Skip to main content
Link to Libraries homepage
Link to Libraries homepage
Rutgers University Libraries

Contemporary Social Welfare Policies: Target Populations

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

What's Here?

A selection of resources about the history, issues, characteristics, and policies relating to specific groups: women, children, the elderly, African-Americans, Latinos, immigrants, veterans, the mentally ill, and the mentally disabled.

Target Populations

Children: Adoption and Foster Care
The Elderly
African Americans
The Mentally Ill
The Mentally Disabled


Women's Rights in the United States : A Documentary History.
Edited by Winston E. Langley and Vivian C. Fox. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1994.
Key primary documents including speeches and letters, congressional testimony, court decisions, government reports, position papers, statutes, and news stories. From the Colonial period through 1993. Available?
Violence Against Women - Federal Legislation and Regulations
From the Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women.
Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003
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."


The State of America's Children 2011
"A compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on poverty, health, child welfare, youth at risk, early childhood development, education, family income and gun violence." From the Children's Defense Fund.

Child Welfare in New Jersey
Data from the Children's Defense Fund.

State Child Welfare Legislation 2007-2008. June 2009.
"The legislation described here reflects emerging issues and key legislative trends related to child welfare... The report also discusses new laws that address important issues in the child welfare field or institute substantial changes in child welfare practice or administration." From the National Conference of State Legislatures

America's Children 2011. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office.
Annual reports from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

Kids Count 2011
Project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, annually tracks the status of children in the U.S., nationally and state-by-state. New Jersey Profile. Also includes 2000 Census Data on children.

National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) 1997-2010.
Survey mandated by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Looks at the characterisitcs of the children and families that come into contact with the child welfare system; the pathways and services they experience while in the system; and the short and longer-term effects of the experience for these children and families.

Scarcella, Cynthia Andrews et. al. The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children IV: How Child Welfare Funding Fared During the Recession. Washington, D.C., The Urban Institute, 2004.
Examines "the amount states spent on child welfare activities in state fiscal year (SFY) 2002, the funding sources they used, how funds were used, and how funding has shifted since federal welfare reform and ASFA."

Children: Adoption and Foster Care

Adoption History Project
Rich collection of primary and secondary sources relating to the history of adoption in the United States. Includes a timeline, a section on important individuals and organizations, and essays, documents, and suggestions for further reading organized by Topics in Adoption History. Site maintained by Ellen Herman in the Department of History at the University of Oregon.

Adoption and Foster Care Statistics
From the Children's Bureau (CB), one of the bureaus within the Administration for Children and Families, of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Federal Foster Care Financing: How and Why the Current Funding Structure Fails to Meet the Needs of the Child Welfare Field. ASPE Issue Brief. Updated August 2005.

Frame, Laura. "Suitable Homes Revisited: An Historical Look at Child Protection and Welfare Reform," Children and Youth Services Review 21(9/10), 1999, 719-754.
"A review of selected events highlights the problems encountered when welfare-based social services attempt to perform a child protection function, problems that are particularly relevant given current concerns that welfare reform will intensify the poverty experienced by already precarious families."
Off-Campus Link

The Elderly

Some relevant subject keywords that you can use in The Library Catalog include:

Older People United States
Older People Services For United States
Aging United States
Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being
Washington, D.C., Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. July 2010.

Chartbook relating to the health and well-being of Americans 65 and older.
A Profile of Older Americans, 2009
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration on Aging.
Innovation in the Aging Network: The Future of Social Services for Older Americans
Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 2006.

Hearing before the Special Committee on Aging, United States Senate, 109th Congress, 2d session, Washington, D.C., May 3, 2006.

Issues in Focus: Social Security Reform
Findings and links from the Urban Institute.

Gratton, Brian. " The Poverty of Impoverishment Theory: The Economic Well-Being of the Elderly, 1890-1950," Journal of Economic History 56(1), 1996, 39-61.
Off-Campus Link Restricted Access.

" Bush's House of Cards: The Privatization Fraud [Special section]," American Prospect 16(2), February 2005, p. A1-A23
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

Hudson, Robert B. " The New Political Environment in Aging: Challenges to Policy and Practice," Families in Society 86(3). July/September 2005, 321-7.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

Data Sources on Older Americans 2009
"Highlights the contents of government-sponsored surveys and products containing statistical information about the older population."

African Americans

Some relevant subject keywords that you can use in the Library Catalog include:

African Americans Social Conditions
African Americans Civil Rights History
Segregation in Education United States
Discrimination in Employment United States History

Murray, Charles A. Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980. New York, Basic Books, 1984.
Dana Call Number: HN59 .M87 1984

Bane, Mary Jo. Race, Poverty and Public Policy. March 2005

Alston, Reginald J. "African Americans with Disabilities and the Social Security Administration's Return-to-Work Incentives," Journal of Disability Policy Studies 14(4), Spring 2004, 216-221.
Review of SSCI policies and the cultural variables specific to African Americans that may negate return-to-work incentives.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

Quadagno, Jill. " Race and American Social Policy," National Forum 76(3), Summer 1996, 35-38.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

Williams, David R. and Jackson, Pamela Braboy. "Social Sources of Racial Disparities in Health," Health Affairs 24(2), March/April 2005, 325-334.
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access

Minter, Thomas K. and Alfred E Prettyman. "Education," Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. New York, Macmillan, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 846-876.
Overview of the history of African-American education from slavery thru current issues involving school choice. Includes a lengthy bibliography.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .E54 1996.


