Social Policy and Social Change: Chapter 3 Pg. 79-89
Social Work in the 1980’s and 1990’s:
- Shift to conservative approaches; focus on licensing for social workers instead
of social reform activities.
- Critics said: agencies more concerned with status quo, schools not using
updated materials, protested social works views of social problems as
individual issues and ignored black revolution.
- The professionalization of social work created labour unions and associations
(EX. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees).
- Mid 1970’s saw the energy and passion fading behind social issues.
- Reagan Administration (1980’s) stated:
oExpansion of social welfare programs to reduce poverty was not
successful as individuals became dependent on government and
oFederal government was not equipped to solve nations problems and
“govt interventions only made problems worse by interfering with the
self-correcting mechanisms of the market system and violating the
sanctity of private property rights”.
oRemove social responsibility from federal govt. Individuals and private
organizations should provide social welfare services.
oRESULT: Massive govt cuts in social services, programs reduced/
defunded, authorization of social services transferred to private sector.
- 1987: All 50 states enacted licensure regulations (social workers can establish
- Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996) eliminated a 60 year program
that guaranteed =nancial assistance to low-income families with children.
Forced individuals to work low payin jobs with little social support (ie. Child
Social Work in the New Millennium:
- Expanded focus of social work.
- DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act introduced
in 2001. Ensured qualifying undocumented youth to be eligible for a 6 year
conditional path to citizenship. Still not enacted at federal level.
- Schools of social work incorporating social justice principles into curricula.
- SEE Table 3.1 (pg. 83) for timeline of signi=cant event history of social work
- Title protection: Making sure only those who graduate from an accredited
school of social work are given the title “social worker”.
- The necessity of professional social workers to =nd paid employment has
limited their work in free standing social reform and political action.