When senior reporter Naomi Schalit began her nine months of research for our series on Maine’s single parents in poverty, one of her first stops was Isabel Sawhill’s office at the Brookings Institution. You’ll find many quotes from Sawhill in Schalit’s five-part series; here is the complete interview transcript.
Single Parents in Poverty
I have been a reporter for 34 years and this was the hardest story I have ever written. People didn’t want to talk to me. They didn’t want to give me “fodder for woman-blaming.” That was the response I heard, over and over, as I tried to set up interviews for my story about the dramatic rise in the percentage and number of Maine children born to single mothers — and the consequences of that rise.
Part 1 of our in-depth series about the dramatic change in the Maine family with nearly half of all births in the state born to mothers who are not married.
Part 2: The story of one single mother speaks to the struggles shared by many single parents in Maine. “Every week’s the same,” she said. “I’m always broke. The electric, internet, diapers, toiletries, food when we run out of my food card…”
Part 3: Veteran teachers and school officials are on the front lines of the crisis of the growth of children coming from poor families, many with just one parent at home. Their experiences show the impact of the changing face of the Maine family.
Part 4: The story of the fathers who are rarely there. Interviews with men at the Maine State Prison who have one or more children with women to whom they are not married.
Removing the obstacles to school and work helps struggling single mothers escape the trap they’re in
Part 5: Is there a solution to the single-parent crisis? Not an easy one, say the experts and the people who try to help single mothers and their children. But we show you how they are trying.
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