SOCIAL WELFARE & POLICY Social Welfare and Policy I
Lesson 1 Discussion
On one page, discuss your prior knowledge of social work. Based on the reading,
SOCIAL WELFARE & POLICY Social Welfare and Policy I
Lesson 1 Discussion
On one page, discuss your prior knowledge of social work. Based on the reading, is there any field or fields of social work that you would like to engage in?
Social Welfare and Policy II
Lesson 1 Discussion
Discussion Guidelines: Approximately one page (250 words).
Discuss the importance of the definition of a social problem. What social problems do you see happening in your area?
Lesson 2 Readings and Videos
York, R. (2018, Feb 15). The Nature of Policy Practice in Social Work. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBAKfBQx_F4
Hanauer, A. [Tedx Talks]. (2015, May 15). The Influence of Policy. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBRxl3Klhj0
Lesson 2 Discussion
Discussion Guidelines: Approximately one page (250 words).
After watching “The Influence of Policy”, presented by Amy Hanauer, write a reflection on your thoughts of what she spoke about.
Lesson 2 Assignment
Describe the role of a social worker in social welfare and policy and the importance of social welfare and policy for social work practice.
Your paper should be 1-2 pages in length and completed in APA format. [Type here]
Social Welfare I
Chapter 1 What is Social Work?
Chapter 2 The Beginnings of Social Work
Chapter 3 History of Welfare during Colonial Times
Chapter 4 Colonial Life Continued
Chapter 5 Indoor Relief
Chapter 6 Social Welfare in the late 1800s
Chapter 7 The Early 20th Century and Welfare
Chapter 8 Classical Sociologists and Their Impact on Ideology in the United States
Chapter 9 Society and How It Changes and Affects Social Welfare Policy
Chapter 10 Application of Welfare Policy
What is Social Work
Questions that most people have regarding social work are the following: Just what is social work? What does it mean to be a social worker? What are social workers trying to accomplish?
Social workers have many different types of jobs that help people and communities. The following is a typical list of things social workers do. Leon Ginsberg (1998) wrote a great book on Careers in Social Work. In Ginsberg book the author lists some of the jobs for social workers. They are as follows:
1. Working in Government Agencies such as Jobs and Family Services.
2. Working in Mental Health areas such counseling.
3. Working in the Health field such as hospitals and nursing homes.
4. Working in Children Services such as foster care, adoptions, and children homes.
5. Working in Adult and Juvenile Detention centers and in probation departments.
6. Advocating for social policy at the government level, local, state and federal.
Social work is a practice profession meaning that it is typically a hands-on profession. It is not sociology, psychology or Psychiatry. But social work does use the scientific information gathered by Sociologists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists to help individuals whatever the problem may be. A social worker is professionally educated and trained to help people who live in a state of stress, who are disadvantaged, disabled, abused, or have mental conditions (Ginsberg, 1998). The goal is to hopefully help someone to become more emotional and psychologically stable after seeing a social worker or just helping a person solve a problem. There is a specific methodology that social workers are trained to use based on scientific knowledge. It is called the generalist practice of social work.
The authors Cox, Tice and Long (2019) state in their book titled: “Introduction to Social Work” that social work is a profession because it requires specialized, formal training and certification.” To be considered a social worker one needs at least a bachelor’s degree and, in some states, a master’s degree (MSW). Individuals can work assisting social workers with an associate degree.
Social work degree programs are regulated by state licensing boards. Many Colleges and Universities for Bachelor and Master’s degree programs should adhere to the standards for social work illustrated by CSWE the Counsel on Social Work Education. This accreditation body makes sure that a college or university meets universal standards across the board regarding Generalist Social Work Practice.
There are nine major Social Work Competencies put forwarded by CSWE for all bachelor’s degree programs. Cox, Tice and Long (2019) summarizes these Competencies and they are as follows:
1. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
2. Engage in diversity and difference in practice
3. Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justices
4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
5. Engage in policy practice
6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
7. Assess with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
9. Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
All these expectations are met within a degree program. Students usually take courses in Social Welfare, Research methodology, Human Behavior and the social environment, Sociology, Psychology, Race and Ethnicity, Ethics and many other related fields of study.
Social work is a helping profession. There are high standards and expectations of training put forward by the Council on Social Work Education. Social Workers work in variety of settings. To be a social worker one needs at least a bachelor’s degree. One can work as an assistant to a social worker with an associate degree.
