres (FRCs) located in two urban communities in Winnipeg and two rural communities in Eastern Manitoba. Fifty-six low-income women and 29 FRC service providers participated in these interviews. The study findings are descriptions of women's experiences and concerns about the social and health service programs that directly influence their health and their economic and social well-being. Themes addressed in this study include access to health and social services, housing, childcare, food security, education, and the value of resource centre service providers and programs in the lives of low-income women in both rural and urban communities. This report highlights the central role of FRCs for low-income women and their families and the need to strengthen and support related programs. However, these centres cannot address all of the needs of low-income women and as such this report also highlights the importance of transforming existing social policy and related programs. Several policy implications have emerged from these findings as well as recommendations for action. There are 21 recommendations in 4 categories: - Improving Programs and Services - Strengthening Public Resources - Increasing Public Awareness - Building Partnerships This report is intended to inform policy makers about the impact of existing programs and services on the lives of low-income women and their families. The authors of this report would also like to convey the necessity for policy makers and program planners to include women as active participants in the change process. Most importantly, this research is intended to be a resource to the study participants to become more empowered citizens through the development of locally-based social action initiatives.