Social Policy and Welfare System
Social Policy and the Welfare System
HN300-01 Human Services and Social Policy
Professor Lorena Lashway
May 1, 2012
Social Policy and the Welfare System Over one hundred years ago poverty-stricken Americans’ means of assistance was met through families, local communities, and charities, typically religious. Following industrialization in the 1870s, the nation’s adult workforce was flooded by employers who were dependent on a continuing flow of money income to provide for themselves and their families (Historical Development, 1997). Over time, measures such as Mother’s pension laws, were adopted in a number of states which gave cash allowances to households without a wage-earning
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Welfare program abuse was suspected and claimed by many. Accusations of individuals not applying for work, having more children to get more aid, and staying unmarried just to receive greater benefits, were voiced by dissenters of the current welfare state. During the Reagan administration it was purported that those displeased with the current welfare system felt that providing assistance to children under one year of age perpetuated dependency on the welfare system, which was contrary to the programs goals (Encyclopedia.Com, 2012). Welfare reform is government’s attempt to change the social welfare policy of the country (Welfare Reform – Social Welfare Change, 2012). In 1996 the Welfare Reform Act was passed in answer to the public’s concerns that initial programs born out of the Great Depression era were counterproductive. The objectives of the welfare system today are to raise the living standards of low-income families, provide incentives to work, keep costs low and funding ample (Welfare Reform: A Brief Summary, 2005). Welfare encompasses government programs that provide benefits and financial assistance to no or low income Americans (Welfare Information, 2012). Goals of the welfare system include improving the quality of life and living standards for the poor and underprivileged and helping individuals and families break the cycle of dependency on welfare through educational assistance (Welfare Information, 2012).