Social Welfare Policy and Services Sequence

Social work professor speaking to students

Megan Harding (Chair and SOCW 627 Coordinator) Hannah Karpman (SOCW 530/531 Coordinator) 

Social welfare policy is the context through which the public sanctions the delivery of clinical social work services and legitimizes the role of the social work profession.

Policy courses are designed to enhance the training of clinical social work students by contributing to their knowledge of the major historical developments in the American social welfare system, and their knowledge of policy developments within specific fields of practice including health, mental health, child welfare, family, aging and/or disability.

Contemporary policy issues are examined in relation to economic developments, demographic changes in the population, the evolution of knowledge about public issues, technology and advances within the profession.

Elective Courses

The course numbers listed are effective beginning Summer 2019. Former course number equivalencies can be found here.

Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Current advances in the provision of health services in the United States call for substantial integration of primary care and behavioral health care services. Research on these approaches suggests the possibility of both cost containment and improved service quality as well as potential reductions in health disparities. Such models require a re-thinking of the role of social work and clinical practice, as well as the skill set required to be successful in new integrated settings. The course will examine models in integrated health care including accountable care organizations, medical, and behavioral health homes and the role of social work within these models. We will then address the practice dilemmas posed by such models, including a focus on care coordination, triage, and screening, brief intervention and referral models (SBIRT).
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
The histories of Urban Planning and Social Work are deeply intertwined and interrelated in current urban challenges and opportunities. There is a long history of distinct social power and inequality dynamics that have played out in both professions. This course will focus on unpacking the relationships between social work, the urban environment and housing policy, especially urban renewal and gentrification. The goal of this course is to understand social inequality in the urban environment and how social workers can have agency within that. In this course students will strengthen their ability to identify and analyze power dynamics within urban environments and examine the social worker’s social responsibility within this context. This course will use perspectives informed by power analysis, intersectionality, planning theory and history.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Historical survey of Federal Indian policies and their effect and impact on Native Americans and American Indian tribes. Multiple methods used to analyze and confront themes in the policies, including factors and conflicts (e.g., assimilation, treaties, land rights, education, child welfare, adoption/tribal child welfare) that influenced and shaped policy development. How implementation aided and/or obstructed the overall well-being of the First People and tribes.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Explores the social context in which emotional problems are defined and treated. Contrasting paradigms will be examined including the contribution made by each in understanding the etiology of mental health problems and the functions of treatment. Attention will be given to the special situation of women and people of color and current dilemmas in mental health policy. Current national and state laws, funding arrangements, and judicial decisions that impact on mental health programs as they affect the role of social workers in the delivery of services will be explored as well.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Examines the U.S. health care system, its sociopolitical origins and evolution, and its complex service delivery system and financing. The topics we discuss include: (1) factors in disease causation; (2) the structure and processes of health care organizations; (3) approaches to financing medical care; (4) healhcare outcomes, including disparities.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Focuses on major social and demographic changes in the family and the economy that affect the development of and impact on the construction of national and state policies designed to protect and provide for the care of children. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the current trends and policy issues emerging in foster care, adoption, and child abuse and neglect services.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Examines the intersection of social policy and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ("LGBT") identities in a variety of contexts of importance to clinical social workers. We will study policies of general applicability that have a particular impact on LGBT individuals and families as well as those that are LGBT-specific in design. The course will focus on a range of laws, policies, and practices including those that impact family formation, child custody, youth (including in and out-of-home care), health care, incarceration, immigration, military, hate speech and bias laws, and nondiscrimination in the context of employment and public education. Students will consider the role of such policies in their own clinical experiences.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Social workers work toward social justice by impacting social systems at multiple levels – frequently by working with disenfranchised populations. The U.S. criminal justice system has a tremendous impact on disadvantaged populations and, as such, has much overlap with social work in terms of persons involved in both entities; moreover, there is a historic link between the profession of social work and the shaping of U.S. criminal justice policies and practices. However, the training of social workers in this area may be inadequate to allow them to recognize the interface between criminal justice and social work policies to impact positive outcomes for the individuals and client systems they serve. This course will extend our understanding of the U.S. criminal justice policies and how they interconnect with the social work profession and client systems. This course is applicable to social work students who wish to increase their understanding of how the criminal justice system and its policies interact with the people and communities with whom social workers engage.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
The maintenance of representative democracy requires the active participation of an informed citizenry. The promises of equality before the law and the potential to redress grievances fall squarely on our collective shoulders. In order to fulfill our promise we must develop an organized citizenry capable of formulating, articulating, and asserting their common interests. In this course, each student will engage in learning to create social change through collective action. Emphasis will be placed on developing a leadership approach to organizing which includes; building power from the resources within a community, use of public narrative to focus values and intentions, and building public relationships that enhance collective capacity to attend to the demands of representative democracy. The goal of the course is to enhance the capacity of students to engage in taking a leadership role in organizing. Students begin by asking themselves three questions: who are my people, what challenges do they face, and how can they turn their resources into the power they need to meet these challenges?
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Public education is a complex social institution with a rich and complicated social work history. This course will provide a brief history of education reform with a focus on key and pressing issues currently at stake in public education, with a particular focus on issues of equity. Students will strengthen analytic skills as they explore the design and initial implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA] – as well as implications for social work practice within schools and communities. The course will include investigation and analysis of the evolving policy agenda in the executive branch and Congress, and students will ultimately explore opportunities for intervention at the local, state and federal levels.
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Explores how the U.S. Supreme Court decisions shape, expand or contract civil rights and civil liberties. We will focus on those rights that impact our client populations and/or social work practice. Significant historical and current cases, civil and criminal, will be selected for review and analysis. We will explore how these cases impact policies of institutions where we practice. One session will focus on the social worker as witness in a court proceeding. 
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
Substance use, dependence, abuse is a complex experience which has been pathologized and criminalized in a variety of ways. In this course students will review the history and current scope of substance use in the United States. We will examine current multidisciplinary evidence based prevention, assessment, care, and treatment modalities. Students will explore how policies that are intended to reduce substance abuse impact medical and behavioral health care, social services, and criminal justice systems. Students will examine how such policies impact communities and individuals in disparate ways.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer
 
The history of interactions between individuals who identify as transgender or gender non binary the health and behavioral health system is one of oppression and resistance. Providers and leaders in both health and behavioral health care led and were complicit in proposing, codifying and normalizing treatment models that reinforced the social construction of binary gender and punished those who did not conform. This course will examine the history of health and behavioral health policy in this area and review the current state of such policy including new protections under the ACA, HIPAA, JCHOA and Medicare and Medicaid regulations. This course will also offer an explicit and clear overview of current policies with regard to medicalized interventions for gender confirmation and discuss informed consent models as an alternative. The role of social workers in the contemporary context will also be examined and critiqued.
 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Second or Third Year Summer

Topics not included in the regular curriculum, but within the policy sequence. Specific title and description information will be posted in the registration portal for the term offered. 
Quarter Hours: 2
Coordinating Sequence: Policy
Fulfills: Policy Elective
Eligibility: Third Year Summer

Topics not included in the regular curriculum, but within the policy sequence. Specific title and description information will be posted in the registration portal for the term offered.