Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy, 8th Edition

Diana M. DiNitto all

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Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy, 8th Edition

By Diana M. DiNitto, David H. Johnson
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For courses in Public Policy, History of Social Welfare, and Social Welfare Policy       


Acknowledged as the most comprehensive, easy-to-read introduction to social welfare policy available, Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy, 8th Edition, emphasises the current political aspects of policy making and major social welfare programs, including public assistance, Social Security, disability, health insurance, child welfare, and much more. Social Welfare does more than describe the major social welfare policies and programs; it also tackles the conflict and controversies involved in the processes and outcomes of policy making. It contrasts rational and political approaches to policy making, policy analysis, policy implementation, and policy evaluation. The authors present conflicting perspectives, encouraging students to think critically, to debate, and to consider their own views on issues.


Diana DiNitto is Cullen Trust Centennial Professor in Alcohol Studies and Education and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin where she teaches courses in social welfare policy, alcohol and drug problems, research, and pedagogy. She has a MSW degree and a Ph.D. in government from Florida State University. She has worked in detoxification, halfway house, and outpatient chemical dependency treatment programs. She is also coauthor of Chemical Dependency: A Systems Approach, Fourth Edition (Allyn & Bacon, 2012) and Social Work: Issues and Opportunities in a Challenging Profession, Third Edition (Lyceum Books, 2008). Her research is on substance abuse, violence against women, and social welfare policy. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and serves as a member of its Social Work Grand Challenges Executive Committee. Dr. DiNitto has served on the boards of the Council and Social Work Education, the Association for Medical Education and Research on Substance Abuse, and the Texas Research Society on Alcoholism. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Sydney (Australia), and Tallinn University (Estonia). She is an advocate for better-informed drug policies and often speaks on the subject.


David Johnson is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Millersville University. He teaches courses in social welfare policy from both economics and legal frameworks perspectives as well as macro practice and human behavior in the social environment across both undergraduate and graduate social work programs. He is a mediator certified to practice before the Texas courts and has developed electives in mediation at both the undergraduate and graduate level at Millersville. Dr. Johnson is the coauthor with Diana M. DiNitto of Essentials of Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy (Allyn & Bacon, 2013) and co-authored two chapters in the Seventh Edition of Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy (Allyn & Bacon, 2011). He has also authored or co-authored a number of instructor resources for Pearson in the policy area over the past several years. He has presented at numerous national and regional conferences. He was previously affiliated with the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of AIDS Services Coalition of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He has served on numerous boards of directors in several states and currently serves as President of the Lancaster County (PA) Medical Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Social Work Education.

  • Engages readers with an easy-to-read, informative, time-tested presentation that instructors have used for 35 years. New co-author, David Johnson, adds strength to the discussion of issues, particularly in critical issues such as healthcare.
  • Contrasts rational and political approaches to social welfare policy and provides models for analysing and evaluating social policies and programs to help students develop policy practice skills.
  • Presents contrasting points of view that place social welfare policymaking in dynamic perspective in the current policy environment.
  • UPDATED: Discusses the latest in public policies, such as the status of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), including major Supreme Court decisions. (See Chapter 8)
  • UPDATED: Considers alternatives to current social welfare policies and programs to help students think critically about public policy and what alternatives the U.S. should pursue. (i.e. Chapter 5 (How to modernise and keep Social Security and other social insurance programs solvent), Ch. 9 (How we can reduce income and other social inequalities), Ch. 7 (How we can promote responsible parenthood), Ch. 8 (How we can see that all Americans have health insurance), Ch. 9 (How we can reduce income and other social inequalities), and 10 (The war on drugs)).
  • UPDATED: Considers issues such as campaign finance, political contributions, and lobbying— topics often not covered in social welfare policy texts—to help students recognise the complexity of social welfare policies and programs. (See Chapter 1)
  • Considers six different ways to look at poverty and the different approaches to poverty that emanate from them (See Chapter 4); also looks at different perspectives from which to view disability and the different approaches that have resulted. (See Chapter 6)
  • Addresses issues of financing social welfare programs, including tax policy and federal budget deficits as well as the politics involved in influencing candidates and legislation through political action committees and campaign financing.
  • NEW: Presents the latest developments in LGBT rights such as the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and legislation and court decisions supporting same-sex marriage. (See Chapter 11)
  • UPDATED: Updated figures on poverty and health insurance coverage by age, race, and other sociodemographic factors help students see the current state of affairs and the changes that have occurred over time as a result of public policy.
  • UPDATED: Updated comparisons with other countries and international views help students see where the U.S. stands in relation to other countries and the approaches other countries use to helping those in need. Information is also provided on international conventions on children’s rights and on disability. (See Chapters 4, 7, and 8)
  • UPDATED: Updated illustrations (boxed inserts, examples, tables, charts) help students visualise how they can become involved in the policy making processes, connect policies and programs to real life examples, and evaluate public policy. (i.e. Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2)
  • NEW: New tables and figures help readers visualise changes, trends, and other facets of social welfare.


Table of contents
  • 1. Politics and the Policymaking Process
  • 2. Analyzing, Implementing, and Evaluating Social Welfare Policy
  • 3. Politics and the History of Social Welfare Policy
  • 4. Ending Poverty: Is It an Issue Anymore?
  • 5. Preventing Poverty: Social Insurance and Personal Responsibility
  • 6. Disability Policy: Embracing a Civil Rights Perspective
  • 7. Helping Needy Families
  • 8. Providing Healthcare: Can All Americans Be Insured?
  • 9. Preventing Poverty: Education and Employment Policy
  • 10. Providing Social Services: Help for Children, Older Americans, and Individuals with Mental and Substance Use Disorders
  • 11. The Challenges of a Diverse Society: Gender and Sexual Orientation
  • 12. The Challenges of a Diverse Society: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • Conclusion: Politics, Rationalism, and the Future of Social Welfare Policy