Prof. Esther Hertzog gives a talk on the vulnerable situation of motherhood in the Israeli welfare state.
This talk will examine the role of state authorities, especially the welfare system and the courts, in undermining disadvantaged women's motherhood. State authorities undermine mothers' custodial rights over their offspring, especially through the discourse on 'child's wellbeing' and 'parental capability', blaming mothers for physically endangering and neglecting their children. It will be argued that while the formal discourse emphasizes the value of biological motherhood, yet in practice underprivileged mothers' custody over their offspring can be easily expropriated. Single parent mothers are a susceptible group from which babies can be taken away to adoption and their children taken to welfare institutions.
The research on 'single parent mothers' ignores the phenomenon of expropriating disadvantaged mothers' parenthood by State authorities as well as the coercive means that are employed in the process. This talk will propose a critical analysis of the connection between "children at risk" discourse and disadvantaged women's motherhood.