SW330 Social Welfare Policy & Programs

for FA 2004

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Social Welfare Policy and Programs

Fall 2004

Faculty:  Gary Bachman, Field Director

Office: MA225B

Office Hours: M 2-3pm, T&R 9am-12noon

Office Telephone (816) 584-6504

Faculty E-Mail:  gary.bachman@park.edu

Dates of Semester: August 23-December 19, 2004

Class days and times: M&F 12:25-1:40pm

Prerequisite: SW205 & Conditional or Full Admission to Social Work Major

Credit Hours: 3


University Mission Statement

The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.


Vision Statement

Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


Course Description:   This course introduces students to the major social welfare policies and programs of the United States today, and it examines the historical circumstances which gave rise to those social welfare programs and the social work profession.  Existing policies are critically examined and attention is given to methods by which social policies might be influenced to better meet human needs and promote social justice. 


Instructor’s Educational Philosophy:  Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities and threats to societies and the world’s most vulnerable populations.  The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all. 

It is vitally important that students and new graduates, regardless of their professional identity, be prepared to efficiently and critically consider their environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them.  This is as true in business, science, education and government service as it is in social work. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities, throughout their lives.  Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study.



SW330 Course Objectives:   It is expected that upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:


  1. Describe the historical foundation and evolution of current social welfare policies and programs.


  1. Identify the divergent values and philosophies that influence contrasting viewpoints on social welfare policies.


  1. Identify ways in which social policies impact social work practice and the ability to respond to needs.


  1. Identify strengths and limitations of current policies in the context of social and economic justice and responsiveness to populations-at-risk.


  1. Convey a basic understanding of the political and administrative processes of policy formation and methods by which policies may be influenced.


  1. Demonstrate the ability to engage in research related in a particular domain of social policy and critically examine the strengths and limitations of policies.


Course Textbooks:  


Social Welfare:  Politics and Public Policy 5th ed.   Dianna M. DiNitto   ISBN 0-205-29454-5

Essential Law for Social Workers:   Robert G. Madden  ISBN 0-231-12320-5

Note: A copy of each text is available on reserve in the McAfee Library.



Academic Honesty:  “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”


Plagiarism:  “… the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”


Attendance Policy: “Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH."  An Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.”   Regular classroom attendance is both expected and absolutely crucial in this course.  Beyond the negative impact that irregular or casual attendance will have on your comprehension and performance, every person has a vital role to play.


Late Submission of Coursework:   Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated.  In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically.  The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions. In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted.  Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day.  If you ever have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner.  Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.


Make up exams: Exams are given only on the date specified. Make-up exams will only be scheduled at the instructor’s prerogative under extreme circumstances. Students or an agent of the student must notify the instructor prior to the exam and must be prepared to submit documentation of the circumstances.


Course Assessment:    Further details on these assignments will be distributed in class.  Course objectives are noted in parenthesis.  Exams, Historical Analysis, Influencing Policy, Testimony, Policy in Practice, Policy Analysis Research / Term Paper. Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.


·        Exams: There will be two exams given during the semester.  A study guide will be provided by the instructor.


·        Historical Analysis:   Just about everyone has heard the expression “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”  For your first written assignment for this course:  use the course readings to focus on a specific aspect of social work practice and analyze how social work is and is not different today than it was 50 to 100 years ago. In writing your paper, be sure to:  Discuss both the ways in which social work practice has changed and not changed. Be sure to use an example to illustrate your argument (Focus on an aspect of social work practice, a particular modality of practice, or a problem area.) Discuss the social justice implications of what you conclude about the ways in which social work is and is not different.  The object of this assignment is to have you think and write systematically about the ways in which the profession of social work has or has not changed over the last 50 to 100 years.  Your paper should make a persuasive argument and use the readings effectively.   This is not a major research paper, so extensive references are unnecessary. Citations should be provided for direct quotations or statements of evidence.  Emphasis is on writing an organized, logical, coherent analysis. The paper will be evaluated on that basis. (CO1,2,3,5)


·        Influencing Policy:  Select one of the following three assignments.   Guidelines for letters will be distributed and discussed in class. (CO 3, 4, 5, 6).  Write a 500-word (maximum) editorial regarding a current social policy issue. This letter is for submission to a major newspaper such as the Kansas City Star.  Write a 500 word (maximum) letter to a state or national politician regarding a current social policy issue.   Create a one to two page flyer suitable for public distribution that describes and educates the reader about a particular policy issue, and depicts your “best policy response.”  The flyer should be creative, providing a succinct statement (including the use of relevant statistics) regarding the policy issue under consideration. 

·        Testimony:  Each student will be required to attend a public hearing at the federal, state, or local level on a social welfare problem or social policy issue.  You will be required to critique the content of the testimony and the style of delivery using material provided in class. (CO 2-6).

