Social policy is problem oriented; that is, it attempts to improve the lives of people who need help in meeting certain needs. If people where able to meet their needs through their own efforts, society would not need to develop programs to help them (Burger, 2014, p. 277).
Some of the issues that surface when setting social policy is what problems to address, who deserves help and how to deliver the help. We see the question of “who to help” today in our politics in a way that is disheartening and alarming.
Our current administration, #45, has made a concentrated and hateful effort, to divide Americans and draw lines in the sand as it relates to who deserves to be here and who does not. Once it is determined who deserves to be here in this country, he and his political thugs are revising policies to help only those who they believe deserve it. Those who deserve it, more often that not, look like them.
Another barrier is how to deliver services to people. With millions of dollars being cut from social program budgets, not only are social service workers going to lose the their jobs but entire departments and agencies are being eliminated and as a result, we may see a new population of social services clients, those that once assisted in providing services. With these drastic budget cuts, it will become more difficult to get resources to people.
The stereotype about the social service population of Americans being “poor” is one I addressed in my last paper. Economic status is not a pre-requisite or eliminating factor. A woman with a GED and no work history with 3 kids who is abused will need the same level of support as a woman with 3 kids whose abusive husband is a millionaire, but she never worked a job because she spent her entire life raising kids and supporting him.
Two completely different scenarios but a needs assessment will show very similar needs as both women moved from an abusive partner with very limited resources. Once we realize that what unites all of us is greater than what divides us, we all will be better off.
As far as who “deserves” to be helped, I reply the breathing. Everyone has value, purpose and meaning. Everyone. Not unless someone is a Charles Manson personality, unrepentant and unredeemable, we should do our very best to help them, but they need to participate in the help. People must be willing to do the work to become better, stronger and viable…and even if they are not, we have to help them anyway. We cannot leave people dead on the side of road of life.
Our compassion is what make us, us. It is what separates us from the rest of the world and we cannot lose touch with that because we are tired, aggravated and frustrated with paying higher taxes. Our savior said in Matthew 26:11 that we will always have the poor amongst us so we may as well adjust accordingly,
Another stereotype that exists within this social service population is that they are lazy. Maybe some are but maybe they are depressed. People that are tired all the time, immobile, inactive and stationary could be clinically depressed and suffering from medical issues. Iron deficiency or insomnia. It is hard to rest properly if you are stressed out worrying about how you are going to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head.
We must have a livable wage in this country and people must be taught to live below their means. Wholistic education in middle school would be a great place to start. Kids know how to do geometry but have never been taught how to balance a check book or how to select the best credit card with the best interest rate.
Our schools are failing because they are not teaching practical life skills as it relates to health, sex education and health. It is ultimately the parent’s responsibility, but if parents are not equipped our schools should pick up the slack and we should along with our legislators propose legislation that is pro-active as opposed to reactive.
It is always easier to solve a problem before it becomes a problem.
Burger, W. R. (2014). Human Services in Contemporary America.
Dana L. Perry The Budding Professor Auspicious Living Magazine