The beginnings of Social Work
Social work came about because human needs could not always be met by the individual. Human needs generally include the following:
1. Must have food to survive
2. Clothing to keep warm in the winter
3. Shelter from the environmental elements
4. A safe environment to live
5. Healthy emotional relationships. Research indicates that children who do not receive love from their parents have lower levels of self-esteem and have a hard time demonstrating emotion to someone else later in life.
6. Having the opportunity to develop whatever innate characteristics exist. To make use of whatever one is born with. Without effective socialization more problems exist for the individual in terms of mental health, health in general and lower levels of self-esteem.
As a result of these needs there has been an ongoing debate as to what is the best way to address these needs that people have. The two extremes are 1. Having the government do everything and 2. Having individuals fend for themselves. Most societies have a combination of these two ideologies in place. But the argument as to what degree goes back centuries.
In the United States the philosophy of rugged individualism has been a powerful philosophy since colonial times. Emile Durkheim a famous classical sociologist of the 19th century in France used this term to describe certain societies. The philosophy is that everyone is on their own. It is a survival of the fittest position. The United States had historically advocated that the individual is responsible for their life situation. The other side of the argument is that not everyone has the same opportunity regarding their start in life. Some people are born with an advantage and some with a disadvantage. So, the question becomes who will help those who need help. There have been numerous methodologies utilized by societies to help people. They are as follows:
1. Mutual Aid: This probably is the oldest form of help. This is simply people helping people. Children taking care of their parents for example. Neighbors helping each other. Self-help groups also fit this category. This is okay until the problem becomes too massive. In modern times people do not have the time or the skills necessary to do all of this. But it is a method used and advocated by certain groups in society.
2. Charity-Philanthropy: This is when rich people and/or organizations who have money donate this money to help those in need. Many schools, orphanages, hospitals, and nursing homes were built with private donations. This will be discussed later but two organizations that emerge from the Charity-Philanthropy movement after the breakup of feudalism were the Charity Organization Societies and the settlement housing movement. The Charity Organization Societies had individuals who worked for them known as the friendly visitors. These visitors were mostly women who had money who would visit poor people and advise them on living. These women tried to get the poor people to have the same values as them. The friendly visitors were really some of the first social workers. Many people believed that the problem with poor people was their immorality and all the friendly visitors had to do was change the morality of the poor person.
The settlement housing movement rested on the belief that if the rich people or at least some of them would just move into poor areas that poor people would see how the rich lived and this would change the neighborhood. These people believed the environment played a big role in how people turned out. They wanted scientific research to support whatever decisions they made in reshaping the environment to help people. Thus, the beginnings of using the findings of sociology to implement change. Relying on science is a good thing but the difficulty with this movement is that the problem is so big that there is not a big enough pot of money or willing contributors to help out although social workers will take whatever is available to help people.
3. Public Welfare: This system goes all the way back to the English Poor Law of 1601 which we will discuss later. But public welfare started out with indoor relief that is providing care within institutions. This was extremely popular in the 17 and 18th century. This was done primarily at the local and state level until 1935 when major changes in the role of the federal government occurred.
4. Social Insurance: This is a category where taxes are collected from individuals (employees) and employers to finance government sponsored programs. Medicare, Workman’s Compensation, unemployment benefits, and Social Security fit this category. Many European countries had programs like this way sooner than the United States.
5. Social Services: This is a type of social work in which the social worker offers advice maybe in the terms of counseling if one has the license or providing information that the public needs such as public service announcements, family planning information, and even educational advice.
6. Universal Provision: The United States due to rugged individualism does not do this for many types of services. This is a provision in which services go to everyone such as the Center for disease information. People who advocate for a basic check of money to go to every individual would fit this category. Family allowances is what some countries provide. But again, with the rugged individualism this has never been popular in the United States.
The beginnings of social work were discussed including a discussion on the charity-philanthropy movement and the settlement housing movement. The six types of help were discussed in trying to address individual needs.
History of Welfare during Colonial Times
England passed the English Poor Law in 1601. People were moving into cities and they were poor, so poverty became more visible. There was not a large middle class as there is today. Middle class today is around 40 to 45 % of the population in the United States. In 1601 the middle class was only a small percentage of the population. You basically had the rich which was no more than 8 percent of the population and just about everyone else was poor. Political leaders became genuinely concerned with the migration of poor people coming into the cities. Therefore, the political leaders felt they had to do something. It was okay when poverty was not that visible but now that was all changing with city life emerging. So, England passed the English Poor Law of 1601 which made each city or village responsible for the poor and the elderly in their city or village. There was no role played by the federal government. The federal government did not collect taxes for this law. The English Poor Law of 1601 created the following regulations:
1. Justices in each parish at the local level were to appoint guardians over poor people. These justices would monitor the poor including where the poor could locate.
