This course surveys the history of social welfare policy, services, and the social work profession. It explores current social welfare issues in the context of their history and the underlying rationale and values that support different approaches. Emphasis is placed on major fields of social work service such as: income maintenance, health care, mental health, child welfare, corrections, and services to the elderly. Analytic frameworks with regard to social welfare policies and services are presented. These frameworks identify strengths and weaknesses in the current social welfare system with respect to multiculturalism and diversity; social justice and social change; behavioral and social science theory and research; and social work relevant promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs and services in relations to the diverse dimensions (including ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation).
Social Welfare Policy will provide students with an understanding of state social welfare policies and the impact they have on special populations, particularly those in poverty. In addition, students will learn the theoretical bases for social welfare policies and analyze them from sociological, economic, political, and human service perspectives. We will examine the theory, structure, and policies of state welfare agencies as well as the lived experiences of the poor and near-poor. This class will be framed around a number of key questions, and as we approach each of these questions, students will:
1. Examine the theoretical roots and foundations of social welfare policies (e.g., How are social welfare policies formed?)
2. Analyze types of social welfare policies that address poverty (e.g., How do social welfare policies address poverty?)
3. Understand types social welfare policies directed toward nutrition, healthcare, and families (e.g., How do social welfare policies address other social needs?)
4. Investigate how social policies impact children, the elderly, the mentally ill, women, ethnic minorities, immigrants, and gay/lesbian individuals (e.g., How do social welfare policies impact particular populations?)