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Article

John F. Longres

Charlotte Towle (1896–1966) was a social worker who attempted to link the understanding of human behavior and needs with the administration of public assistance programs. She joined the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago in 1932.

Article

Sara Harmon

Homer Folks (1867–1967) was a social work pioneer, recognizing illness as a major cause of poverty. His public service activities included the care of dependent children, mental hygiene, tuberculosis control, public assistance programs, social research, and corrections and parole.

Article

Diana M. DiNitto and David H. Johnson

Social welfare policy may be defined as government’s response to human needs such as food, housing, healthcare, employment, and other necessities. Many contemporary U.S. social welfare policies have roots in the New Deal programs of the 1930s, which were responses to the Great Depression. The civil unrest of the 1960s, the “Great Recession” of 2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic also brought about major policy responses. There are basic philosophical differences in approaches that Americans believe the United States should take to meeting human needs, often described in liberal and conservative perspectives. Social insurance and public assistance programs are major responses to poverty and other needs. Disparities based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other factors may also be addressed through social welfare policies, sometimes in the form of civil rights legislation. Racism and other forms of systemic discrimination, however, continue to prevent many Americans from reaping the benefits that others enjoy. The National Association of Social Workers’ code of ethics calls for social workers’ political involvement. Social workers participate in all aspects of policy processes to improve the biopsychosocial well-being of Americans and people across the globe.

Article

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins

Practitioners who were presumed to be competent may develop difficulties that interfere with job performance. Such professionals are considered impaired and may suffer from compassion fatigue, substance abuse, mental disorders, and other forms of distress associated with daily living. Practicing while impaired is unethical and can potentially be harmful to clients. Colleague Assistance Programs from professional associations or diversion systems and legal sanctions imposed by state regulatory boards are forms of intervention strategies that are employed. Self-care strategies and consciousness-raising among professionals are the best forms of prevention.

Article

John F. Longres

Eveline Mabel Burns (1900–1985) was a social economist and educator at Columbia University. She helped formulate the original Social Security Act and directed research that shaped public assistance and work programs through the 1940s.