Analysis of a Current Social Welfare Policy:
For the first paper in this course, you will have the opportunity to become experts on a particular social welfare policy issue. This isn't submitted until the last week of Module 4, but it is important that you begin working on this paper. To begin, you will select a social welfare policy to research and analyze in greater depth. Essentially, one will select a social issue, the legislation passed and/or policy(ies) developed to address the social problem, and analyze the policy(ies) as it/they relate to the problem. Finally, you must propose an alternative to the policy. This assignment helps you critically evaluate social work literature in an organized, coherent manner. The course materials and Web sites are a good source of information for an array of topics. The following outline should guide your paper:
Overview of the Policy - Provide a concise description of the policy. What social problems does it attempt to address? 1
Historical Context - What is the historical background of this policy? 2
Economic and Political Context - What economic and political forces have influenced the development of this policy? 3
Manifest and Latent Functions - What are the functions of the policy that people observe or expect and what functions are not intended or recognized? 4
Current Debate - What arguments have been made for and against this social policy? What has been said by politicians, interests groups, intended beneficiaries, social policy experts? 5
Ideology and Values - What ideological and values perspective have framed this debate? In view of you own ideological perspective on this issue, what recommendations would you make?
General relief programs
Overview of the Policy
The federal welfare reform legislation that became law in the summer of 1996 will return portions of the federal safety net to the states, highlighting the importance of sources of assistance for low-income individuals and families that are administered and funded at the state or local level. Among the most important of these is the group of programs known collectively as General Assistance (GA). GA encompasses a widely varying set of assistance programs that share two defining characteristics. They are funded and administered entirely by the state, county, and/or locality in which the particular program operates. And they provide benefits to low-income persons who are not eligible for federal assistance. As such they are the last resort for government assistance for many in need. This brief provides an overview of the nation's GA programs as they existed in the summer of 1996 with three purposes in mind: to gauge the extent to which persons no longer eligible for federally funded programs under the new legislation might be assisted through existing state and local programs; to provide a baseline against which to measure changes states may make to their GA programs in light of the new policy environment; and to trace how the GA landscape has already changed since the last comprehensive survey conducted in 1992. The message is clear. In only 12 states do current GA programs provide assistance to all low-income persons and families that fall through the gaps in the federal safety network: While this could change as states respond to the federal reforms, GA coverage is now more restricted and its benefit levels are almost universally lower in real terms than in 1992. General Relief (GR) is a Los Angeles County program for individuals, or families who do not qualify for any other welfare programs. This includes most legal immigrants. Able-bodied adults must work or participate in other programs that show that people are participating. The program designed to help recipients prepare for jobs. People with substance...
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