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Research is key to the continued development of the theory and knowledge base of social work practice. The AASW supports the undertaking of research as a key activity to build and maintain the mission of the social work profession.
Research is an essential area of social work practice and is included in the AASW Practice Standards for Social Workers, (section 4.3), highlighting its importance to social work practice. Social workers are expected to “understand the role of research and evaluation in obtaining and generating new knowledge for practice.” (AASW 2013)
Social work research informs professional practice. Through social work research, the profession can: * Assess the needs and resources of people in their environments * Evaluate the effectiveness of social work services in meeting people needs * Demonstrate relative costs and benefits of social work services * Advance professional education in light of changing contexts for practice * Understand the impact of legislation and social policy on the clients and communities we serve Australia’s population is ageing. At the same time, spending on income support payments as a whole (and not just age pensions) is anticipated to increase. Without on-going high rates of economic growth, the nation will struggle to support its ageing population and those who rely on government income support (ABS, 2006). Australian governments have long recognized the need to increase workforce participation—to support economic growth, increase social participation and reduce welfare expenditure. Since 1974, the proportion of working age Australians receiving an income support payment has risen from a modest 5 per cent to around 20 per cent today. Around 2.6 million working age Australians currently receive some welfare payment. Strong economic growth since 1996 has lowered unemployment, but has done little to slow the growth in single parents and people with disabilities on welfare. The social impact of welfare dependency is high. Australia has a high proportion of people living in jobless families. Around 690,000 children live in households where no parent works. Many single-parent households in Australia rely heavily on both social security payments and child support. The Australian welfare system helps support individuals and families to balance their family and carer responsibilities with their paid work. A broad range of social support is provided via direct payments to individuals and families along with funding for services that provide economic and social support for those who are unemployed, on low incomes or who are otherwise disadvantaged. Both the Australian and State and Territory governments provide support for families through investment in education, health, and childcare and aged care services, among others.

In July 2006 the Australian government introduced a range of changes to the current system of income support provision. These changes, embodied in the Welfare to Work policy, had the broader aim of moving more welfare recipients into work and reducing dependency on welfare. The Welfare to Work reforms had a wide-ranging effect on government and non-government service providers as well as impacting some of the most marginalised of Australian population who receive income support.
Its also known as a reform package that tightened eligibility requirements for recipients of both Disability Support Pension (DSP), the income support payment for those unable to support themselves due to a physical or mental disability, and Parenting Payment (PP), the income support payment for sole parents and parents whose partner is not working or has a very low income. These far-reaching reforms were aimed at reducing the number of welfare recipients. In the case of DSP, anyone who was judged to be capable of working 15 hours per week was required to look for a job. PP recipients were required to look for part-time work once their youngest child reached school age.
Welfare-to-work is a shorthand term used for a range of policies aimed at getting non-employed people into paid work. While this has always been one of the objectives of social and economic policy, the current focus on paid work as the most important and central policy goal appears to represent a paradigmatic change in the nature of the social welfare systems. Its federal government project evaluating, which interventions help welfare recipients and other low-income people stay steadily, employed and advance in their jobs. Welfare-to-work programs focus on ‘active’ measures and stress the importance of ‘responsibilities’ for all people of working age to support them through employment. Goal: The purported main goal of this policy was to generate a "net contribution" to society from welfare recipients. Most commonly, this means getting unemployed people into paid work, reducing or eliminating welfare payments to them, and creating an income that generates taxes. Aim: The welfare to work main aim was to improve well-being for single parent families. So therefore, single parent families are key target of these policies as they are widely recognized to be the most financially disadvantaged family type (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007; McNamara et al. 2004; Marks 2007). Its aim is to break the cycle of poverty in which welfare dependence can become a way of life. Workfare participants may retain certain employee rights throughout the process, however, often workfare programs are determined to be "outside employment relationships" and therefore the rights of beneficiaries can be different.
The Welfare to Work changes focus on reducing the welfare bill in light of projected rates of social welfare dependency and Australia's ageing population. Despite the potential significance of these combined changes to low-income single-parent households, the intersection of the reforms was not considered.


