The problems we confront in social welfare and social work are only becoming more complex and sprawling. Poverty, violence, addiction, loss, trauma and other social ills have been of concern to social work and social welfare since the inception of our profession. Yet as our world changes and becomes more interconnected and complex, the sources of such problems and the best ways to respond keep evolving too.
Beginning in the 1960s, rising divorce rates in this country produced an increasing number of blended families; more recently, young people have been putting off marriage, leading to an unprecedented number of children born outside of marriage: Today, 41 percent of all children are born to unmarried parents. Among disadvantaged groups, the proportion is even higher.
Efforts to undo the social welfare programs of the New Deal and the Great Society have had mixed results. While talk of changing Social Security remains mostly talk, for example, food stamps have come under heavy attack.
Studies have shown that women historically have spent less time commuting than men. Among the explanations is the “household responsibility” thesis: Women take jobs with a shorter commute because they need to be close to home to manage family obligations and household duties. A new study, published in the March 2013 Social Service Review, discovers that the story may be more complicated than that.
About 75 million Americans currently live near or below the federal poverty line. To Megan Kashner, A.M. ’95, another number can put a big dent in that harrowing statistic: one.
To bring clarity to what Chicago-based social services are available, it took a mix of technology and social work know-how to find a winning solution. Purple Binder is a one-stop crowdsourcing website for social workers and health care professionals to find, share and organize all the services they need for clients, including food pantries, substance abuse treatment, and homeless shelters.