The Treaders are a working-poor African American family living in inner- city Albany. June and Lester Treader have been married for 13 years. They have four children. Vicky was the oldest and was 11 years old at the start of the study. Luanne, was 7 years old. Both Luanne and Vicky attended an elementary school walking distance from their apartment. Shauna, the youngest daughter, was 3 years old. June enrolled her in a federally funded preschool program during the second year of the study. Evan, the youngest of the Treaders, was born in August of 1998.
Lester has a GED (general equivalency diploma). June dropped out of school, the same school where Vicky attended middle school, at the end of her eighth-grade year. She returned to an adult literacy class so she could "pick up on her readin'." June stated that her goal was to get her GED and start a day care because she liked working with children.
Lester's family lives in New York city. June's family, her mother, father, and siblings, live in the same neighborhood as the Treaders. June grew up in an apartment a few blocks from where she now lives. The Treaders have a close network of family and friends in Albany.
The major occupations held by people in the community include retail trade, administrative support occupations, service occupations, and health services. Lester and June Treader fall into these categories. Lester was a plumber and more recently went to trade school to be an electrician. June holds a nurse's aide certificate. She has also worked as a school bus aide and as a housekeeper at a local motel. June's parents also reside in this area and fall into the general employment patterns of the neighborhood. June's mother worked as a housekeeper at the local hospital for 30 years. She rode the bus to work every day. June's father does construction work. Though June was born in this neighborhood, the Treaders have close family who live in the southern states and Vicky and her grandmother take an annual bus trip to visit these relatives.
Up the cement front steps of their stoop and through an unlit entrance was the way into the Treaders' second-floor apartment. In front of the apart