·         Policy in practice:   The base element of all social work knowledge is how it influences the welfare of individuals, families and society.  This course introduces the process of policy formulation, evaluation and implementation.  A primary theme throughout the course is the role of the social work practitioner in interpreting, applying, and influencing policies and programs on behalf of vulnerable populations.  Through the semester you will be assigned two case scenarios.  Each case assignment will be evaluated upon your documentation of the following: Identification of significant social issues, difficulties, challenges, or particular threats confronting the client system. If there are particular strengths, you may want to note them as well. Identification of relevant policy issues related to the provision of accessible, appropriate & realistic social work services. The formulation of a plan including referral to appropriate agencies for addressing the issues you identify. The identification of potential barriers or challenges to the success of your plan. The consideration of possible negative consequences associated with your plan. (CO 3-6)


·        Policy Analysis Research / Term Paper: Choose an area of social policy/social services in which you have a particular interest.  It should be an area in which the federal government plays some role in addition to state and local efforts.  It could be in one of the general areas discussed in the text (such as poverty, health care, families and children, aging, employment) or in another area of interest.  Your topic may focus on a specific area of policies and services.  For example within the area of health care you might focus on provision of health care for the poor, for the elderly, HIV/AIDS, etc.  Within the area of families and children you might consider foster care, adoption services, or child support payment by absent parents. Where federal legislation established a set of services under one piece of legislation you could examine that entire set of services as a group.  For example under the Older Americans Act you could look at transportation, nutrition services, senior centers, and day care or home care for older persons with impairments.  You may also choose some other area of interest, but all topics must be approved in advance to be sure they are appropriate for this assignment. (CO 1-6) CONTENT: Organize your paper into the following five sections.  Depending on  the information you are able to locate, some sections may be relatively brief, other sections longer, but try to find at least some information on all four points.  You  may not be able to find information on every question within the four sections, but provide information on as many of these questions as possible.

1. Problem Recognition

What are the origins this policy/program? 

What circumstances caused this problem to be recognized as a public concern? (Did the problem itself force public attention?  Did those affected organize to demand action? Did reform groups take the leadership in getting public attention? Did lawsuits or court action force the issue?)

Was attention to this problem motivated by compassion or by self-interest of society?

What is the nature of the problem that gave rise to the policy/services you are discussing?  Describe how this issue adversely affects individuals, families and society?

What is the extent of the problem, and how many people are affected by it?

Was this a problem which had just emerged, or had it been present previously but not recognized as a concern for public policy?

How does the political and social climate affect the current recognition and response to the issue?

2. Legislation and Legislative Process:

Describe how legislation was passed to create this policy/program.

Was there organized opposition to passing this legislation?  What was the basis of opposition: philosophical differences about the causes of the problem, about the role of government, about the cost or impact on other segments of the population? What were arguments for and against the legislation?

How did supporters of the legislation mobilize support from the public and from elected officials for this legislation?

Were compromises made to assure passage of the legislation?

What was the source of ideas about solutions to the problem?

What did the policy assume to be the principal cause of the problem?

Was there agreement that the problem needed attention but disagreement about the solution?

3. Description of Policy and Program Services/Benefits

Describe what was included in the legislation (in terms of benefits/services, organizations/administration of services), how the policy/services changed or expanded over time, and the impact of this policy or service.

Purpose and goal of the Program.

Identify the target or beneficiaries of the program.  What are the eligibility criteria for services or benefits?

What specific benefits are provided? Cash? In-Kind benefits? Client services?

What is the organizational or administrative structure for implementing the program? (Is it administered directly by a federal agency?  Are funds provided to states or local government to administer benefits or services?)

Is the enforcement of regulations or certain standards a component of the policy?

Looking at efforts to meet this need as a system, what is the role of government (federal, state, and local)?  What is the role of non-governmental organizations (nonprofit charitable organizations, churches, voluntary organizations)?  How are the efforts of these various entities related to each other?

4. Program Implementation Effectiveness and Limitations

Identify any problems or weaknesses which have been identified in the policy/program.

Was the policy/program implemented as planned?  Did problems arise in implementation?  Was there disagreement or opposition to implementation?

Did public opinion support the policy/program after it was implemented?

Was the policy/program expanded over time?  Were new services or clients/beneficiaries added?  Was the policy significantly changed over time?

Did the policy/program have the intended impact on alleviating the problem?

Were there unintended impacts of the policy/service?  Did it have any negative or counterproductive impacts?

If the policy/program did not have the intended impact, why?  (Flaws in program design, implementation, client response to the program, etc?)

Did unintended impacts of the program reduce public support for the policy or public support for any efforts to remedy the problem?

5.  Appendix:    Provide copies of:  Relevant state and or federal legislation (law) establishing this policy.  Agency or organizational regulations or guidelines related to the implementation of this policy.



