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

Social Welfare Policy and Services: Target Populations: Women, Children, The Elderly

Resources that you can use when seeking information on current and historical social welfare policies, issues, and services in the U.S.

What's Here?

A selection of resources about the history, issues, characteristics, and policies relating to specific groups.

Target Populations: The Elderly

Thomas Paine. Agrarian Justice. 1797.
Paine advocated the creation of a national fund, financed by a tax on inherited property, that would pay every person 10 Pounds annually once they reached the age of 50.

Williamson, John B. " Old Age Relief Policy Prior to 1900," American Journal of Economics and Sociology 43(3), July 1984, 369-384.
"Between the 17th and the 19th centuries old age relief policy in America became increasingly restrictive." Rutgers-restricted Access

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. Rutgers-restricted Access

A Profile of Older Americans, 2017
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.

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

Target Populations: Women and Children

Women and Children

Women and Children in the Labor Force

Report on Manufactures.
Alexander Hamilton. December 5, 1791.
Excerpt from Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton's report to the House of Representatives on how he thinks industries should operate in the new nation. Section 3 ("As to the additional employment of classes of the community not originally engaged in the particular business") encourages the employment in manufacturing of women and children "who are rendered more useful...than they would otherwise be."
The Triangle Factory Fire
Cornell University Kheel Center's virtual exhibit of photographs, primary documents, and oral histories relating to the 1911 fire in a New York City sweatshop.
"Child Labor Laws,"
IN Growth of Labor Law in the United States. U.S. Department of Labor, 1967, pp.7-58.
Historical development and evolution of federal and state child labor legislation. Dana Call Number: SuDocs L1.2:L41/967
"State Child Labor Laws and the Decline of Child Labor,"
Carolyn M. Moehling. Explorations in Economic History 36(1), 1999, 72-106.
"Between 1880 and 1930, the occupation rate of children age 10 to 15 fell by over 75%. This paper examines whether state laws restricting the employment of child labor contributed to this decline." Rutgers-restricted Access.
Child Labor in New Jersey: Part 3: The Working Children of Newark and Paterson."
Nettie McGill. Washington, DC, Children's Bureau, 1931
One of a series of studies of child welfare in New Jersey by the Children's Bureau in 1925. According to the 1920 census, 25 percent of Newark's 14 and 15 year-olds were in the work force. Looks at data relating to termination of school life, occupations, wages, unemployment and steadiness at work.
Child Labor Reform Exhibit
From the Wirtz Labor Library at the U.S. Department of Labor.
"The Dilemma in Saving Children From Child Labor: Reform and Casework at Odds With Families' Needs (1900-1938),"
Stadum, Beverly. Child Welfare 74(1), January/February 1995, 33-55.
"This article...[examines] the role of social workers in implementing the new reforms and the reactions of parents and children in low-income households who were affected by the legislative changes." Rutgers-restricted Access
" Children's and Mothers' Wage Labor in Three Eastern U.S. Cities, 1880-1920,"
S.J. Kleinberg. Social Science History 29(1), 2005, 45-76.
"Explores the variations in children's and mothers' labor...between 1880 and 1920. It finds that child labor and education legislation resulted in a decrease in children's employment and increased the likelihood that mothers would take paid jobs." Rutgers-restricted Access.


Women's Rights in the United States : A Documentary History
Winston E. Langley and Vivian C. Fox, eds. 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?
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
Books, images, essays, and primary documents organized around "document projects" that pose a question relating to the role of women in U.S. social movements. Rutgers-restricted Access.
Bibliography About the U.S. Suffrage Movement
Book list from the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership.
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


Orphans, Adoption and Foster Care

Olasky, Marvin. The Rise and Fall of American Orphanages
Chapter 5 of Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century. Richard B. McKenzie, editor. Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sage, 1999.

Brace, Charles Loring. "The Life of the Street Rats," Excerpt from The Dangerous Classes of New York and Twenty Years Work Among Them. New York, Wynkoop & Hallenbeck, 1872.
Founder of New York City's Children's Aid Society, Brace began the "orphan trains" program that sent thousands of New York area "orphans" to families in the Mid-West.

Cook, Jeanne F. "A History of Placing-Out: The Orphan Trains," Child Welfare 74(1), January/February 1995, 181-197.
"Between 1854 and 1930, the placing-out or orphan train strategy, considered to be the forerunner of modern family foster care, relocated approximately 150,000 children and youths from the city of New York to families in the Midwest." Rutgers-restricted Access

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."Rutgers-restricted Access

Today's Children

The State of America's Children 2017
"A comprehensive look at the status of America’s children in 11 areas: child population, child poverty, income and wealth inequality, housing and homelessness, child hunger and nutrition, child health, early childhood, education, child welfare, juvenile justice and gun violence. " From the Children's Defense Fun

State of America's Children in New Jersey 2017
Data from the Children's Defense Fund.

Major Federal Legislation Concerned with Child Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption
The Children's Bureau, 2016
A summary of Federal legislation since 1974 that has had a significant impact on the field. Includes an overview of each act and its major provisions. The full text of the acts can be found on Information Gateway’s Index of Child Welfare Laws
Child Welfare Enacted Legislation Database
"Search 2012-2017 enacted child welfare legislation in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico by state, topic, keyword, status and/or primary author." From the National Conference of State Legislatures.

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office.
Annual reports from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

Kids Count Data Book
Project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, annually tracks the status of children in the U.S., nationally and state-by-state.

National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) 1997-2014 and 2015-2022.
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."

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.