This social welfare policy text is written for students of social work and related human services. It has four underlying premises.
The first premise is that social welfare policy pervades every aspect of social welfare. This point is obviously valid for work that is plainly policy-related— lobbying, organizing, and administration—but it is also true when we counsel people. In effect, social policy pays us to have conversations with clients. Once we recognize this fact, we will have more helpful conversations and talk less angrily to ourselves.
The second premise is that knowledge about social welfare policy demands familiarity with the factors that shape it. We have woven these factors into a model of policy analysis, which is simply a tool for analyzing social welfare policy. The prospect may seem intimidating now, but when you learn how to use this tool, you will be able to analyze any social welfare policy.
The third premise is that knowledge about social welfare policy demands familiarity with some of its most prominent substantive areas. Because these subjects—income security, employment, housing, health, and food—perme- ate the entire field of social welfare policy, we have devoted a chapter to each of them.
The fourth and final premise of this book assumes the permanence of change in social welfare policy. What are the triggers of change in social welfare policy? What makes it evolve? And what might we do to make it