1.Discuss the development of governmental responsibility for the poor as it historically evolved in the United States. How did the changing definition of worthy and unworthy poor help to shape this development?
2.Select a period in American history that you consider to be of major importance to the development of social welfare policy and programs. Discuss the social, economic, and political trends and the main ideas that influenced social welfare in this period. Which social reformers and/or social workers contributed the debate and action? What major policy initiatives and/or programs resulted? Overall, are there concepts from this period's historical development of social welfare that can be applied to current social policy debate and action?
Provide examples of each issue
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American Social Welfare Analysis
1. Discuss the development of governmental responsibility for the poor as it historically evolved in the United States. How did the changing definition of worthy and unworthy poor help to shape this development?
Many economists and social scientists will claim that poverty is merely a mindset. Indeed, I agree that it can be a mindset for some; however, it is very much a physical and social reality of many. This is where I would agree in the concept of "worthy" poor and "unworthy" poor.
Those who are within the worthy poor category are those whose physical and social reality is congruent with a lack of access to resources and employment which usually includes the elderly, many disabled and developmentally delayed persons, and people who are living in extremely sub-standard areas.
Those who are within the unworthy poor category are those who are fully capable and have the capacity to improve their lives with a little extra effort, however, either choose not to or have not been taught that there are other options available to them.
A real life example from my experience:
I worked in one particular community that would be considered depressed and disadvantaged because there was a lack of educational and social welfare resources until recent years. Children were being told by their mothers to go and steal food to eat. Others would go without. Parents were relying on help from others (i.e. non-government organizations, religious institutions, or neighbours) to provide food.
The project I was working on was providing vocational training to at-risk youth who never attended school or who have dropped out of school. At the end of the program, one teenaged girl who completed the Information Technology and Word Processing course, provided a testimonial in which she stated that she did not know what "self-esteem" was before this program and she also did not realize that she could have a life outside of the street where she was living.
This was not in the U.S. but similar to situations in the U.S., the area where she was living was a mere ten to fifteen minute walk from a major city but she did not think that she could be a part of what that major city offers. She completed her training in the city and in just six months her view of her future and of what it would have been had changed.
In the U.S., poverty would have been a reality from its beginnings since many citizens would have not had access to resources as easily as others. Before the 1800s, there were indentured servants, slaves, and tenant farmers and in the 1800s these people (generally) became the poor in a growing industrialized nation. Their numbers increased with other men, women, and children who worked for long hours for low wages in factories. The early 1900s saw reforms of the Progressive Era (1900-1920) for this urban poverty and for unsafe working conditions. It was an urban, middle class reform movement that supported the government in taking a greater role in the control of big businesses and the welfare of the public. The movement actually had broad support from both Democrats and Republicans. It foundationally wanted the government to be more responsive and more efficient.
You will find some examples in the following article:
Political and Social Reforms
Franklin Roosevelt saw to address this need during his 1932 campaign for presidency.
Roosevelt explained, in 1933, that government operations cannot take away from the individual responsibility of citizens. He explained that food supply cannot just be from the top-down as in the government to the individual ...
This solution will assist the student in analyzing the social welfare situation in the United States by presenting the social situation of the past and the present.