HISTORICAL: Historically, welfare arrangements in Australia have implicitly recognized the value of parenting by requiring no or minimal additional activities to be undertaken. Between 1973, when the Commonwealth Supporting Mother’s Benefit was introduced by the Whitlam government, and 2002 there were no activity requirements attached to single parent income support payments. From September 2002 and following the recommendations of the McClure report (McClure, 2000) a compulsory interview with a personal adviser was introduced for single parents with a youngest child 12 years or over. From September 2003 the compulsory interview was extended to those with children aged 6-12 years, and those with children aged 13-15 years were required to engage in on average six hours a week of approved activities which could include volunteer work or study (Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), 2005a).

SOCIAL & ECONOMIC: The social politics of state-funded income support has changed less radically. Regardless of which government has been in power at the national level in Australia there has always been a deep suspicion of the able-bodied unemployed, the ‘undeserving poor’. What has changed, however, is that the category of undeserving has been expanding and claimants on the state are now treated as the ‘never-deserving poor’, with the political assumption being that those ‘genuinely not able to work’ are always a smaller group than those receiving income support at any given time (McDonald & Marston 2008). The framing of social problems that underpin claims for state support have been further individualized, with the problem of unemployment largely understood in behavioral terms, while the goal of education is limited to an instrumental question of curriculum that provides sufficient levels of ‘human capital’ that are needed for a demanding and discriminating labour market. The value of the arts and humanities in education for promoting a capacity for empathy and living the Socratic tradition of ‘an examined life’ are marginalized in this utilitarian vision of a good society (Nussbaum 2010). The present study aims to shift the policy focus from exploring the well being outcomes of paid work to exploring the well being outcomes of the welfare system itself (Butterworth2003a; Danzier, Kalil & Anderson 2000; Jayakody & Stauffer 2000; Cook, Davis, Smyth & McKenzie, 2009).
Liberal democratic governments rhetorically uphold the idea that each individual should be given maximum autonomy to achieve their own version of well-being; they should be the judge of their own best interest with respect to their version of the ‘good life’. Autonomy is often defined to stand for ‘self government’ or self-determination. The capacity for reflection of one’s motivational structure and the capacity to change it in response to reflection are two basic conditions relevant in contemporary accounts of individual autonomy (Mackenzie & Stoljar, 2000, p.13). In Welfare to Work strategy, it is possible to identify a number of rationales for this policy, for example to reduce public spending, to reduce ‘dependency’, to foster ‘inclusion’, and to promote equality by raising the incomes of the worst-off. A new comprehensive work capacity assessment can be introduced to better assess and connect people with services.

The Index considers network partnerships as the relationships between groups and organisations within a community or network that facilitate the ongoing maintenance and resourcing of programs (Bush, Dower, & Mutch, 2002a). These partnerships are beneficial to families who engage with services that seek to place families in contact with other "formal" community services. A new compliance framework will provide better incentives for people to meet their obligations.


