To begin, you will select a social welfare policy to research and analyze in greater depth. Essentially, one will select a social issue, the legislation passed and/or policy(ies) developed to address the social problem, and analyze the policy(ies) as it/they relate to the problem. Finally, you must propose an alternative to the policy.
The following outline should guide your paper – and be included as headings in your submission:
Overview of the Policy:
Provide a definition and concise description of the policy. What social problem(s) does it attempt to address and who are the beneficiaries or the targeted population? Keep in mind that social problems are issues about the quality of life for large groups of people.
Historical Context, Economic and Political Context:
What is the historical background of this policy? What problem(s) occurred that prompted lawmakers, policy makers, administrators to formulate policies that would address the problem(s)? Why was this concern raised as an issue at this point in history? Is it a new or long standing problem? Were there any previous attempts at resolving the problem? What revisions have been made to the policy either through legislative action, challenges to the law, or increased/decreased needs? If the policy and issue is being addressed today but has historical roots, what might make society more receptive to its success today?
Economic and Political Context
What was the state of the economy and how did that influence the issue and its being brought forward? For example, the Great Depression of the 1930s was a time when sweeping legislation was passed to create programs to address the overwhelming poverty at that time. This was coupled with the fact that FDR was President at the time and as a member of the Democratic Party, he belonged to the party most inclined to address the needs of the middle and lower classes. The political context should describe how issues and causes are moved forward within the political system that results in the creation of a policy or program? Who are the constituent groups, have there been compromises to move this issue forward? Who is defining the social problem currently? How might they be different from past stakeholders?
Manifest and Latent Functions: What are the functions of the policy that people observe or expect and what functions are not intended or recognized? The manifest function of a policy is its stated purpose or goal as described in primary documents, regulations and legislation. Social policies have other goals or functions than those stated publicly and these are known as latent ones. For example, the Section 8 housing program has the manifest goal of providing affordable housing to low income people but the latent function in urban areas has been to remove people from inner cities to outer areas so the housing projects can be torn down and replaced by luxury apartment dwellings for wealthy people. The manifest functions are the focus of the policy but the latent functions must be identified to obtain the full picture of the intended and the unintended consequences.
Current Debate, Ideology and Values
What arguments have been made for and against this social policy? What has been said by politicians, interests groups, intended beneficiaries, social policy experts? Identify who benefits and who suffers from this problem and this policy.
Ideology and Values
What ideology and values have framed this debate? In view of you own ideological perspective on this issue, does this create a bias in your interpretation of the social problem and policy? Note that when you consider “values” and “ideology”, you frame your statements with words such as “should”, “ought”, or “must”. The term ideology refers to a class of value statements. It is important to distinguish between an ideological position and knowledge. Knowledge is factual, ideology is “what should be…”
Papers should follow APA style including a title page, abstract, proper font, page numbers, and reference pages(s).