2. Every person who was able to work would be required to work.
3. Every person who owned a house would be locally taxed in order to pay for the provisions of the law.
4. If local funds could not meet the demands of the law, the justices had the power to get funds from other parishes if they had the money.
5. Those in charge of the poor would be appointed by the justices. Those in charge could commit poor children to be apprentices to learn a trade. A female child could be legally bound to the age of 21 and a man could be bound until the age of 24. A question that arose then and today is: Should the government, local or federal, have the power to remove poor children from a parent’s home and force them to work? Should the government have the power to force people to work or relocate if necessary?
6. If land were considered not valuable by the local government then the local government could erect houses on that land for poor workers.
7. Families were required by law to take care of parents and grandparents. This is before nursing homes.
These laws set in motion a philosophy of helping people less fortunate either by local government or the federal government that has been debated for 400 years. The question becomes: Who is responsible for being poor and who is responsible for helping the poor? Is it the individual’s fault or societies fault for being poor or a combination of both?
During colonial times in the United States the colonies brought with them the English Poor Law philosophy. The ideology of rugged individualism is at play here. Local government got involved in dealing with poor people only because poor people were getting in the way. From colonial times to the 1930’s the federal government was pretty much out of the process of helping poor people.
The following discussion on welfare in Colonial America will be taken from the book titled: From Poor Law to Welfare State by Walter I. Trattner (1999). Once people arrived here from Europe, they found out that life was extremely hard. Many were living in poverty. Each colony had deal with the widespread poverty. Again, there was no middle class, just rich and poor for the most part. People had to deal with the sick, the mentally ill, the blind, the elderly and poor people. The problem was massive. To deal with the problem the colonists brought the English Poor Law with them.
In fact, the colonies followed the English Poor law. Many levied local taxes to have funds to deal with the poor people. Families were required to take care of their own. When one could not be taken care of by the family then these individuals would be put in a private home in which those individuals would be paid. Sometimes the poor person would be auctioned off to somebody. Many times, local doctors would be paid by the town or parish to treat poor people.
Poor people if they did not have residency, could be expelled from that area or city. In many cases one had to be in an area for five years to be considered a resident. If you were poor and you chose not to work in the colonies you could be beaten or thrown in jail (Trattner, 1999).
For the Native Americans there really was no help. The Native Americans were forced to live on terrible land. If they were on a reservation, then the ruler of the reservation was usually corrupt. Blacks were viewed as children of Satan not entitled to the same rights as white people so even the poor laws did not apply to them (Trattner 1999). For those who were mentally ill there were no institutions to help during colonial times. Children could be forced to work as an apprentice and were not paid.
In summary, being poor in colonial times was difficult not that it is not difficult now. But the English Poor Law of 1601 was an attempt to do something about the poor people perhaps not so much out of concern for the poor but for the reason to keep them from just begging and hanging out on the street. The poor had to do something. And they could not just move around from community to community due to the residency requirement.
Colonial Life Continued
The following material is taken from the book titled: From Poor Law to Welfare State by Walter I. Trattner 1999. During the time period of the American Revolution there were many poor immigrants. There were many poor widows and orphans. Life expectancy was only in the 40’s. There was an increasing number of children being born out of wedlock. One-third to one-half of all recorded births were out of wedlock. The economy was terrible during the time of the American Revolution as well. There was illness and diseases such typhoid, malaria, scarlet fever, diphtheria, smallpox, measles and others. There was no cure for these. Funding to help these poor people came from local government only. It took up anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of their budgets (Trattner 1999, p. 31). Welfare was done only at the local level and by private charity. But the problem was massive, and the help could not cover the problem. Even George Washington who was imperfect stated the following in a letter: “Let the hospitality of the house, with respect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go away hungry. If any of this kind of people (poor people) shall be in want…supply their necessities…; and I have no objection to your giving my money in charity to the amount of forty or fifty pounds a year…What I mean by having no objection is that is my desire that it should be done (Trattner 1999, P. 33).” There were people trying to help. Poverty played a role in the logic of having an American Revolution.
