Defining the phrase welfare dependency from a feminist perspective offers a way to understand how the rhetoric around the use of this phrase continues to legitimize current changes in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) while simultaneously diverting the public's attention from the real issues of poverty of and discrimination against women. This article includes a detailed definition of welfare dependency, a brief history of its usage, and a reconceptualization of women's use of AFDC on a long-term basis. This reconceptualization expands on international dependency theory and reframes dependency as interdependency that builds on women's strengths, women's rights, and women's role in the public and private spheres. Specifically, it calls for a research and practice focus on understanding the daily lives of individuals and groups of women who receive AFDC on a long-term basis in an effort to understand women's strengths, situations, and needs.

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