This book examines ten key issues--poverty, housing, taxation and the economy, child welfare, education, health, criminal justice, civil rights, and global issues--confronting social work professionals and places them in their larger context. The introduction to each issue identifies its genesis or the reasons that the issue became a dominant theme in the policymaking agendas of Congress. The second and third sections of each issue provide actual arguments written and spoken by elected officials, both in the U.S. Congress and the Presidency, representing liberal versus conservative viewpoints on the issues. By providing the actual text of the arguments and refraining from interpreting and biasing the political viewpoints of the legislators, the book enables students to critically evaluate each side of the debate and to become empowered to bring about change. The vantage point of Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy is that both liberal and conservative policymakers have good reasons for holding their respective beliefs. Students thus are provided with the opportunity to learn about the other side. This knowledge will improve students' confidence when approaching policymakers and enhance their ability to be effective advocates. Understanding both sides of issues central to social work professionals will facilitate the development of arguments and policy options that satisfy decision makers of either political orientation.
--presents a wide variety of social welfare issues important to social workers from the perspectives of the "right" and "left" using original Congressional speeches paired in a clear "pro-con" format
--familiarizes the reader with the main issues of contention and sets a context for reviewing the speeches presented
--engages social work students in the policymaking forces that influence the scope and efficacy of interventions in social work practice
--emphasizes the role that values and ideology play in the policymaking process
--fosters development of critical thinking skills by freeing students to form their own opinions and interpretations of policymakers' speeches
--identifies carefully selected resources for additional reading that can provide a basis for further learning and discussion
--constitutes a valuable supplement to social welfare policy textbooks whose breadth typically hinders in-depth exploration of the issues and value positions of the different political orientations
About the Authors
As an assistant professor at Illinois State University, Gardenia Harris, Ph.D., MSW, teaches social welfare policy and field practicum courses. Her research interests include racial disparities in the provision and outcomes of social services, the differential impact of child welfare policies on minorities, the effectiveness of drug treatment courts, and HIV among middle-aged African American women. She began her career working as an in-home family therapist, and later served as a manager of an adolescent residential treatment facility. Subsequently she was employed as an academic skills counselor at a private college.
Bernard Ivan Tamas, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University. Professor Tamas has been a Fulbright scholar to the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT Data Center, a visiting scholar at Harvard's Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences, and a visiting professor at both Brandeis University and Williams College. This is his third authored or co-authored book.
Nancy S. Lind is professor of politics and government and associate department chair at Illinois State University. Her specializations include public administration and policy as well as bureaucracy and the American presidency. She has four edited books including Violence and Its Alternatives, Presidents from Reagan through Clinton, Controversies of the George W. Bush Presidency, and Comparative Public Administration.