The National Government and Social Welfare: What Should Be the Federal Role?

The National Government and Social Welfare: What Should Be the Federal Role?

The National Government and Social Welfare: What Should Be the Federal Role?

The National Government and Social Welfare: What Should Be the Federal Role?

Synopsis

The changing economic conditions of the 1990s now demand a review of the framework and adaptation to conditions currently prevailing in the government's role in social welfare. Recognizing that the national political leadership no longer was willing to support all of the public programs and benefits that it had initiated in the past 50 years, the authors assume that a "downsizing" of the national government's role in social welfare will occur. This volume explores how downsizing will affect the private sector, nonprofit organizations, families, and individuals, while including specific recommendations and suggestions on how social welfare programs can be reformed or modified.

Excerpt

In 1995, three colleagues began an exchange of papers and correspondence bearing on the question: what is an appropriate role for the national government in social welfare? They began to extend to other colleagues an invitation to join in this informal exchange of ideas. As more people responded favorably to the idea of participating in a "circle of correspondents," Odyssey Forum was created. It remains an informal association of approximately eighty social welfare advocates, policy experts, and scholars.

The uniqueness of Odyssey Forum is that it offers participants the opportunity to present views and recommend actions about social welfare issues unconstrained by agency identification, academic affiliation, or other special interests. Through Odyssey Forum, participants can share their knowledge and experience, and in that process bear witness to the effects of the careless, even brutal, shrinking of the safety net that is taking place. It is unhealthy to be quiet in these times, and Odyssey Forum is one means of sharing as widely as possible the humane and constructive ideas, recommendations, and proposals of informed professionals.

The January 1996 meeting

Encouraged by the response to the ideas and papers being circulated by mail, a meeting was planned for January 26-27, 1996 in Washington, D.C. To focus the discussion and allow more time for deliberations about specific . . .

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