There has been a marked decline in the number of Parenting Payment recipients since the introduction of the Welfare to Work reforms. The reforms were designed to push some recipients onto unemployment benefits, indicating that some of the change may be due to recipients moving onto Newstart Allowance. However, the reforms occurred at the same time as unemployment was dropping. This suggests that the positive result achieved was not simply due to Parenting Payment recipients being shuffled from one payment to another but instead moving off welfare altogether (Jessica Brown, 2009)
The impacts of the new legislation on single parent families as examined by Cameron, emphasised difficulties faced by parents forced to find fifteen hours of paid work when caring for more than one child, or a child with development problems (Cameron 2006: 3). When announcing the Welfare to Work Budget changes, the Minister noted that ‘these changes are designed to assist, support and encourage parents to return to work when their children are old enough to go to school’ (Andrews, 2005a).
It targets the lone or single mothers mostly, which aims to return lone parents to work. The job satisfaction of employed Australian single mothers who had mandatory employment participation requirements, in particular, to identify the characteristics of the job and the individual that were closely associated with participant's job satisfaction. These experiences have negative consequences for self-worth, relational autonomy, and ultimately the wellbeing of single parent families. Parents in welfare-to-work programs with increased resources tend to place children in higher quality childcare and after-school programs. Not surprisingly, as mothers move into full-time employment they tend to use formal childcare, such as centers and family-based home care, rather than informal arrangements. The maximum losses experienced by sole parents under the proposed system relative to the current system increase with the number of children. For example, for sole parents with five children, the maximum losses reach up to $107 a week for those with private incomes ranging from about $215 to $290 a week.
Children who grow up in jobless households have worse health, educational and developmental outcomes, and later in life become less likely themselves to be employed and more likely to have a low income. The pernicious effects of passive welfare on many Indigenous communities, maintaining that what was intended as a support mechanism has become a straitjacket that keeps welfare recipients in an ongoing state of dependency and disadvantage and locked out of economic participation (Noel Perason, 2009). The aim of these policy changes was to improve the labour market attachment of lone mothers, and in this way increase their ability to be self-sufficient and escape poverty. Despite a recent fall, income support reliance is at historically high levels. In the mid-1960s, about 3% of working-age people depended on income support as their main source of income. Over the subsequent four decades, welfare dependence has increased by more than 500% (Jeff Harmar, 2008). By 2006–07, 17% of working-age Australians received income support, and taxpayers were spending more than $25 billion on income support payments to working-age Australians. This represents a large opportunity cost: money that could instead be spent on tax cuts or public services. A high rate of welfare dependence in the community places an unfair burden on other taxpayers, who face ever-increasing tax bills to fund it. Furthermore, it may become unsustainable as an ageing population increasingly strains government budgets (Intergenerational Report 2007). Past Welfare to Work reforms have been shown to disadvantage welfare recipients who are already vulnerable to participation failures and incurring penalties, particularly the homeless, single parents, and those with drug and alcohol dependency or mental health issues. (Grace, Coventry and Wilson 2006: 21).

Not everyone is able to work, and the aim of the welfare system should be to provide a safety net for these people. However, individuals benefit from work while society as a whole benefits from high levels of workforce participation. Therefore, policymakers should aim—as much as possible—to reduce the number of people reliant on income support and increase the number of gainfully employed.
The Australian government purported that making the transition from welfare to work would improve wellbeing for program participants, under the assumption that 'any job's a good job'. However, the relatively low levels of job satisfaction experienced by single mothers in the current study provide little support for this assumption.
There are differing ways to characterize the system of payments and services that make up the Australian welfare system. It can be characterized as a liberal welfare system that consists primarily of selective means-tested entitlements that act as a safety net for those who are unable to participate in employment. The policy shifts include: * From promoting ‘rights’ to benefits to ‘responsibilities’ associated with benefits, * From ‘passive’ social policy based on eligibility to ‘active’ social policies based on ‘work first’, * From the ‘social protection’ of individuals and families with dependent children to the ‘social inclusion’ of all eligible citizens. These shifts represent profound changes in the nature, meaning and activities of the welfare state in the 21st century.
The welfare-to-work programs have led to some redefinition of the social worker role that has emerged out of the tension between the traditional social work values of promoting personal development and autonomy for program participants and the ‘work-first’ goals of achieving employment target outcomes and utilizing sanctions for non-compliance.
Some principles that welfare to work system should work are: * The system needs to work with and not against other forms of support for single parents and carer responsibilities. * Valued care should ground the welfare system’s feedback to paid work and family or care responsibilities in order to boost the choice. * The sysytem should support all types of families and carers combining paid work with caring and are enough malleable to meet the needs that arise throughout. * The synergy between welfare payments and tax sysytem needs to be kept at the centre of policy development, which affects families’ capacity to combine paid work and care.

