Individual Social Welfare Policy
Social welfare policies are a set of measures which form the government’s response to citizens’ needs such as food, health care, employment among other needs (Thomas & Graber, 2008). While government’s have been running these programs for a long time, in most cases they are meant to respond to emergency or unforeseeable disruption such as the great recession in 2008 and to more recently the Covid-19 pandemic.
While social welfare policies are majorly used to address pressing human needs such as unemployment and housing, disparities among its population as a result of race, gender, disabilities and social orientation may also be tackled using social welfare policy programs. Commonly used social welfare policies before include programs around social insurance and public assistance.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), an umbrella body which governs and champions for the rights of social workers in the United States in its code of ethics, calls for social workers’ political involvement. The body urges its members to participate in all aspects of policy making processes as good and reliable policies would greatly improve biopsychosocial well-being of Americans and people across the globe (Beebe, 2016).
Social policies are interventions measures aimed at impacting social conditions under which citizens of a country and the globe live. by this, social policies improve human welfare thus enabling meeting of human needs. Social policies help regulate behavior in areas around sexuality and morality. early US social policies revolved around an inclusive system of public education, generous benefits to elderly veterans and their families. Other targets who benefited from social policies include women and children (Austin, 2018).
While social policies are broader and general intervention measures, social welfare policies live in social policies and are more specific. The social policies aim at impacting the people of a nation while social welfare policies define the specific intervention. For instance while federal government of the United States has healthcare as a social policy, Medicare and Medicaid are specific social welfare policies aimed at ensuring all citizens access good healthcare in the country.
Social policies are broader intervention measures formulated by the government to help its citizens leave a good live. The policy offers basic guidelines on how citizens will get access to services within a specific area. By providing social policies other government partners establishes measures anchored to the formulated policy thus helping the practice of the policy. Such partners may include private sector, non-governmental organizations and religious organizations.
While elaborating on how social policy provides a platform for understanding how policy and practice impact each other, the example of healthcare and Medicaid will be considered. Through numerous legislations both at federal and state level, social policy of ensuring good healthcare to all citizens of the United States has been formulated. This policy aims at guaranteeing humans live a good life by having access to quality health care.
A practice to actualization of this policy is through the Medicaid social welfare policy. The welfare policy establishes how the formulated social policy could be practiced. Through Medicaid, the people of low income in through United States are able to get access to healthcare through public health insurance program. At least 20 percent of Americans are covered by the Medicaid program including costly care needs (Medicaid, 2022).
This explains the intertwined nature of social policies with it’s practice through social welfare policies. When a social policy has been legislated, a need to have specific social welfare policies to ensure its practice follow.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code of ethics (NASW 2018) outlines pillars to which people can hold social workers accountable. The organization trains and supports social workers to acquire professional standards. NASWs primary mission is to enhance the well-being of all people, with a focus on those suffering the effects of oppression, poverty, and vulnerability. The Code gives profession’s ethical principles and standards, mission, and values. Social work values and roles as outlined by NASW are as discussed.
This value requires social workers to use skills and knowledge from training and experience to make impact and address problems faced by people. Additionally, this ethics code requires practitioners to apply the same zeal to help those in need. It requires social workers to have their personal interests take a back seat while they give priority to service to their customers.
According to the service social core value, it is ultimately important for social workers to implement their professional experiences in service humanity. Across the different sectors of health, government services, education and administration, their undertakings should be aimed at offering the best possible services to their clients.
ii. Social Justice
This is fairness to all in the society irrespective of social standings, race, religion, color, gender or age. All humans are treated equally before the law and such should be the case. Social workers are tasked with the role of challenging and fighting social injustice in all aspects of life. They should be at forefront in confronting discrimination and marginalization as in employment, health care provision and education.
The social workers should show understanding of sensitivity around cultural and ethical diversity of populations thus helping in accessing resources, services, access to opportunities, and information that helps combat oppression.
iii. Dignity and Worth of the Individual
Dignity is the degree to which a person is valued. Worth is degree of importance attached to a person. The NASW Core Values outlines social workers have a role in treating each client with dignity, care, and respect, while enabling clients’ abilities and opportunities to improve their own circumstances. They are required to strive towards finding resolutions to conflicts and act in a manner which depicts high social responsibility.
This value requires social workers not to base their interactions with clients on individuals social standings, race, religious groups, age or gender but should rather ensure all are treated equally with high degree of importance and with high value attached. With this, the widening gaps and differences in the society are bridged making the society more inclusive.
This is the ability of being honest and possession of strong moral principles. The quality of having people attach trust to a person is key essential for social workers. This value requires social workers behave in a trustworthy and honest manner. By so doing, their clients and the society benefit. This is also as per their profession’s ethical principles and standards, mission, and values.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has outlined the standards and principles workers should adhere to when interacting with their clients. These guidelines provide uniformity while helps in countering the widening gaps in the society. Throughout the course I have learned it is necessary to work towards being accommodative to any group in the society.
While government at different levels formulate social policies aimed at ensuring its citizens leave a good live it is necessary to consider such policies as a guide and design a closer and more definitive approach. Social welfare policies are such definitive approaches.
Being socially and morality right is key towards ensuring a more holistic approach in bringing societal differences. It is necessary to ensure equality and fairness to in whatever ways and in whichever ways we engage. Acting socially responsible serves as a foundation for others thus building a more accommodative society with equal opportunities for all.
While it’s obvious the social differences exist among human kind, such differences are only consequential when used in a discriminating manner. While governments try to bridge such differences through social policies and promoting opportunities for all, the world should adopt a conscious approach to counter these social differences. Social workers should act as agents to champion for a free, indiscriminative and equally empowered society.
Austin, Michael J. (December 2018). Social Work Management Practice, 1917–2017: A History to Inform the Future. Social Service Review.
Beebe, L. (2016). Preface. In L. Beebe (Ed.). Professional Writing for the Human Services. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
Thomas, David C. & Graber, Glenn C. (2008). Euthanasia: Toward an Ethical Social Policy. Ann Intern Med.