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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 308 • Health and Welfare Policy for the 21st Century

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47565 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
GSB 2.124

Course Description

This course provides a general overview of the foundation and development of American social policy. A key objective is to deepen your understanding of the formulation of public policy, in general, and how government impinges on many aspects of our lives- health, education, and economic security. A fundamental goal of the course is to sharpen your evaluation and decision-making skills as they apply to the contemporary social welfare debate.

Toward that end, we will examine different public policies and perspectives toward human resources, and the impact these have on social conditions and problems such as, the growing number of uninsured people in the United States. We will cover major policy areas that include income maintenance (social security and general assistance), health care (Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP), food and nutrition, and antipoverty programs (e.g., The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996). Additionally, we will be concerned with specific issues like immigration legislation and its effect on access to public aid, rationing health care to the old, the effects of devolution on welfare-to-work, new initiatives in child support enforcement, etc. Each class will focus on factors promoting or impeding health and welfare reform, and the social implications for such changes. Thus, there will be a special emphasis on current events and future prospects to support the poor, the young, the infirmed, and the old.

Although the format of the course is fairly structured and lecture-oriented, there will be a great deal of room for following-up on interesting and controversial issues through class participation. The amount of time devoted to discussion will depend on issues that are of greatest interest to you and your classmates.


Diana M. DiNitto, Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy, Fifth edition, Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon, (2000)
Kennedy, Michelle, Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless with Kids in America, New York: Penguin Books, (2006)
All class materials are available on the University Blackboard Learning System.


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