Skip to Main Content

Contemporary Social Welfare Policies

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


"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. Rutgers-restricted Access

Social Welfare Policy: How We Got Here

The Workfare State: Public Assistance Politics from the New Deal to the New Democrats
Eva Bertram. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. Rutgers-restricted Access Available?
Depression, New Deal, and World War II
1950s and 1960s
1970s and 1980s
The 90s and Beyond
Depression, New Deal, and World War II
The Historical Development of the Social Security Act
By Dr. Abe Bortz, the first historian of the Social Security Administration. Overview of social policy developments from the Elizabethan Poor Laws to the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935.
Why Social Security?
Booklet published by the Social Security Board in 1937 to explain the rationale underlying the new Social Security program.
New Deal Network
Virtual library of over 20,000 photographs, political cartoons, and texts (articles, speeches, letters, and othe documents). Includes a Document Library organized by topic, a New Deal Photo Gallery, selections of the press conferences of the various New Deal Work Relief agencies, and a Labor in the 1930s Bibliography.
"World War II and the Expansion of Government in America,"
Larry G. Gerber. National Forum 75(4), Fall 1995, 30-33.
Essay on the impact of World War II on the growth of the federal government, and its new iniatives in the areas of health, education, welfare, and civil rights. Rutgers-restricted Access
"Experimental Social Policymaking During World War II: The United Service Organizations (USO) and American War-Community Services (AWCS),"
Gretchen Knapp. Journal of Policy History 12(3), 2000, 321-338. Rutgers-restricted Access
The 1950s and 1960s
"The Politics of Motherhood: The Restriction of Poor Mothers' Welfare Rights in the United States, 1949-1960,"
Ellen Reese. Social Politics 8(1), 2001, pp.65-112. Rutgers-restricted Access
Proposal for a Nationwide War on the Sources of Poverty
Lyndon B. Johnson's Special Message to Congress, March 16, 1964. From the Modern History Sourcebook.
"Power to the People: An Assessment of the Community Action and Model Cities Experience,"
Robert A. Aleshire. Public Administration Review 32 (Special Issue), September 1972, 428-443. Rutgers-restricted Access
"Lyndon Johnson, Community Action, and the Management of the Administrative State,"
R.M. Flanagan. Presidential Studies Quarterly 31 (4), December 2001, 585-608. Rutgers-restricted Access
The War on Poverty: Unfinished Business
New England Journal of Public Policy, 20(1), Fall 2004/Winter 2005, Entire Issue.
Forty years later, the successes and failures of the War on Poverty. Rutgers-restricted Access
The 1970s and 1980s
"Sectionalism and Policy Formation in the United States: President Carter's Welfare Initiatives,"
Desmond King. British Journal of Political Science 26(3), July 1996, 337-367. Rutgers-restricted Access
"U.S. Social Welfare Policy: The Reagan Record and Legacy,
John O'Connor. Journal of Social Policy 27(1), January 1998, 37-61.
"Ronald Reagan and the Commitment of the Mentally Ill: Capital, Interest Groups, and the Eclipse of Social Policy,"
Alexander R. Thomas. Electronic Journal of Sociology, 1998.
The Reagan Record: An Assessment of America's Changing Domestic Priorities.
Edited by John L. Palmer and Isabel V. Sawhill. Cambridge, Mass., Ballinger Pub., 1984. Available?
The 90s and Beyond
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996: Summary of Provisions. August 1996.
From the National Association of Social Workers.
Effects of Welfare Reform on Vocational Education and Training.
Dhaval M. Dave. et al. NBER Working Paper no. 16659. January 2011.
"This study estimates the effects of welfare reform on an important source of human capital acquisition among women at risk for relying on welfare: vocational education and training."
"Introduction: As the Dust Settles: Welfare Reform and Rural America,"
Leslie A. Whitener, Bruce A. Weber, and Greg J. Duncan. IN Rural Dimensions of Welfare Reform. Kalamazoo, MI, 2002.
The Consequences of Decentralization: Inequality in Safety Net Provision in the Post-Welfare Reform Era
Sarah K. Bruch, Marcia K. Meyers, and Janet C. Gornick. Social Service Review 92(1), March 2018, pp.3-35. Rutgers-restricted Access
The Affordable Care Act
Text of the Act.
The State of Aging Policy and Politics in the Trump Era
Edward Alan Miller et al. Journal of Aging & Social Policy 30(3-4), August 2018, pp. 193-208. Rutgers-restricted Access

© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.