Social Welfare Policy & Services

  1. Explain the political, social, economic and organizational factors that influence policy formulation and implementation. Define the three key values associated with distributive justice.
  2. Ideology and values play an integral part in the social welfare policy conversation. What is ideology? Why does it matter? What are the two main ideologies and political perspectives, according to Gilbert and Terrell? What are the five ideological and political perspectives, according to Blau and Abromovitz. Explain them.
  3. A. Benefits can be provided in the form of vouchers, cash, or in-kind (goods or services). Where would you place these three types of benefits on the personal freedom to social control continuum? Explain your answer. B. Provide examples (TWO for each) of social welfare policy benefits provided in vouchers, in cash, and in-kind. 
  4. Explain the difference between a residual and institutional view of the role of social welfare policy. Which view is preferred by those with an individual vs. collectivist perspective on social welfare policy provision? 
  5. A. Explain the difference between universal and means-tested social welfare programs. Provide an example of each type of policy. B. Provide TWO arguments for means-tested programs and TWO arguments for universal programs. 
  6. David Ellwood (1988, in Poor Support, Chapter 2) describes three “helping conundrums” that are inherent in all social policies that aim to help the poor: (a) the security-work conundrum, (b) assistance-family structure conundrum, and the (c) targeting-isolation conundrum. (1) Explain what he means by a conundrum generally. (2) Select ONE of these conundrums and explain what he means and why it is a conundrum. 
  7. A. The Official Poverty Line Measure (OPM) is calculated as the cost of a thrifty food basket multiplied by 3. (1) What was the rationale for this calculation when it was originally created? (2) Why might this calculation no longer be a valid measure of a family’s needs? 

B. The Official Poverty Measure (OPM) only includes cash income in its measures of a family’s resources. (1) Why is this a problem for understanding the effects of anti-poverty programs?

  1. What are FOUR important immigration trends over the last 40 years? How have these changes contributed to increasing anti-immigrant sentiment among some in the US?
  2. The budget proposals (fiscal year 2018-2019) from the House and Senate Republicans included converting several entitlement programs, such as Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps), to block grants to the states. What is the difference between these two types of funding? [Entitlements and Block grants]. What is one argument in favor of block grants? What is an argument against? 
  3. Social welfare policy is complicated, macro and often times uncomfortable for practitioners to relate to. But it is very clear that policy and practice are intertwined, connected, “married” and relevant to the social work field.

a. List two significant lessons learned from the course thus far. 
b. What do you understand differently about these two lessons/topics/facts?
c. Have they influenced your practice or your interest in advocacy? How?
d. Of the topic covered thus far in the course/syllabus which one would you be interested in learning more about?