Respond to at least two colleagues in one of the following ways:

  • Respectfully state and provide evidence as to why you do not support their perspective.
  • Support a perspective that aligns with yours by providing additional evidence and/or analysis.

1-ER: 

Define social welfare and social welfare policy.

Social welfare and social welfare policy are terms applied in a wide array of scenarios. Social workers often use a person-in-environment perspective in their practice. The person and the environment depend on one another for survival (Popple and Leighninger, 2019). Social welfare can be thought of as the establishment that maintains the interdependency between individuals and society. The hope is to achieve a status of social equilibrium (Popple and Leighninger, 2019, p. 19). The word policy on its own carries a neverending possibility of definitions. For their purposes, the textbook authors define social welfare policy as principles, guidelines, or procedures that serve the purpose of maximizing uniformity in decision making regarding the problem of dependency in our society (Popple and Leighninger, 2019, p. 19).

Explain how social welfare policy governs social work practice and programs.

Social welfare policy governs most social work practice and programs. Figure 1.2 on page 12 of the textbook illustrates how the policy system affects the client system, which impacts the professional system (social worker) in a never-ending cycle (Popple and Leighninger, 2019). The social worker defines the needs, and the policy system provides goals and payment. That means government regulations determine care plan goals. The agency’s location, rules, and regulations, as determined by policy, will control what type of clients are served (Popple and Leighninger, 2019). Government or even agency policy restricts which options are available to different types of clients. Lastly, a practitioner could even be confined to theories they are allowed to apply if their agency has a policy declaring allegiance to one particular philosophy (Popple and Leighninger, 2019).

Explain in 23 sentences how one historical circumstance or event surrounding an issue or problem inspired a drive for social change.

In the 90’s, when Speaker of the House Gingrich brought up the return of orphanages, it inspired a drive to look at the efficacy of foster homes (Popple and Leighninger, 2019). Applying history when analyzing policy is valuable because it provides clear examples of which initiatives were successful and which failed. Eve Smith analyzed the history of orphanages and found that traditional orphanages were primarily used as a support system for single parents (Popple and Leighninger, 2019). Her study was an example of the application of “history from the bottom up,” meaning she focused on the individuals or ordinary people involved (Popple and Leighninger, 2019, p. 60).

Describe at least one way in which your role as a social worker and social change agent could continue to improve social welfare and social welfare policy.

The view in social work has evolved from the idea that policy is merely a foundation to a necessity for social workers to practice what Bruce Jannson called “policy advocacy” in the 1980s (Popple and Leighninger, 2019, p. 16). Social workers perform tasks such as legislation, social action, policy writing, litigation, lobbying, and policy analysis. In the Video, Renata A. Hedrington Jones, PhD, MSW stated, “If you really want to put your footprint in the cement, then policy is the place to be” (Walden University, n.d.). My opportunity to be an agent of social change in learning how to navigate the systems my clients rely on. Ultimately, policy reform is the goal, but if I can educate those in need on how to utilize their resources, that change affects many instead of one.

2-HE:  

Social welfare encompasses a broad range of services and supports intended to enhance the well-being of individuals and communities, particularly those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged. It is a fundamental concept in social work that reflects the profession’s commitment to improving lives and societal conditions. Social welfare policy is the sector of public policy that governs the provision of social services and benefits, including regulations that dictate how these supports are distributed, who is eligible for them, and the funding mechanisms that sustain them (Popple et al., 2019).

These policies are instrumental in shaping social work practice and programs. They set the priorities for service delivery, determine the allocation of resources, and establish the legal and ethical frameworks within which social workers operate. For instance, policies related to child welfare guide social workers in the protection and care of children, while housing policies affect the ability to address homelessness and housing insecurity (Walden University Library, n.d.).

An example of a historical event that spurred social change is the economic devastation of the Great Depression, which exposed the insufficiencies of the private charity system and the need for more comprehensive social support mechanisms. The resulting public outcry contributed to the establishment of the Social Security Act of 1935, a pivotal piece of legislation that laid the groundwork for modern social welfare in the United States (Aquino et al., 2017).

As a social worker and advocate for social change, I can continue to improve social welfare and policy by remaining informed and current on social issues and the impacts of policy on the populations I serve. Engaging in ongoing professional development, participating in policy advocacy groups, and contributing to policy research are all ways I can influence the development and reform of social welfare policies to better address the needs of society, as a social worker (Aquino et al., 2017).