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Contemporary Social Welfare Policies: Getting Started

This guide focuses on resources that you can use when seeking information on social welfare policies and issues since the 1930s.

Not sure where to start your research?

Articles in scholarly encyclopedias usually present a good overview of the topic and identify the current issues, approaches, and scholarship relating to that topic. Knowing the issues can help you focus your research on a particular aspect of a topic.

Getting Started

Encyclopedia of Social Work. 20th edition.
New York, National Association of Social Workers, 2008.
Almost always a good place to begin your research. About 450 lengthy signed articles with bibliographies on topics felt to be of particular relevance of social work, as well as 200 brief biographies of key figures in the history of social work. Many articles include a historical overview.
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access
Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America.
John M. Herrick and Paul H. Stuart (eds.). Thousand Oakes, California: Sage Publications, 2005.
Another useful source. 180 essays, most signed, on the people, topics, and organizations that were important to the development of social welfare policies, services, and institutions in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Most entries have suggestions for "Further Reading," and many include references to relevant primary source collections as well as to published primary sources. Available?
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access
Social Welfare in America: An Annotated Bibliography.
Walter I. Trattner and W. Andrew Achenbaum (eds.). Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press, 1983.
Annotated bibliography divided into chapters on: "The process and progress of social welfare;" "Caring for the infant and child;" "Addressing the problems of youth;" 'Relieving the domestic crises of adulthood;" and "Coping with the difficulties of old age." Each chapter includes a breakdown by historical period, as well as references categorized by "Racial/Ethnic;" "Gender-Specific;" and "Class." Available?
2012 Green Book
Biennial publication of data as well as the history and description of the social and economic programs including Social Security, employment, welfare, child support, the elderly, and families with children, under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
" A Multicultural Chronology of Welfare Policy and Social Work in the United States,"
Anthony M. Platt and Jenifer L. Cooreman. Social Justice 28(1), Spring 2001, 91-137.
"This chronology is designed to introduce future social workers to significant events, policies, people, and publications in the history of welfare policy and social work in the United States...Issues of race and racism, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality are central to the chronology's perspective." Includes a extensive bibliography.
Off-Campus Link Rutgers-restricted Access