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Bshs 355 - Welfare and Human Service Professionals

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Welfare and Human Service Professionals

Kandyce McMillen

University of Phoenix


February 20, 2017

One may define welfare are simple as the health, happiness and fortune of a person or group of people. How is one cared for? Are their needs, in everyday life, being met with the most appropriate assistance available? The other definition that would pertain a bit more to what will be discussed, is a statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need, according to Google. That is what welfare reform set out to do in the 1930’s, after the Great Depression took place. There were other systems in place providing for the poor or less fortunate, but it was not enough. The simple thought that a government should be responsible for their own, in either sickness and in health (as if it were a marriage), seems to be the main objective. That is one of the most positive ways to keep this machine going—if we take care of our own, the way we should, then we can see better situations within our societies.

The issue of welfare or the controversy, as stated by our text, is that the proposals that were being considered some years ago by states regarding benefits to single mothers, would possibly or would actually have additional children, would become more and more dependent on the system that was set up in order for struggling families. The conservatives felt that way. The conservative opinion was that it is basically irresponsible to bring children into the world if one cannot adequately provide for them. Liberals, however, argued that society had an obligation to take care of those in need and that children should not be punished for the behavior of their parents. Questions regarding this issue are plentiful. Could not society find better ways of helping welfare mothers become independent of the welfare system? Better yet, cannot society find a way to end poverty (Burger, 2013)?

Women and children seems to be the target when it comes to the welfare system, although there are many men who are out of work as well. The other targeted members of this particular group would be those who are physically incapable of working to support themselves with, not just their financial needs when it comes to keeping a roof over their heads, but their medical needs as well. The services that were set in place were in the form of non-cash benefits, such as food stamps, which is now referred to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP. There are public housing subsidies and health insurance that helps to provide for the necessities mentioned earlier.

Our text discusses “thresholds” that are determined by the government, which in turn, determines who will be able to receive the assistance that is provided.  It states, that these thresholds are used mainly for statistical purposes, for instance, preparing estimates of the number of Americans in poverty each year. It further goes on to state, the poverty line, then, is the food budget for a family of a given size multiplied by three. Adjustments are made for changes in the cost of living in a given year. The poverty line, it goes on to say, should be taken as a general measure of economic well-being; it is not necessarily the income level used to determine eligibility for government assistance, a figure that varies by locality (Burger,2013). It states that it is not “necessarily” used to determine eligibility, but that seems to be a part of what is actually done. It is difficult, our text states, to provide a clear picture of welfare because it was not one program but many programs. Local, state, and federal governments were all involved in a complex, interlocking fashion. The basic responsibility rested with local (county or city) governments, which determined who was eligible for welfare and what benefits would be given. There was great variation in benefits paid by various states even when differences in chose of living were considered (Burger,2013).

According to the National Organization of Human Services, the field of Human Services is broadly defined. It is one which promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but also by seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery. Human services professionals is a generic term for people who hold professional and paraprofessional jobs in such diverse settings as group homes and halfway houses; correctional, intellectual disability, and community mental health centers; family, child, and youth service agencies, and programs concerned with alcoholism; drug abuse, family violence, and aging. However, the primary purpose of the human services professional is to assist individual and communities to function as effectively as possible in the major domains of living (

This targeted group, those who are in need or receive welfare, has its effects, not only on the communities in which they live, but on those who work in the profession to help provide assistance to them. According to our text, two major but muted struggles have developed among human services workers over the years. Both struggles involve money, status, and levels of responsibility. One conflict occurs between generalist human services workers and traditional professional human services workers. The other conflict occurs among traditional professional human services workers themselves.



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