e-mail us

Cover story

Those with child care, health care are more likely to keep jobs

NCR Staff

Groundwork for a Just World is a faith-based, 5,000-member social change organization that operates primarily in Michigan and Indiana. During the past two years the group embarked on a study of welfare reform similar to that undertaken by Network, the national Catholic social justice lobby. Groundwork, working independently but cooperating with Network’s study, produced the Michigan Assemblies Project, called MAP.

The project, coordinated by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Barbara Beesley, called together poor working people in 11 assemblies across Michigan. The project learned that those able to remain in jobs were the ones with “fewer problems with transportation, child care and access to job-related health care.”

MAP reported in November that longer-term employment “did not mean families were self-sufficient or able to move their children out of poverty.” Even among employed respondents who had been in the same job 24 months or more, one-third are making less than $7 an hour, Beesley said.

A longer employment record does not mean a greater likelihood of health coverage. Whether poor families are “unemployed, weakly linked or strongly attached to employment,” one in five has no health coverage.

The Michigan Assemblies Project was funded by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters, the Maria Anna Brunner Fund, Michigan Fair Budget Action Coalition, Michigan Women’s Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and individual donors.

National Catholic Reporter, April 30, 1999