Understanding Social Welfare concepts and definitions

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Understanding Social Welfare

  • Social welfare concepts and definitions

Conceptualizing human needs and social institutions

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

  • Psychological survival needs: nourishment, rest, sex, warmth.

  • Safety needs: preservation of life and sense of security

  • Belongingness needs: to be part of a group and to love and to be loved.

  • Esteem needs: approval, respect, acceptance, appreciation, etc.

  • Self actualization needs:to be able to fulfill our fullest potential

NASW statement of needs

  • Need for physical and mental well being

  • Need to know

  • Need for justice

  • Need for economic security

  • Need for self realization, intimacy and relationship.

Social institutions

  • Social institutions are networks of relationships that carry out the essential social functions. Social institutions develop around these needs. Kinship & family, religion, workplace, market place, mutual assistance and government, etc. are organizational forms. They are formalized way of providing resources for helping to meet human needs.

Key organizations and functions

Organizations and functions contd.

Organizations and functions contd.

Questions to ask

  • Degree to which human needs are met or unmet

  • Degree to which problems are solved or unsolved

  • Degree to which opportunities are provided for advancement

Social welfare characteristics: Residual approach

  • Help provided only when needs are unmet by other institutions- family, religious institution, market, etc.

  • Viewed as a safety net

  • Temporary and viewed as negative

  • Stigma attached. It is curative

  • Sees poor as incompetent, second-class citizens & provides second class services

Social welfare:institutional/ developmental approach

  • SW is considered as a first line defense of modern industrialized society.

  • Seen as normal and accepted way of fulfilling social needs.

  • No stigma attached. It is preventative.

  • Recognizes the need for variety of social services to maintain good standard of living.

  • Social problems are rooted in social structure and hence planned social change.

Residual Vs institutional

  • The residual welfare ameliorates the problem of the ‘unfortunate classes’ through middle and upper class benevolence.

  • Institutional view considers SW as front line function of modern society in a positive way working with other institutions for a better society.

  • These concepts are reflection of broader cultural and societal conditions & values

  • American social welfare has combined both these conceptions

Social welfare characteristics contd.

  • Right versus charity

  • Minimal versus optimal

  • Identify examples

  • Discuss

Selective services Residual/minimalist

  • Means tested

  • Eligibility & benefit levels are determined on a case basis

  • Financial assistance not a right

  • Benefits paid from general revenue

  • State control is important

Advantages of selective programs

  • Limitation on cost

  • Society does not pay for services if can be afforded privately

Universal services institutional/developmental

  • Available for all. E.g. public education, day care, social insurance.

  • They are quality services that attracts all categories of people.

  • No stigma attached.

  • E.g. children in the U. S. are required by law to attend school

Advantages of universal programs

  • Universal programs limit stigma

  • Difficult to find fair formula to administer selective program

  • Universal programs tend to improve itself once they are established.

  • Selective programs have limited constituency

Hard Vs Soft goods and services

  • Hard or concrete services are tangible goods or services like food stamps, meals-on-wheels, housing, rent subsidies

  • Soft services are in the forms of guidance and counseling to help people cope with social and emotional problems. They include counseling for family problems, psychiatric treatment for mental disorders.

  • Hard services & poor. Soft services & higher income group.

Direct and Indirect services

  • Direct services are intended to benefit the recipient immediately. E.g. family counseling, health care, etc.

Public Vs Private agencies

  • Public agencies: Veterans, state mental hosp.

  • Private voluntary agencies like United Way, Muscular Dystrophy Association.

  • Private for-profit agencies

Control: Federal, State, Local

  • Community control movement after the 60s

  • New Federalism of Regan placed greater burden on states

  • Recently states assume more responsibility under the new welfare reform (The Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996).

Changing concepts of social welfare

  • From residual to institutional

  • From charity to citizen right

  • From special services to universal services

  • From minimum resources to optimal social environments

  • From individual to social reform

  • From voluntary to public and private

  • From welfare of the poor to Welfare State

  • From social welfare to Social Development

Changing conceptions contd.

  • From residual to institutional

  • From charity to citizen right: To T. H. Marshall, citizenship consists of three sets of rights and duties, namely, Civil, Political and Social rights. Civil right: Right to liberty, freedom of speech, equality before law,etc. Political right: right to vote, get elected, etc. Social rights: Refers to ‘modicum of economic welfare and security and the right to share to the full in the social heritage and life of a civilized being according to the standards prevailing in society’.

Charity to citizen right contd.

  • Political rights, initially restricted to the aristocracy were extended first to the middle class, then to the working class and finally to the women. Similarly, social rights in the form of Poor Law, were first restricted to the needy. As social services, they were later extended to the working class and eventually to the whole population.

Charity to citizen right contd.

  • Marshall point out the paradox of the development of citizenship (equality) in capitalism which is a system of inequality.For him, welfare measures are not an egalitarian measure. Social services are not primarily a means of equalizing income. Welfare state in fact makes inequality more acceptable and legitimate.

From special to universal services

  • We tend to think of SW as special services to poor. Increasingly, SW programs are developed to meet universal needs of the population. Special services tend to isolate the poor to be inferior in quality. Universal services are free of stigma and integrate the poor into the society. The SSA of 1935 is the first National venture in this direction.

From minimum to optimal

  • There is a move from providing minimum resources to the creation of optimum social environments and resources to nurture and develop human potentialities.

From individual to social reform

  • A move from psychological and moral defects/deficiencies to structural and social factors.

  • Is poverty due to individual deficiencies or due to structural and social factors?

From voluntary to public

  • During Elizabethan poor laws the approach to relief was voluntary.

  • With the Social Security Act, the approach is public where the Government has a role in dealing with the poor.

From welfare of the poor to a welfare society

  • From the relief of immediate needs to a long term planning that will prevent future needs

From social welfare to social development

  • Social welfare

  • Social development: Planned institutional change including social, economic and political change for the welfare of the nation as a whole.

Analytical perspectives

  • Studies of the process of welfare policy: Focuses on the dynamics of policy formulation with regard to socio-political and technical-methodological variables. Deals with the societal context in which policy decisions are made, the behaviors, motivations and goals of various actors who participate in the process and stages of the process of policy development

Analytical perspectives contd.

  • Studies of the product: Analyses the policy choices which are the product of planning process.

  • Studies of performance: How well is the program carried out? What is its impact? Impact is the difference between pre-program behavior and conditions and post program behavior and conditions which can be legitimately be attributed to the intervention.

Social welfare:

  • As moral concept reflecting value preferences.

  • As social policy

  • As programs and services

  • As income transfer

  • As study of functions outside market forces to meet human need.

Methods of policy practice

  • Social Work Journal article by Figueira-McDonough

  • Legislative advocacy

  • Reform through litigation

  • Social action

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