Various religious denominations tried to help as well. The Quakers spent a lot of money helping poor people. Social Welfare was a joint effort of local governments and private groups during the colonial period. Religion played a major role in people feeling they had a moral obligation to help people in need. The Great Awakening movement in the 1700s, which was a religious revival movement, promoted individual responsibility but also promoted those who had the wealth to help those in need. One of the leading figures was George Whitefield who advocated giving to the poor. Benjamin Franklin even spoke about George Whitefield and gave money after listening to Whitefield speak.
Then came the Enlightenment movement during these colonial times. The Enlightenment movement emphasized the use of reason to comprehend anything. Religion to the strict followers of the Enlightenment was not necessary. The Enlightenment movement emphasized science to deal with poverty.
Those who were calling for an American Revolution tapped into the resentment poor people had toward England. The use of reason was emphasized that a new society could solve the problems of poverty. But the revolution did not solve the poverty problem. The use of the Poor laws was abandoned for the most part. States began assuming more responsibility for the poor but nothing at the national level yet. The National Government did not really get involved until the 1930’s and has been involved ever since.
The United States after the revolution did not have a national policy on how to deal with poor people. Europe did have national policies, but the United States has always emphasized that poverty is a local problem and you have the American ideology of rugged individualism that is still a dominant ideology today. The United States broke away from a strong central government. Therefore, state rights were emphasized. Also, the philosophy that poverty was a moral problem, not a government problem was dominant. The position was that if you could change a person’s moral character you could lift the person out of poverty.
In summary poor relief during the colonial times and during the times of the American Revolution was still conducted at the local level with a gradual shift to the states. Lack of moral attitudes was viewed as the main reason for poverty. However, there were religious movements that tried to sway people’s hearts to give to those who are in need. So, in colonial times there was a combination of private groups (religious) and local government who did the most in helping those in need.
The material for this chapter comes from the book titled: From Poor Law to Welfare State by William I Trattner (1999). After the American Revolution in the early 1800’s American saw a rise in industrialization. Poverty was increasing. American promoted the capitalist idea that having money was a right, that government should not intervene into the workings of the economy. Let the system work and whoever is rich is rich and whoever is poor is poor. This is known as laissez-faire economics. Rugged individualism was the standard and was considered the best for the economy. This is fine if the start for everyone is equal. It is not. There are people born into various social classes. To move from one social class to another is difficult but not impossible. The question is this: Does the system (government) have a role to play in trying to help deal with the unequal start in life that people have? It is an answer that government leaders have argued over since colonial times.
Many people like the sociologist Herbert Spencer believed that we should just let the poor die off—survival of the fittest. Adam Smith the economist who influenced the American economic system advocated that people who wanted to work could do so. There was a developing attitude of contempt for poor people, that all poor people are lazy and if they wanted to work, they could. That is still a dominate view today. This is not to say that there are no people who chose not to work. Poverty was still viewed as an individual moral problem. Only the person could get themselves out of poverty.
The growth of poverty in the 1800’s only got worse especially with the influx of poor immigrants from Europe particularly the Irish and German poor Catholics. In fact, according to Trattner (1999, p. 55) “in 1820, the annual report of New York’s Society for the Prevention of Pauperism listed emigrants to this city from foreign countries as the largest source of pauperism.” Immigrants who were not of the White Anglo Saxo protestant group known as (WASP) were generally viewed as inferior and something to be concerned about.
The view was by helping poor people you were only making the situation worse. That is still a dominant ideology today. Of course, there are always some who take advantage of the system but taking advantage of the system does not just occur with the lower class. People across all social classes take advantage of the system whether it is on their taxes or by some other means. The hope is that the majority do not take advantage of the system. There is research to indicate that the majority do not. By the way poorest people are white in the United States numerically speaking but not proportionally speaking.
As a result of the attitude of not helping the poor, at least on a government level, the accepted system of help at the state and local level was becoming more of an indoor relief type, that is institutional care, helping the disabled and people who could not care for themselves (Trattner, 1999). One of the first and biggest survey in looking at help for poor people that impacted early social welfare was the Yates Report in 1824. Yates was New York’s Secretary of State. Yates looked at the types of poor relief that existed. He mentions four main types of public relief used throughout the state of New York. They are as follows:
1. Institutional relief
2. Home relief
3. The contract system
4. Auction system
Institutional relief were institutions built to house poor people of all types including women, men, children, disabled, and the mentally ill all housed together. Home relief offered financial relief to those living in their own homes although it was not very much. The contract system occurred when those in positions of power would literally have poor people sign a labor contract with someone who could pay a wage. However, this system was abused, and the worker was taken advantage of. The Auction system occurred when poor people were literally auctioned off to well off individuals to work for them.
