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response from field-tested Payne materials

Posted By: Jan Lewis on January 2, 2007
As a nurse educator and mental health consultant to the Nurse-Family Partnership, a home visitation program for first-time, low-income mothers, I discovered and introduced Payne's framework and materials to nurses working with low income families in Colorado about 4 years ago. Many nurses have read Payne's book and also attended a workshop entitled "Bridges out of Poverty," and have identified the concepts shared by Payne as highly useful in challenging their (sometimes) negative attitudes about the poor, and in giving them specific tools for working with parents who want to create a better future for their children.

The authors may want to attend a Payne workshop in order to gain a broader view of Payne's work. One of the most useful aspects of the workshop for middle class partcipants, many of whom seem to hold the view that poverty is primarily a result of individual choices (i.e. people can escape poverty if they work hard and are sufficiently motivated), is the emphasis on the very thing the authors state Payne's perspective lacks -- that the "causes" of poverty include absence of human and social capital within the community, human exploitation, and political-economic structures. In contrast to the author's implication that Payne stereotypes the poor in a negative way, one leaves a Payne workshop sensing that the poor have great strengths and that we should all be working in our communities to help remove the environmental barriers that keep many from rising out of poverty.
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 response from field-tested Payne materials by Jan Lewis on January 2, 2007
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