Social Welfare Policy

Sunday, April 19, 2009
My course for this quarter at the University of Denver is entitled "Social Services in America." I've been enjoying it so far, although my primary interest in the Public Policy and Social Services catalog is Public Policy rather than Social Services.

My next paper for this course is:
Choose an area of social welfare policy/social services that is of interest to you. Write a 6-8 page paper that reflects a service need or issue related to your topic of interest.
I have to admit I'm a bit stumped. I definitely prefer social welfare policy to social services, but I'm having trouble narrowing it down from there. I'm really interested in health care reform, but I'm already doing ongoing research on health care for another aspect of this class.

So what area of policy would make a good choice? Welfare? Drug treatment? Homelessness? Public education? Public safety? Immigration? Public housing? Energy assistance?

I want to choose something that is reasonably interesting to me, but I don't want to choose a topic that will make me want to open a vein after learning too much about it (like child protection services). I'm leaning towards public housing, since I recently listened to Gang Leader for a Day and found aspects of the Chicago public housing scene fascinating.

I'm open to suggestions, Hot Chicks and Smart Men.

13 comments:

Shawn Powers said...

After my car accident, we did eventually get welfare services that helped us regain our independence. However, we had two very frustrating things happen:

1) While it's difficult to actually get assistance when needed, it's even HARDER to get OFF the service. I'm not sure if it was due to caseloads, quotas, or what -- but when we were ready to be on our own (once I recouped and found a job, etc), it was like pulling teeth to remove ourselves from the system.

2) There have been strides in "back to work" programs when it comes to welfare recipients, but it has a long way to go. Sadly there are only rudimentary job placement and training systems in place. Apart from basic, "Getting a job is good" -- we didn't get any help procuring a way to get off welfare.

I'm rather passionate about welfare issues. I grew up in the ghetto of Detroit on welfare. From there I garnered an education and a decent career, only to have it ripped away from me in a car accident. So I also got to experience welfare as a crutch to get me back on the road to self sufficiency. I'm a HUGE proponent of welfare, but all too often see it executed poorly and abused horribly.

I'll happily chat about it if you like. :)

mom in northern said...

You know I am coming down on the side of education...
It is the keys to the kingdom

Eric said...

Considering the interest in law you've occasionally expressed, have you considered access to courts as a topic? E.g. ad litem services, public access lawyer programs, that kind of thing?

Wendy said...

Also under law topics - the public defender systems. We've had two recent death penalty trials that took so long and cost so much they wiped out the funds for smaller cases that actually had a shot a getting resolved.

WendyB_09

Random Michelle K said...

What about looking at another segement of public health, other than the one you're doing for your project?

County immunization programs, WIC, food safety (oh I could go on and on about food safety), emergency preparedness for flu pandemics, natural disasters, or incidents of terrorism?

Steve Buchheit said...

Public Health. It's close to what you've already researched but different enough to make it interesting. At one time in this country there were county boards of public health. You don't often hear about them anymore.

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks.

I'll let you know what I decide, and I may reach out to one (or more) of you for assistance.

You guys rock. :-)

Eric said...

Also under law topics - the public defender systems.Hm, yeah--public defender systems.


;-)

neurondoc said...

Even though I work in the public health field, I would have to echo mom in northern -- eddication is key!

Anne C. said...

The owner of the building I worked on most recently had to petition the public health and safety board to have an infinity edge pool.

Lance Weber said...

So is it too late to suggest abstinence education?? :)

Geek Goddess said...

I had a good friend who has in a wheelchair from age 2 - she caught polio in the early 50s, before vaccines were available. She had almost no use of her arms, as well as never walking. Knowing her, I was able to see first-hand what handicapped people must go through just to be able to go out. Try using a bathroom when you need a lift to get your out of your chair! She had a master's in social service, with a private practice in counseling people with newly-acquired handicaps (usually from head or neck trauma from accidents).

Jeri said...

Hmmm... my topic of choice would probably be mental health services, declining access, and the resulting numbers of low functioning mentally ill on the streets and in our prison systems.

Also, not really on topic, I have been super fascinated by the Gates Foundation's work both here and abroad for social welfare programs - and most particularly their drive to apply quality control and effectiveness measures to their grant spending and programs.