Formal or institutional social services began in the United States in the late 19th century as a response to problems that were rapidly increasing as a result of modernization. These services were almost entirely private until the Great Depression in the 1930s when the government became involved via provisions of the Social Security Act. Services expanded greatly, beginning in the 1960s when the federal government developed a system wherein services were supported by public funds but provided through contracts with private agencies. This trend has continued and expanded, resulting in a uniquely American system wherein private agencies serve as vehicles for government social service policy.
Philip R. Popple
Social Welfare Expenditures
Understanding both public and private welfare expenditures is necessary to appreciate the full scope of a social welfare system. This entry examines spending in four major areas of social welfare policy (health, medical, and nutrition; retirement and disability insurance; income maintenance and welfare; and education), comparing the public and private sectors. While expenditures for both sectors are increasing, private expenditures are not increasing as a percentage of total costs, despite efforts to privatize social welfare. This may change in the future if military costs continue to siphon governmental costs away from social welfare expenditures.
Social Work Professional Organizations and Associations
Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi, Michael M. Sinclair, Bradford W. Sheafor, and Puafisi Tupola
Professions are developed and maintained through various professional organizations and associations. As social work has evolved in terms of context and content, the professional membership and professional education organizations have periodically unified, separated, and later reunified in the attempt to maintain an identity as a single profession, yet respond to the needs and interests of different practice specialties, educational levels, special interest groups within social work, and diverse cultures and communities. There are approximately 40 known social work organizations and associations across the country, which recognizes the continuous important contributions of emerging groups and entities that represent the diversity that exists in the profession and the diverse critical issues that warrant a timely response. Some of these organizations and associations experience sustained growth and national presence, while others remain on the local level or are no longer active. A few examples of these major social work organizations and associations are described herein.
Technology in Macro Social Work Practice
John G. McNutt and Lauri Goldkind
Information and communication technology has become a major force in society, the social welfare system, and the social work profession. This entry examines the growth of technology and its application to social work and society. It looks at the role of technology and places an emphasis on administrative/organizational, community, and policy practice. It also considers the larger context of the global information society. It additionally explores the impact of technology on the profession and professional education.
Lauren B. Gates
Vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, provided through a jointly funded state–federal rehabilitation system and available in each state, help people with disabilities prepare for, secure, and sustain employment. Since 1920, VR Programs have helped 10 million individuals with disabilities reach employment. Anyone with a mental or physical disability is eligible for VR services. While a range of services is provided, the services most consistent with VR goals are those, such as supported employment, that promote full integration into community life. Social workers are essential to community-based VR services; however, a challenge for the profession is to assume new roles to meet best practice vocational standards.
Workers' Compensation is a form of social insurance financed and administered by each of the 50 states, the federal government (for federal workers), and the District of Columbia that protects workers and their families from some of the economic consequences of workplace-related accidents and illnesses.