The Role of the Social Worker in the Political Process: Adoption in New York State

Barbara J Wells, Fordham University


The question raised in this thesis is: How does the social work profession use the political process to create changes in social welfare policy and services? Specifically, how does this occur in the process of adoption in New York State? The question is relevant, as the profession is in the process of re-examining its methods of dealing with social problems. The traditional methodologies of casework and group work, which are based on the psychiatric model, have stressed therapy as a remedy for solving the social dysfunction of individuals. Further, these services have been traditionally offered under the auspices of private philanthropy. Policy has been controlled by welfare councils, community chests, and voluntary social agencies with boards composed of members of the business and industrial elite. The political sector did not become involved with creation of policy or allocation of resources for health and welfare needs on any sizable scale until the depression. Legislative action was then required to meet the economic problems of the nation which affected large portions of the population. During the 1960's the War on Poverty has brought still another massive re-analysis of the causes of social problems. It is felt that the solutions to these problems will require legislative action on a scale never before envisioned. Thus, the political sector in a few short years has moved into a position of leadership. Many social work leaders feel that in order to be of influence in the future, the profession must adapt to this change.

Subject Area

Social work

Recommended Citation

Wells, Barbara J, "The Role of the Social Worker in the Political Process: Adoption in New York State" (1968). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30308726.