Faith-Based versus Fact-Based Social Policy: The Case of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention

By Marx, Jerry D.; Hopper, Fleur | Social Work, July 2005 | Go to article overview

Faith-Based versus Fact-Based Social Policy: The Case of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention


Marx, Jerry D., Hopper, Fleur, Social Work


The Clinton administration's 1996 welfare reform legislation (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act [PRWORA], P.L. 104-193) contained a "charitable choice" clause, a provision that encourages states to increase the involvement of religious organizations in federal programs such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The administration of George W. Bush has intensified and extended this policy shift with a major effort to direct federal social services funding to religious institutions as part of his faith-based policy initiative (Leonard, 2003). George W. Bush will be remembered as one of the most overtly religious presidents in U.S. history. His public speeches are filled with religious references to "good and evil." It is clear that many of his policy positions, including those on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay marriage have been influenced significantly by his religious convictions.

The social work profession has a historical relationship with organized religion, and many religious institutions have developed excellent social services. However, politically driven, faith-based social policy threatens to further erode the quality of the U.S. social welfare system and the professional status of social work. An understanding of, and appreciation for, the historical significance of professional social work is needed, which, in turn, might produce a renewed emphasis on "fact-based" social policy development.

Let's take a brief look at the emergence of social work as an important profession in the United States (Marx, 2004). Much of the private U.S. health and human services system derived from organized religion. The Puritans in 1620 brought their version of the English poor relief system to America. The church was seen as an extended family, helping poor families by providing basic health and human services to their needy members. Over time, religion in the United States became more diverse, with numerous groups, such as the Quakers, Anglicans, Baptists, and Catholics, becoming influential. These religious groups gradually developed a sophisticated network of health and human services for their respective denominations. During the 1800s, many private nonprofit agencies were established to help people in need, organizations inspired by religious values, if not directly connected to a denomination. These voluntary efforts (including the Young Men's Christian Association in 1851; the Young Women's Christian Association in 1866; the Salvation Army in 1880) were an extension of the colonial role of the church in providing for people who were poor.

As these private nonprofit organizations proliferated, members of the business and professional classes, increasingly solicited for support, felt that the entire health and human services system needed to be more professionally operated, using the latest information from the social sciences. In so doing, these reformers began to challenge a health and human services system primarily based on religious doctrine.

Charity organization societies, stressing "scientific philanthropy," began to emerge to better coordinate and deliver services to people in need. Aiming to be more scientific, professional, and businesslike, the charity organization societies used volunteers called "friendly visitors" to do individual needs assessment, case histories, case conferences, service referrals, and community services coordination. In contrast to earlier forms of relief, the charity organization societies aimed to separate health and human services from religion. At this point in U.S. history, being simply moralistic, as the friendly visitors were, yet not requiring a religious conversion to receive aid, was another step toward professionalization.

The charity organization societies' dedication to research, documentation, and technical skills led to the conclusion that part-time volunteers were not adequately educated. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Faith-Based versus Fact-Based Social Policy: The Case of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.