Latino Encyclopedia. Richard and Rafael Chabran, editors. New York, Marshall Cavendish, 1996. 6 vols.
More than 1900 entries ranging from several paragraphs to signed full-length articles with annotated bibliographies relating to the Latino experience in the United States.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E184 .S75L57 1996.

Latinos in the United States: A Historical Bibliography. Albert Camarillo (ed.), Santa Barbara, Calif., ABC-Clio, 1986.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E184 .S75L38 1986

Chicano Database
c. 1960- . Index to some 130 journals, as well as books, book chapters, popular magazines, and newspapers relating to Chicanos/Chicanas and Mexican Americans. From 1992 forward, includes records for material on the broader Latino experience, including Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Central American immigrants.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

Martinez-Ebers, Valerie et at. "Latino Interests in Education, Health, and Criminal Justice Policy," PS: Political Science and Politics 33(3), September 2000, 547-554.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

The Social Security Program and Reform: A Latino Perspective. June 2005
From the National Council of La Raza.

Canino-Arroyo, Maria Josefa. "Reflections on Latino Advocacy and Welfare Reform in New Jersey," Centro Journal 15(1), Spring 2003, 176-195.


To find books on immigrants in the United States search The Library Catalog. Some relevant subject keywords include:

      Immigrants United States
      Immigrants United States Social Conditions
      United States Emigration and Immigration
      United States Emigration and Immigration Government Policy

Encyclopedia of American Immigration. James Ciment, Immanuel Ness, editors. Armonk, N.Y., M.E. Sharpe, 2000. 4 vols.
Immigration history; immigration issues (causes, demographics, acculturation, laws and legislation, politics, economics, etc.); and immigration documents (laws, treaties, court cases, reports, etc.).Volumes 3 and 4 contain articles on specific immigrant groups in America.
Dana Call Number: Ref. JV6465.E53 2000

Padilla, Yolanda C. " Immigrant Policy: Issues for Social Work Practice," Social Work 42(6), November 1997, 595-606.
Off-Campus AccessRutgers-restricted Access

Executive Summary: U.S. Immigration: A Legislative History
"Highlights the history of U.S. immigration legislation and the parallel rise and fall in numbers and changing ethnic makeup." From the Population Resource Center.

S.2611: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006: Summary
Summary of the bill passed by the U.S. Senate on May 25, 2006.

2007 Enacted State Legislation Related to Immigrants and Immigration. August 6, 2007
"As of July 2, 2007, no fewer than 1404 pieces of legislation related to immigrants and immigration had been introduced among the 50 state legislatures. From January to July 2nd 2007, 170 bills became law in 41 states." From the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Summary of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP)
December 15, 2009

Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850 to 1990
22 Detailed tables.

Barry, Tom. Immigration Debate: Politics, Ideologies of Anti-Immigration Forces. June 17, 2005.
An Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC) Americas Program Special Report.

Enforcement and Removal Operations, Newark Field Office, Elizabeth Conract Detention Facility, Newark, New Jersey
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Office of Detention Oversight. January 31-February 2, 2012.
Report on a Compliance Inspection (CI) of the Elizabeth Contract Detention Facility.


Veteran Data & Information
From the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Benefit History
Brief overview of benefits from the Revolutionary era to Vietnam. From PBS.

A History of Public Sector Pensions in the United States.
Robert L. Clark, Lee A. Craig, and Jack W. Wilson. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. Available?

Veterans Benefits and Services
From the 2008 Green Book.

What VA Social Workers Do

Wheeler, Darrell P. and Martha Bragin. Bringing It All Back Home: Social Work and the Challenge of Returning Veterans," Health & Social Work 32(4), November 2007, pp.297-300.

The Mentally Ill

To find books on the treatment of the mentally ill search IRIS, the Rutgers online catalog. Some relevant subject headings include:

Mentally Ill Care United States
Mental Illness United States

"History of Mental Health Services," IN Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Md., National Institute of Mental Health, 1999. Chapter 2, pp. 75; 78-80.

Grob, Gerald N. " The Transformation of the Mental Hospital in the United States," American Behavioral Scientist 28(5), May/June 1985, 639-654.
Off-Campus Link Restricted Access.

The Mentally Disabled

To find books on the treatment of the mentally disabled search IRIS, the Rutgers online catalog. Some relevant subject headings include:

People with Mental Disabilities United States
People with Mental Disabilities Institutional Care United States

Goode, David. "A Short History of the Treatment of Persons With Mental Retardation," IN "And Now Let's Build a Better World": The Story of the Association for the Help of Retarded Children, New York City 1948-1998. New York, AHRC, 1998. Chapter 1, pp.6-17.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers web sites to: or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback Form.