By analyzing these systems Yates offered his views on these types of relief. He then made recommendations on improving this early welfare system. (Trattner 1991, P. 58) in his book lists the recommendations.
1. No person able to work aged 18 to 50 shall be given public assistance.
2. Elderly, young people without parents, and the disabled shall have institutional relief.
3. Counties shall oversee these operations.
Therefore, in 1824 New York State Legislature passed the County Poorhouse Act (Trattner 1991, p. 58). This act created County Superintendents of the Poor. Two major shifts in welfare occurred with this act.
1. The responsibility of the poor moved to the county level.
2. The move toward institutional relief.
Examples of the move toward institutional relief are as follows:
1. Massachusetts in 1824 developed 83 almshouses which were institutions for poor people, then by 1839 Massachusetts had 180 of them, by 1860 they had 219 (Trattner 1999).
These almshouses were run many times by corrupt officials. And the care within these institutions was not that good. People within the institutions were not separated by age, illnesses, mental health, those with a criminal record, alcoholics and even the blind were all thrown together. The places were not very sanitary. As Trattner points out these places were viewed as social cemeteries (Trattner 1999, p. 60). The state of New York put together a committee in 1850 to study the conditions of these institutions. The committee found filthy conditions. People were poorly fed, poorly clothed, men and women beaten and elderly laying in their stench. “Common domestic animals are usually more humanely provide for than the paupers in some of these institutions,” the committee concluded (Trattner 1999, P 60).” Even orphans, the sick, pregnant women were all thrown together.
Before long moral crusaders started to write about these conditions. People like Charles Dickens in England and Dorothea Lynde Dix in the United States. In the mid 1800’s the moral crusaders lobbied states to remove children from these institutions and to remove the mentally ill and the physically handicapped and build institutions just for these individuals. One of the hardest working individuals to promote social welfare change was Dorothea Dix. She was one of the first advocates of social welfare change, a role that many social workers today assume.
Trattner, in his book from Poor Law to Welfare State (1999) offers one of the best analysis of Dorothea Dix and the role she played. The following if material taken from that text. Dorothea Dix received a good education and was a teacher. She developed a private school for young women and a free school for poor people. She wrote many books but in 1836 but broke down from exhaustion. She stayed that way until 1841. At that time, she was employed as a Sunday School teacher, teaching women inmates. This changed her life. She could not believe the mistreatment these women were receiving. So, she took on a mission and she never looked back. She took her case to the state level. She got the state to make larger facilities for poor mental health patients. She took her advocating approach to multiple states like Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. These were dangerous trips for a woman to be taking but it did not stop her. She traveled by train, stagecoach, wagon and in some cases by foot (Trattner 1999). Nothing could stop her except politicians. She thought if she presented the research the politicians would listen. She studied state coding regulations. She knew statistics. She did case studies. She was armed to take her message to the states. She alone was responsible for getting state legislators between 1843 and 1853 to develop state hospitals for mental patients in nine states (Trattner 1999, P. 66) and some throughout the world. She had traveled over 60,000 miles with no modern transportation system. She was able to get a bill introduced to Congress at the national level, but Congress would not act in 1848. This bill would provide land for mental institutions. The bill finally passed Congress in 1854. But President Pierce vetoed it saying: taking care of people is not the role of the Federal Government. The Federal Government’s role pretty much stayed that way until 1935.
While all of this was going on there was also a movement by Christians to help the poor but not through just giving the poor money but through moral example. That is to teach the poor moral virtue, that this would solve the poverty problem. These people believed in developing moral character. There was and still is the belief that poverty was the result of moral flaws. But there were some who believed and advocated that the environment also played a role for those in poverty. These two ideologies are still with today arguing that it is the individual’s fault or is it the environment one is in or is it both as previously stated.
Indoor relief came about due to the massive amount of people living in poverty. It was convenient to round up those on the streets and put them together in an institution with no separation of different ages or mental capacity or other factors. But individuals came along to help change this cruel system with people like Dorothea Dix and many others. Institutional relief is still with us in various capacities from this time period of the 1800’s. We will now look the late 1800’s regarding social welfare.
Social Welfare …