This course provides students with the necessary skills to analyze the social welfare policies, benefits, and services that create the context in which all social workers practice. Students will learn about current state and federal policies related to a range of social welfare concerns (e.g., poverty reduction, health, housing/homelessness, criminal justice, disability, child welfare, immigration), the evolution of these policies, and the sociopolitical and economic environment that has influenced their development and implementation.
Students will build upon what they learned in SWO403 Macro Social Work: Social Policies, Communities and Organizations by delving more deeply into various policy analysis frameworks, the mechanics of conducting policy analysis, and the evaluation methods to determine a policy’s impact and effectiveness. To appreciate the complexities, contradictions, strengths, and weaknesses of the American approach to social welfare, students will be encouraged to think critically about the role of economics, politics, ideologies, values, and alternate policy models in each of these areas. The roles of power and privilege in social welfare policy will be assessed as they pertain to equality, equitability, and discrimination based on identity and social location. Class discussion, readings, and assignments will underscore the reciprocal relationship between clinical social work practice and social welfare policy.