Classroom Rules of Conduct:  In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:


  1. Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.
  2. Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.
  3. If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.
  4. Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.
  5. If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will give her or him an opportunity to correct the behavior without penalty.
  6.  If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, she or he will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.


Disability Guidelines:  "Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance.  These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal.  It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply.  Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: www.park.edu/disability."



SW330 Course Schedule:

Week 1

Welcome and Introduction


Review Syllabus, Get Acquainted



Week 2

Ch 1 DiNitto:  Politics, Rationalism, and Social Welfare


Ch 2 Madden:  Legal Philosophy


Assignment: research web based policy resources











The class discussions will include the following: Scope of social welfare            

policy, rational and optical approach, special tips for the legislative       

process, the policymaking process of agenda setting, no decisions, mass          

media, budget, implementation, American public and social welfare,     

America's capacity for giving, political ideology and social welfare,  as

well as learning contracts, process recording, and case presentation.  The        

“Social Work Interests Instruments” will be distributed and discussed in           





Historical Analysis Paper, week 2 day 2



Week 3

Ch 2 DiNitto:  Government and Social Welfare


Ch 3 Madden:  The Development of Law














The class discussions will include the following: Historical perspective on          

social welfare, Elizabethan Poor Law, early relief in the U.S., great      

depression and the new deal, great society and the war on poverty, the            

expansion of social welfare, rural-urban migration, residency requirements

eliminated, welfare rights, cost-of-living adjustments, the graying                      

of America, increase in single-parent families, finances in the welfare    

state, the legacy of "Reaganomics", helping the truly needy, states as    

laboratories, privatization of public services, the Reagan-Bush finale,    

presidential years of Bill Clinton, smoke, mirrors, balanced budget, line by

line, money to burn, starting to look back at the Clinton years, and the big        

 tasks ahead.


Week 4

Ch 3 DiNitto:  Defining Poverty: Where to Begin?









The class discussions will include the following: What is poverty, poverty         

as deprivation, in-kind benefits, how much are they worth, who are the            

poor, poverty as inequality, why are the poor, poor, poverty as culture,           

poverty as exploitation, poverty as structure, poor and homeless, not   

invisible anymore, who are the homeless, affordable housing, fundamental

shift, doesn't welfare cause poverty, from poverty to dependency. 




Influencing Policy, week 4 day 2



Week 5

Ch 4 DiNitto:  Preventing Poverty: The Social Insurance Programs











The class discussions will include the following: Preventing poverty       

through compulsory savings, the social security act, social security, the

world's largest social welfare program, even the best-laid plans, social

security, who qualifies, and how much do beneficiaries receive, achieving         

the goals of social security, adequacy and equity, will you reap what you          

save, keeping the wolves from the door, unemployment compensation,            

what is unemployment, and who gets counted as unemployed, reforming          

unemployment compensation, and workers compensation.



Week 6

Ch 5 DiNitto:  Helping the "Deserving Poor": Aged, Blind, and Disabled.

















The class discussions will include the following:  Public assistance, for the

deserving poor, SSI, federalizing public assistance, how SSI works,    

example of what happens when you are disabled and work under SSI,            

disability determination, SSI recipients, payments, and cost, SSI hot spots,

rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, the vocational      

rehabilitations program, creaming, the era of civil rights for people with            

disunities, from deinstitutionalization to normalization and inclusion, the

dependence living movement, a new bull of rights for people with                     

disabilities, what is reasonable accommodation for people with                        

disabilities, disability policy for children, building a better policy on       

disability, a fair definition, a fair policy, guidance from the EEOC in      

implementing the Americas with Disabilities Act in cases of psychiatric

impairment, general assistance, the state and community response to    

welfare federalism and social welfare.




Policy in Practice #1, week 6 day 2

Week 7


Ch 6 DiNitto:  Ending Welfare as We Knew It: Temporary Assistance for       

Needy             Families













The class discussions will include the following: From mothers aid to    

AFDC, mothers aid, aid to dependent children, keeping the family                   

together, man-in-the-House rules, trying to make parents pay, welfare and       

work, what mothers and fathers think about child support enforcement,           

rehabilitation for work, job training and WIN, workfare, the JOBS                  

program, why the fuss about AFDC, recipients and costs, why mother            

slapped me more fact and fiction in AFDC, the unreported work of     

mothers receiving public assistance, an end to welfare as we knew it,   

nonwelfare approaches, the march to TANF, begins, enter the Clinton

Administration, and has welfare as we know it ended?



