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Abstract

Noting the incidence of battered women on welfare, lawmakers passed the Family Violence Option (FVO), which allows states to offer waivers from welfare program requirements. Assumptions were made that many women would seek relief under the FVO. However, reports indicate that less than 5 percent of welfare recipients are receiving waivers. This paper presents the findings from a qualitative study that sought to explore the experiences of 29 battered women with the welfare system and the FVO in New York State. Their experiences suggest that changes in FVO screening process are necessary to fully implement the program in the way legislators intended.

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