The welfare-to-work policies and programs provided an opportunity to explore welfare reform at a number of different levels: rhetoric and discourse, policy goals and objectives, institutional structures and change, and service delivery and practice. It is clear that policy makers have turned away from ‘passive’ programmes of cash support in order to promote welfare-to-work for as wide a spectrum of people as possible. This has meant an increasing focus on those who require greater levels of assistance to help them find and sustain employment. This is where the boundaries with social services become more apparent, but also more difficult. Those delivering these services are expected to focus on labor market outcomes, in particular job placements, but the people they are dealing with may need a much wider range of specialist support to help them find, and sustain, employment. As job brokers, welfare-to-work staff seek to reach target numbers for people placed in entry-level work and their training and institutional support are unlikely to equip them for these wider or more specialist roles. On the other hand, social workers deal with poor people on a daily basis but their training and professional development appears not to provide an in-depth understanding of poverty and unemployment issues, and the obligations and requirements of public assistance. There is a considerable research, practice and training agenda to be developed in these areas, both for those who are developing policy and those who are delivering welfare-to-work services as well as those providing general social services.


The tax and welfare systems play an integral part in supporting people to undertake paid work and care and should ideally work in unison with legislative and workplace measures that support a shared work - valued care framework. The welfare system should avoid discriminating against some family types by providing them with less choice in their paid work and care arrangements. It should also cater to the variety of families and carers combining their responsibilities with paid work and be flexible enough to meet changing needs for care and support arising throughout the life course. Helping families manage changing roles, including sharing care better between partners is also important for good paid work and family balance and this is an obvious gap in the current system. A more streamlined system with support for people to navigate the various forms of assistance and services would be helpful, particularly people in vulnerable situations or those who are transferring from one type of paid work and family arrangement to another.

Andrews, K. (2005a), ‘Welfare to Work — Increasing Participation of Parents’, Budget 2005-06, Office of the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Parliament House, Canberra.

Australian association of social workers 1. Noel Pearson, Up from the Mission: Selected Writings (Melbourne: Black Inc., 2009). 2. Jeff Harmer, Pension Review Background Paper (Canberra: Department of Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 2008). 3. 12 Intergenerational Report 2007 (Canberra: The Treasury, 2 April 2007). 4. Jessica Brown, Breaking the Cycle of Family Joblessness in

Welfare to Work, Implications for your Patients

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...A social issue (also called a social problem or a social ill) is an issue that relates to society's perception of people's personal lives. Different societies have different perceptions and what may be "normal" behaviour in one society may be a significant social issue in another society. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. Some issues have both social and economic aspects, such asimmigration. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as wars. Thomas Paine, in Rights of Man and Common Sense, addresses man's duty to "allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves". The failure to do so causes the birth of a social issue. Personal issues versus social issues[edit] Personal issues are those that individuals deal with themselves and within a small range of their peers and relationships.[1] On the other hand, social issues threaten values cherished by widespread society.[1] For example, the unemployment rate of 7.8 percent[2] in the U.S. as of October 2012 is a social issue. The line between a personal issue and a public issue may be subjective, however, when a large enough sector of society is affected by an issue, it becomes a social issue. Although one person fired is not a social issue, the repercussions of 13 million people being fired is likely to generate social issues. Caste system[edit] Caste system in India resulted in most oppressed Untouchables on earth for the past 3000 years . UK recently banned caste system[1] and US is...

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Social Policy

...Social Policy Introduction Social Policy is an educational subject concerned with the lessons of social activities and the welfare condition. The Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics names social policy as "an interdisciplinary and practical subject concerned with the analysis of societies' reactions to social need. It search for foster in its students a aptitude to understand hypothesis and proof strained from a wide variety of social science regulations, including sociology, economics, geography, psychology, law, history, political science and philosophy. The name ‘Social policy’ is used to relate on the policies which governments use for social welfare and social security, on the methods in which social benefit is developed in the society and on the educational study of the subject. It also stands for a series of issues broaden far away from the procedures of government-the means by which welfare is encouraged, and the social and economic situations which outline the expansion of welfare. The principle areas of social policy are given below, * Social services, social safety ,community care, education; * Social troubles which includes crime, disability, old age ; * Race, gender, poverty are also included. Task-1 1.1 Identify the historical and contemporary landmarks in social policy and analysis the historical land marks of social and welfare Policies of historical and contemporary landmarks explain that how the qualities of existence...

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