Week 8

Mid semester Break   



Week 9


Ch 7 DiNitto:  Fighting Hunger: Nutrition Policy and Programs in the   

Untied States


Ch 4 Madden:  Health Care


Ch 5 Madden:  The Practice of Law


Ch 6 Madden:  The Protection of Individuals















The class discussions will include the following:  Malnutrition amid        

plenty, setting nutritional policy, commodity food distribution, new food           

stamp program, politics discovers hunger, eliminating the purchase       

requirement, politics rediscovers hunger, tightening food stamps belt, the          

welfare reform of 1996, food stamp program operations, determining  

legibility, participants and costs, nutrition programs for younger, older,

and disabled Americans, meals for school children, a client's view of the          

food stamp program, WIC, nutrition for older adults, more nutrition     

programs, nutritional politics, rendering the case versus in kind debate  

obsolete with EBT, the thrifty food plan, how much is it worth, how much        

fraud, abuse, and error in welfare, and who should administer nutrition





Public Policy Testimony Paper, week 9 day 2



Week 10

Ch 8 DiNitto:  Improving Health Care: Treating the Nation's Ills


Ch 20 Sattler:  Background Considerations in Child Maltreatment











The class discussions will include the following: Good health or medical            

attention, health care policy today, Medicaid, health care for some of the         

poor, Medicare, health care for older Americans, covering medigaps, what

ails medicine, the nation's health care bill, holding down public health care

costs, is managed care hazardous to your health, a proposed consumer bill      

of rights and responsibilities, the politics of health care for all, the failed            

health security act, expanding health care coverage the incremental way,          

health care and some ethical dilemmas.



Week 12


Ch 10 DiNitto:  Providing Social Services: Help for Children, the Elderly,        

and People with Mental Illness
















The class discussions will include the following:  Social services, who   

provides social services, the development of social services, social                   

services for people with ADM problems, defining the problems,                      

estimating problems and services, achieving treatment parity, finding     

better prevention and treatment approaches, community mental health  

centers, a war on drugs or on drug addicts, the rights of mental health  

service consumers, needle-exchange programs in the USA, time to act            

now liberty or neglect, too much access or too little, from                                

deinstitutionalization to recrimination, child welfare policy, discovering  

child abuse, what to do about helping people with severe mental illness,           

little Mary Ellen, extent of child maltreatment, services for abused and  

neglected children, problems with the system, and social services for    

Older Americans.




Policy Analysis Research/Term Paper



Week 12

Guest Speaker           




Historical Analysis Paper, week 12 day 2



Week 11


Ch 9 DiNitto:  Changing Paradigms in the Poverty Wars: Victories,     

Defeats, and Stalemates          














The class discussions will include the following:  The curative strategy in           

the 1960s war on poverty, community development, a foundation                    

perspective, LBJ and the Economic Opportunity Act, community action,         

youth education, legal services, more office of economic opportunity    

projects, the great society, politics overtakes the war on poverty, why

hasn't head start cured poverty, politics, evaluation and head start years           

later, fueling employment, make-work versus the real thing, job training            

partnership act, progress towards one-stop shopping at the U.S.                     

Employment Service, should the minimum wage get another raise,                    

enterprise and empowerment zones, report card on empowerment zones,        

and building communities through service.



Week 13

Ch 11 DiNitto:  Challenging Social Welfare: Racism and Sexism












The class discussions will include the following: Gender inequities,        

feminization of poverty, the wage gap, equal rights for women, women in         

federal and state offices, family care, sexual harassment, call for lustiness,         

just say no to the sex police, no consensus on abortion rights, violence

against women, gay rights, Blacks, Hispanics, and social welfare, a      

dialogue on race, separate but not equal, the civil rights act, housing and          

racial discrimination, affirmative action, voting rights, Native Americans            

and social welfare, immigration and social welfare, immigration policy,

and  how much immigration.

Week 14


Ch 12 DiNitto:  Implementing and Evaluation Social Welfare Policy:

Happens After a Law Is Passed?














The class discussions will include the following: Politics of                    

implementation, communications, resources, attitudes, bureaucracy,     

evaluating social policy, policy evaluation as a rational activity, rational

evaluation, what questions to ask, the many faces of program evaluation,         

public hearings, site visits, program measures, comparison with                        

professional standards, formal research designs, theory based evaluation          

better, policy evaluation as a political activity, unclear, ambiguous                    

program goals, symbolic goals, unhappy findings, what to do if your     

agency's program receives a negative evaluation, program interference,            

usefulness of evaluations, evaluation of whom, threatens to everyone, and        

politics at work, evaluating the guaranteed annual income experiments.




Policy in Practice #2, week 14, day 2



Week 15




Week 16

Final Exam



Grading:   Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner.  You are expected to present material that is legible and well considered.  While you will be tested over specific course content, you should do well if you read the material and pay attention in class.


Two exams:15% each; Historical Analysis: 10%;  Policy in Practice: 10%;   Public Testimony; 10%;  Influencing Policy / Letter: 10%;  Research /Term Paper 30%.


Scoring:  A= 90-100    B= 80-89     C= 70-79     D= 60-69   F= 59-0