Think back to your passion and reason for pursuing social work. In Week 3, you used that as the basis for a deep dive into a social problem or issue and a related policy analysis. This week, you bring these threads together in a policy assignment. The goal of a policy analysis such as this is to analyze as many facets of an issue as possible and existing policy for the goals of either improving policy or innovating with new policy. From this process, you develop the reasons and rationale for pursuing change.
Connecting Passion with Goals
SOCW 6351 Social Policy, Welfare, and Change
Dr. Gail Augustine
Domestic violence appears to be a social issue I am most enthusiastic about, and I would like to make progress as a social worker. When people think of domestic abuse (DV), they usually picture an adult victim or survivor. But what about the youngsters who have witnessed or been abuse victims, the boys, girls, and young adults who have felt unsafe in their own homes?
I have witnessed everything as the eldest of four children from a Caribbean household. My mother’s firstborn and we had a close relationship; I was very parentified, so she shared everything with me. Instead of being a child, I was emotionally responsible for my mother, which was sometimes overwhelming. My father attempted to take out his frustration and wrath on us; as children, we did not know what to do. We are harmless and do not know what or how to defend ourselves. Social workers, teachers, the school district’s ELECT program, and Turning Points for Children helped me towards my desired identity. Without them, I am convinced I would have taken an entirely different path (Donato, 2020).
Domestic violence can burden several social system sectors and has a subtle but profound impact on national development. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) includes provisions designed to promote victim services and the apprehension and prosecution of batterers. VAWA established a nationwide hotline for domestic abuse and donated substantial funds to several initiatives and programs, including shelters and other help for battered women, judicial education and training programs, and outreach programs for rural women. VAWA not only reauthorized STOP grants, which support programs meant to increase law enforcement and prosecution response to domestic abuse but also required domestic violence advocates to participate in the creation and execution of these programs.
The sole gap between VAWA and the population it wants to serve is that VAWA’s emphasis on law enforcement reduces the more complex issue of violence against women to a problem of the law. In contrast, it is not merely a matter of the law. There is little clear evidence that VAWA has meaningfully reduced the frequency of violence, despite improved prosecution rates for domestic abuse cases. Domestic abuse is still a crime that is grossly underreported, and some opponents assert that obligatory arrest regulations have aggravated this issue (Zweig et al.,2021). Some women refrain from reporting domestic abuse because of concern that their partners, who are often the sole breadwinner, will be immediately arrested and placed in jail.
As a social worker, my contribution to the GBV course would be to plan and run psychosocial support groups for beneficiaries at primary health care centers, community centers, and outreach centers; find ways to raise awareness; organize focus group discussions on important information when needed and contribute to and regularly update service mapping of service providers in the area of intervention to make sure that GBV caseworkers are aware of all relevant and ad hoc information.
Donato, S. (2020). Gender-based violence against women in intimate and couple relationships. The case of Spain and Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Italian sociological review, 10(3S), 869A-887.
Zweig, J., Farrell, L., Walsh, K., & Yu, L. (2021). Community approaches to sexual assault: VAWA’s role and survivors’ experiences. Violence against women, 27(1), 30-51.
Fasani, F., Mastrobuoni, G., Owens, E. G., & Pinotti, P. (2019). Does Immigration Increase Crime? Cambridge University Press.
Policy Quick Guide: Poverty
SOCW-6351 Social Policy Welfare and Change
Dr. Gail Augustine
Explain how the policy is addressed at the federal, state, and local levels and the programs developed from this policy?
The Social security Act was established in 1935. The Act was created to bring better equality of life to people who were unemployed, disabled (such as being blind), elderly individuals, as well as dependent mothers and children. The Act provides for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits and enabling states to make provisions. At the federal level, the policy was designed to pay retired workers aged 65 or older a continuing income after retirement (Social Security History,2019). At the state level, the policy replaces those benefits according to an individual’s earnings over the period they worked (Joseph, 2018). The amount of individuals’ average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replace varies depending on each earning and when the benefits start. At the local level, the policy set aside benefits for disabled individuals such as being blind and unemployed.
The Economic Opportunity Act (EOE) was established in 1964. Federal legislation establishes various social programs to facilitate education, health, employment, and general welfare for impoverished Americans (Britannica,2019). The act created the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). At the federal, state, and local level, the policy provided funds for vocational training and established VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), a domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps, and Head Start, an early education program for children of low-income families (Britannica, 2019). It ensured that there were opportunities for everyone to work and earn a living.
The Personal Responsibility Act and Work Opportunity were established in 1996. It is a law that has changed the welfare system into one that requires work in exchange for time-limited assistance. The law contains vital work requirement that encourages recipients into jobs, child support enforcement, increased funding for childcare, and guaranteed medical coverage (The Personal Security and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. n.d.). It also encouraged people to be more receptive to fully functional families where both parents were present. The main program of this act was to offer more support to those families with dependent children and help them grow up normally. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Acts performed the same functions at the federal, state, and local levels (Lown, 2020). They both ensured that those children who depended on their parents from 0-17 years were fully covered and would not lack until they were fully grown up. The acts also ensured that the cash benefits had time limits since some people would want to take benefits forever. Therefore, they confirmed that the benefits were available only for specific ages for different individuals.
These policies have enabled members of many communities to feel safe since they are assured that the government has implemented resources to assist with their daily needs. The government has improved its efforts to protect the citizens against anything that may be stagnant to their welfare. The policies have ensured proper education, the right healthcare services, and the opportunity for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The different approaches have assured that mothers and young children are provided for since they cannot manage to work as hard as the men in society (Edin, 2018). The blind and disabled also have their needs taken care of to serve a more purposeful life despite their challenges. The unemployed and those who lost their jobs can still live better lives through the implemented Social Security act.
An opportunity for change in the social security act would be to improve the taxes on citizens and reduce some of the benefits people get. The legislators of the social security act should find better ways of increasing the total tax from people to enable it to run for a longer time and help more people in the future. Alternatively, the legislators can reduce the benefits people receive (Joseph, 2018). To do this, there needs to be proper checking of those receiving benefits and determining if they need them and if there are people who need them and are not getting them.
Economic Opportunity Act | United States  | Britannica. (2019). In Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Economic-Opportunity-Act
Feldman, S., Huddy, L., Wronski, J., & Lown, P. (2020). The interplay of empathy and individualism in support of social welfare policies. Political Psychology, 41(2), 343-362.
Joseph, R. (2018). The welfare/self-sufficiency gap among single mothers through theoretical lenses. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 28(6), 731-745.
Shaefer, H. L., & Edin, K. (2018). Welfare reform and the families it left behind. Pathways, 2018(Winter), 22-27.
Social Security History. (2019). Ssa.gov. https://www.ssa.gov/history/35act.html
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. (n.d.). ASPE. https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/personal-responsibility-work-opportunity-reconciliation-act-1996
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