Week 7 6351 discussion 1 and 2

SOCW 6351: Social Policy, Welfare, and Change Week 7

Discussion 1: Cultural Influences of Social Policy

Cultures, regardless of where they are or how long ago they existed, share a few common characteristics. Among these characteristics is a structure to care for their children and to socialize them in the culture. Children are taught, both directly and indirectly, the values of the culture, their role in the culture, and the expectations the culture has for them. Children absorb the rules, dynamics, and values, which they will later pass these on to subsequent generations.

As a social worker, you will deal with families from different cultural backgrounds. Understanding the cultural background of the families you work with will help you to effectively intervene and advocate for policies that support their needs. How prepared are you to identify and advocate for social policies that are just and support families from all cultures?

For this Discussion, review this week’s resources, including the Hernandez Family video case. Consider how cultural considerations might affect child welfare policy. Then, think about what your responsibilities, as a social worker, might be in supporting the Hernandez family in addressing their child welfare needs through the accessibility of services. 

Post by Day 3 an explanation of how cultural considerations might affect child welfare policy. Then, explain what your responsibilities, as a social worker, might be in supporting the Hernandez family in addressing their child welfare needs through the accessibility of services.

Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

         

Discussion 2: Child Welfare and Family Preservation

An essential aspect of social work practice is the support and preservation of the family unit. Building and empowering strong, resilient families is a focus of social work practice within organizations and communities. 

Social work research is an integral aspect of working with families. The research component of social work is essential to providing effective policies, programs, and services to support and empower families.

As a social worker, you need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required for effectively working with families for child welfare. You also need to interpret and evaluate research findings involving family and child welfare.

For this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Consider the role of family preservation in child welfare, the research regarding family preservation, and the assumptions about foster care. Think about whether you agree with the research, and whether there are any gaps in your state foster care system that might contribute to the assumptions. Reflect on the benefits and shortfalls of permanency planning and family preservation and which approach you prefer.

Post by Day 4 an explanation of the role of family preservation in child welfare. Then, explain whether research supports the assumption that foster care is harmful for children, as presented by the cornerstone argument for family preservation. Be sure to include whether you agree with this assumption and why you agree or disagree. Subsequently, identify the gaps in your state (Florida) foster care system that contribute to the idea that foster care is harmful to children. Then, compare the benefits and shortfalls of permanency planning and family preservation. Finally, provide a description of whether you prefer the permanency or the family preservation approach as a child welfare social worker and why you prefer it.

Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

Required Readings

Popple, P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2019). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

· Chapter 10, “Child Welfare: Family Preservation Policy” (pp. 214-244)

Chapter 10 Conclusion

By way of conclusion we wish to reemphasize that family preservation should not be interpreted to mean only one specific type of program or method. Family preservation is first and foremost a philosophy of practice with families in crisis. Robin Warsh, Barbara Pine, and Anthony Maluccio (1995) offer the following broader definition of family preservation:

Family preservation is a philosophy that supports policies, programs and practices which recognize the central importance of the biological family to human beings. It underscores the value of individualized assessment and service delivery, with adequate system supports, in order to maximize each family’s potential to stay, or again become, safely connected.

This general philosophy of family preservation can be expressed through any number of specific programs and techniques, including kinship care, shared foster care (in which the foster family and the biological family are in direct contact and share childrearing responsibilities), open adoption, family reunification programs, and a number of other profamily approaches, some of which undoubtedly have not even been thought of yet. Warsh, Pine, and Maluccio argue that defining family preservation in terms of one model, such as Homebuilders, confuses the concept. Thus, we conclude that although the specific family preservation models that have recently spread so quickly seem to be falling short of their goals, family preservation as a philosophy of child welfare policy is alive and well and has yet to demonstrate its full potential.

The second observation we wish to make is that true family preservation will, of necessity, involve a much wider range of interventions and benefits than just a direct response to incidents of child maltreatment. We have reviewed arguments concluding that poverty is actually the central child welfare problem. Lindsey (1991), for example, analyzed national survey data and demonstrated that family income is the best predictor of a child’s removal from home. Courtney (2000) has analyzed cost data and concluded that it costs the federal government over eleven times as much per child to provide foster care as to provide welfare assistance to the child’s family. Putting these findings together, we could argue that if poverty is the leading variable related to placement, and if placement is much more expensive than increased welfare payments, then we could save money and improve the lives of children and families by increasing welfare benefits to a level that enables people to live and care for their children decently. However, as with specific family preservation services, increased welfare supports are only a small part of the total response needed to deal adequately with the problem of child maltreatment. As Edith Fein and Anthony Maluccio (1992) have stated,

No solutions to child welfare issues will be viable without supports to families. These include adequately compensated employment, availability of housing, accessible medical care, and decriminalization of substance abuse to remove the economic incentive for drug dealing. Other supports are also important, such as good day care, parenting education, and readily available mental health services. As we noted over a decade ago, “permanency planning [or family preservation programs] cannot substitute for preventive services and for increased investment in our children.”

Thus, we conclude that it is unrealistic to expect any one specific approach to have a great impact on placement rates. Perhaps if family preservation programs were evaluated as one of a whole set of interventions to reduce placements, they would fare better.

Our final observation is derived from the first two: Although it is understandable to look for a “silver bullet”—a simple one-step remedy to a problem such as child maltreatment—it is highly unrealistic. Child maltreatment results from a huge number of variables, some relating to individual psychology and some to macrosocial and macroeconomic conditions, all interrelated along an almost infinite number of dimensions. As a society, we have a modest understanding of a few of the relevant variables and no knowledge of a number of others; as to how they are interrelated, our understanding is at an even more primitive level. To think that one program approach, such as family preservation, will be the solution is simplistic. The conclusion of Fein and Maluccio (1992) regarding permanency planning is also an appropriate conclusion for this policy analysis of family preservation:

The complexity of human interactions precludes simple solutions, and the certainty of having solved a problem is destined to elude our grasp. These considerations, however, are not negative. They help define the dimensions of the problem and provide a challenge to those who choose to work seriously with children, society’s most precious resource.

Edwards, H. R., Bryant, D. U., & Bent-Goodley, T. B. (2011). Participation and influence in federal child welfare policymaking. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 5(2/3), 145–166.

Plummer, S. -B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories. Baltimore: MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

· Part 1, “The Hernandez Family” (pp.3–5)

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Sessions: Hernandez family (Episode 3 of 42) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Responsiveness to Directions

27 (27%) – 30 (30%)

Discussion posting fully addresses all instruction prompts, including responding to the required number of peer posts.

Discussion Posting Content

27 (27%) – 30 (30%)

Discussion posting demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text(s) and Learning Resources. Posting provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other scholarly sources, and discerning ideas.

Peer Feedback and Interaction

22.5 (22.5%) – 25 (25%)

The feedback postings and responses to questions are excellent and fully contribute to the quality of interaction by offering constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, additional resources, and stimulating thoughts and/or probes.

Writing.

13.5 (13.5%) – 15 (15%)

Postings are well organized, use scholarly tone, contain original writing and proper paraphrasing, follow APA style, contain very few or no writing and/or spelling errors, and are fully consistent with graduate level writing style.

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