SWK-170: Introduction to Social Welfare

This SWK-170: Introduction to Social Welfare course lays the groundwork for students to explain social work in the context of the social context of the United States. The course investigates how society has influenced the growth of social work as a profession in the United States. To demonstrate how cultural values, social work values, the history of social work, and selected theoretical models of social work influenced the adoption of the general practice framework, students examine cultural values, social work values, the history of social work, and selected theoretical models of social work. In a broad overview, students look at how to use the micro, mezzo, and macrosystem levels to assess a problem and make recommendations for interventions to help individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities evaluate and solve problems.



• Social welfare is the condition or well-being of society.
• It can be considered as a state or condition of human-managed, when human needs are met and when social
opportunities are maximized.
• When all three are met, it may be claimed that a family, community, and society enjoys a satisfactory level of

• The term ‘welfare’ refers to a person’s ‘well-being,’ or what is ‘good’ for them. The provision of a minimum level of well-being and social support for all citizens is known as social welfare.

• Taken more narrowly, it can be interpreted as referring to the provision of Health care, education, housing, and social security are examples of social services.

Social welfare includes healthcare, empowerment, housing, and other programs geared towards assisting the poor, unemployed, and marginalized in society. Such programs include Medicaid, AFDC (Aid for families with dependent children), WIC (women, infants, and children) programs, veteran programs, and others.

• In general, social welfare encompasses a wide range of activities and services.

services provided by:

  • Government/ volunteers/ non-profit organizations
  • providing help to needy persons unable to care for themselves
  •  to eliminate or reduce the incidence of social problems


The chief characteristics of a welfare service or program are:

  •  the risks to be protected against ( What are the problems that need
    to be addressed? e.g; disaster, economic hardship)
  • the population covered ( who are the recipients of welfare
  •  eligibility criteria ( who is more deserving?)
  •  levels of benefits ( to what extent the services will be provided;
    short term or long term)
  •  manner of financing (Who will fund? Either the recipients must
    contribute for the services, or by the government will manage
    through taxes.



social welfare policies


How does social welfare policy happen?

The policy process in the American political system generally entails these steps:

  1. A bill is introduced in Congress (legislative branch). Evidence is presented to promote or oppose the bill. It is debated and voted upon.
  2. If the bill is passed into law, regulatory agencies (executive branch) begin drafting rules and regulations to enforce the law.
  3. If a law or regulation is challenged on legal grounds, the Supreme Court (judicial branch) intervenes to interpret the law or overrule it.

This process is also influenced by non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, which include non-profits. These groups produce research that is then used to promote particular social welfare policy initiatives. Individual members of these groups may be called to testify before Congress on specific social welfare policy matters.

Here are some examples of governmental groups that play a role in social welfare policy in the United States:

individuals can impact federal rules and regulations in the following ways:

The American public also has a say in how social welfare policy is shaped. American citizens influence social welfare policy by lobbying their elected representatives, publicly commenting on proposed regulations, and protesting policies they oppose. Here are some ways that the general public can participate in the development of social welfare policy.

  • Learn how to participate in the rule-making process at the federal level and how to make your voice heard.
  • Learn more about the social welfare policy issues that are currently being debated at the federal level.
  • For information on proposed rules, changes to existing rules, and instructions on where to send your comments and the deadlines for the public comment period, go to the Federal Register, Congress.gov, and/or Regulations.gov.
  • Use the state social work association to locate your chapter and make an offer.

What is my role in social welfare policy?

Everyone is a stakeholder in social welfare policy, regardless of profession. However, as a professional and scholar-practitioner, you play a unique role. You can have an impact on social welfare policy by:

  • researching and publishing on subjects you care about
  • identifying and indicating areas where policy is needed
  • creating connections with colleagues in your field and engaging them in meaningful dialogue
  • working to your full potential and maintaining your intellectual curiosity
  • volunteering to participate in policy meetings
  • continuing to engage with the relevant scholarly literature
  • speaking out against the ill-advised policy and promoting sound policy
  • putting Walden’s mission of positive social change into practice



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