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A two-year study of the views of Mexican-American women on welfare shows that many are confused by and suspicious of the welfare system, and participate mainly to get health benefits for their children.

The second and final report from the project, which drew its findings from "focus groups'' involving 76 Mexican-American women in four low-income communities, was released late last month by the National Council of La Raza's Poverty Project.

The study says many of the participants "face a choice between working at low-paying jobs with no health-care benefits for their children, or turning to welfare in order to provide their children with Medicaid.''

Their "experiences with low-quality training and work-experience programs had left them frustrated and angry,'' it says.

Besides promoting health care, child care, and employment policies that "make work pay,'' the report calls for welfare policies that include "specific strategies for woman-maintained families'' and focus on retraining and the creation of jobs.

Copies of "For My Children: Mexican-American Women, Work, and Welfare,'' are available for $7.50 each from the Publications Department, National Council of La Raza, 810 First St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20002.

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