Social Work 761

SOWK 761: Social Welfare Policy II: Family Policies

Prerequisites: SOWK 611 or SOWK 679

Credit Hours: (3)

The course provides a broad understanding of the development/analysis of family policies with an advocacy perspective on the local, state and federal levels. The role of socio-cultural values, contextual factors and policy/service assumptions are examined with the emphasis on social work advocacy to promote social/economic justice with populations at risk.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course focuses on the practical application of policy analysis principles and methods to selected major family-oriented federal and state policies. Included is an in-depth application of various analytical models to policies which impact the family, such as policies dealing with (1) social services; (2) income maintenance; (3) health; (4) housing; and (5) employment. Each policy area is studied from the perspectives of existing legislation, funding, regulations, program administration and operation, and evaluation. Also included is a practical experience in the development of a social policy in an area of unmet human need related to families situated in small cities and rural/semi-rural areas.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This class will utilize lectures, class discussion, film, guest speakers, as well as written and oral assignments. Major units in the course are as follows:

I. Review of Family Policy

        A. Definitions of Families
        B. Definitions of Family Policy
        C. Federal Efforts to Address Family Issues

II. From "Child Welfare" to a "Family" Perspective: Shift from Residual to Institutional Orientations

        A. Analyses and Critiques
        B. Legislation in.

III.  Current Issues

        A. Women's Roles
        B. Regional Context
        C. International Comparisons


Goals and Objectives of the course

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate at an advanced level:

1. The ability to identify historic events, factors, and issues that have influenced the formation of current public policies related
to families.
2. The ability to identify and analyze the impact of current federal and state social policies on families.
3.  The knowledge and skills to differentiate between institutional and residual policy perspectives, and to conduct a family impact
4. A respect for and awareness of different family structures, women's roles, regional context, and international comparisons.


Assessment Measures

The grade in the course will be based on mini-examinations after each Unit, as well as class oral/written exercises, together accounting for 60% of the grade. Bonus points, e.g., oral presentations on assigned reading, may be added to the mini-examination score to augment the exam grade if presented before each Unit is completed and exam is taken.

A 12-20 page policy paper (typed, double-spaced, and written according to APA format) will be due the last week of classes. The basic theme of the paper must also be presented orally, and may include film, role play or joint creations with others in related areas. The oral presentations will also be scheduled during the last two weeks of class. The paper and oral presentation will constitute 40% of the grade.


Other Course Information

Attendance Policy:

  • Class attendance and participation are expected. University policy will be followed regarding unexcused absences.


Review and Approval

February 1999 Course number changed from 661 to 761