Programs to serve the poor have evolved sporadically in the U.S. The first period of program expansion took place in the mid-1930s during the “New Deal” when the Roosevelt Administration introduced a range of social insurance and welfare programs in response to the Great Depression. The second expansionary period occurred in the decade following President Johnson’s call for a “War on Poverty.” Most recently social welfare program was curtailed. In 1996, Congress passed and President Clinton signed a welfare reform bill that represented a sharp break with past social welfare policy for the poor. This course analyzes the origins of current U.S. social welfare policies and programs and examines their effects on poverty, work and the family. The course reviews recent social science research, emphasizing how antipoverty policies are influenced by and affect trends in the labor market and family structure. The first half of the course focuses primarily on the period from 1965-1996. It analyzes the pre-1996 evolution of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and other social welfare programs and policies that shaped the social safety net. The second half of the course begins with President Clinton’s 1992 promise “to make work pay and end welfare as we know it” and covers the evolution and implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 and new developments in service delivery and labor market strategies for the poor.
This course is offered in two sections: Section -001 meets for half a semester and is taken for 2 credits; section -002 meets the whole term and is taken for 3 credits.