Since the early 1990s, liberal welfare regimes have begun to treat lone parents as workers rather than as carers. This has happened in conjunction with an ongoing 'moral panic' about the need to develop policies to invest in children, and to protect them from adult worlds. The purpose of this article is to analyse contradictions within and between these strands of policy in two liberal welfare states - Australia and the UK. The article argues that recent welfare-to-work policies in both countries bring into sharp relief the contradictions inherent in assumptions that welfare states make about the agency of lone parents as workers and carers, and of children as incompetent.
- lone parents