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Class Descriptions

Essentials of Social Welfare Policy


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

This course surveys the history of social welfare policy, services, and the social work profession. It explores current social welfare issues in the context of their history and the underlying rationale and values that support different approaches. Emphasis is placed on major fields of social work service such as: income support, health care, mental health, and services to the elderly. Analytic frameworks with regard to social welfare policies and services are presented. These frameworks identify strengths and weaknesses in the current social welfare system with respect to multiculturalism and diversity; social justice and social change; behavioral and social science theory and research; and social work relevant promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs and services in relation to diverse dimensions (including ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation).


Understand historical context and its current applications within the profession and practice (Essential 6, EPAS 7)
Recognize and address power dynamics; ensure voices are included (Essential 14; EPAS 6)
Understanding the current legislative processes (Essential 28; EPAS 2)
Understand strategies to advocate for social, economic and environmental justice and change, while protecting human rights (Essential 29; EPAS 2, 3)
Recognize the extent to which structures, policies and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, create or enhance privilege and power (Essential 30; EPAS 1, 2, 5)
Apply critical thinking to analyse, formulate and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice (Essential 34; EPAS 5)
Engage in policy practice to effect change (Essential 35; EPAS 5)
Understand and articulate the history and scope of social work practice and social welfare delivery systems and current applications within the profession (including inherent ambiguity) (Essential 39; EPAS 1, 5)
Understand frameworks of ethical decision making and how to apply critical thinking to those frameworks in practice, research and policy arena (Essential 44; EPAS 1, 5)


The course will utilize a combination of lectures, discussion, and in class exercises.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

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