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Social Welfare Policy for a Sustainable Future

Social Welfare Policy for a Sustainable Future
The U.S. in Global Context

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March 2015 | 448 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Unique in its use of a sustainability framework, Social Welfare Policy for a Sustainable Future goes beyond U.S. borders to examine U.S. government policies—including child welfare, social services, health care, and criminal justice—within a global context. Guided by the belief that forces from the global market and globalization affect all social workers in their practice, the book addresses a wide range of relevant topics, including the refugee journey, the impact of new technologies, war trauma, global policy instruments, and restorative justice. A sustainability policy analysis model and an ecosystems framework for trauma-informed care are also presented in this timely text.

See how EPAS core competencies are addressed in the text’s chapters.

Part I. Foundations of Social Welfare Policy
1. Social Work and Social Policy: A Sustainability Framework
Definitions and Standards  
The Welfare State in the Face of Challenges  
Challenges to Social Welfare: Power, Exploitation, and Unintended Consequences  
Social Welfare Policy and Social Work  
2. Historical Foundations of Social Welfare Policy
Feudalism and the Rise of Capitalism  
The American Experience: “Exceptionalism” and Its Discontents  
The Civil War and Its Aftermath  
The Progressive Era (1900 to World War I)  
The Mid-20th Century: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and Beyond  
The Backlash: Late 20th Century and the Modern Era  
3. Purpose and Structure of Social Welfare Policy
The Religious Underpinnings of Social Welfare  
The Practical Application of Values  
American Exceptionalism and the Corporation  
4. Environmental Sustainability and the Social Work Profession
A Brief Eco History  
The Planet in Crisis: The Scope of Environmental Loss and Damage  
Food, Water, and Population Growth  
Modern Agriculture and the Loss of Biodiversity  
The Promise of Social Work  
Social Welfare Policy Considerations  
5. Poverty and Inequality by Suzanne McDevitt
Poverty and Inequality in the 21st Century  
Defining and Measuring Poverty  
6. Minority Groups and the Impact of Oppression
Systemic Examples of Oppression  
Progress and Backlash  
Culturally Competent Social Work Practice  
Part II. Policies to Meet Human Needs
7. Child Welfare
The Convention on the Rights of the Child  
The CRC in Practice  
8. Sustainable Health Care Policies
History of U.S. Health Care Reform  
The Affordable Care Act  
Disability Policy  
Global Perspectives on Health Policy  
9. Mental Health Care Policy
Mental Health Issues: Definitions and Challenges  
Historical Views of Mental Health and Illness  
Social Aspects of Mental Illness  
Social Programs for Better Mental Health  
Trauma and the Social Work Response  
10. Sustainable Policy for Older Adults by Christina L. Erickson
Aging Worldwide: An Overview  
The Development of Programs for Older Americans  
Older Adults in Society  
Housing and Long-Term Care  
Sustainable Policy for Older Adults: An Intergenerational Approach  
11. Human Rights
Immediate Threats to Human Rights: War and Guns  
The United Nations and Universal Human Rights  
The Role of Social Work in Human Rights  
12. Sustainability Policy Analysis and Policy Practice
Defining Policy Analysis  
How Are Social Policies Made?  
Sustainability and Policy  
Progressive Policy Analysis for a Sustainable Future  
From Policy Analysis to Policy Practice  
Ethical Issues Relevant to Social Change Efforts  
Drawing on Our Social Work Imagination  
Appendix A: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Appendix B: Relevant Internet Sites
About the Authors
About the Contributors


Instructor Teaching Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Chapter summaries from the book summarize key concepts to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Lively and stimulating ideas for class activities can be used in class to reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.
  • Discussion questions from the book help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content. 
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Mobile-friendly web quizzes allow for independent assessment of progress made in learning course material.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Video and multimedia links are designed to supplement key points within the text.
  • Web exercises direct both instructors and students to useful and current web sites, along with creative activities to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics. 
  • Web resources are included for further research and insights.

A text with both critical thinking and sustainability focus.

Stephanie Warnecke Adams, Eastern Kentucky University

[Van Wormer and Link] provide a timely examination of the impact of globalization on the social welfare state and conclude with a powerful section linking policy analysis to practice. I highly recommend this book for BSW and MSW programs seeking to significantly integrate sustainability content into their policy courses.

W. Jay Gabbard, Western Kentucky University

This excellent book is very relevant to twenty-first century social welfare policy. I highly recommend it.

John Graham, Florida Atlantic University

Dr. van Wormer and Dr. Link have written the book those of us concerned with sustainable global policy have been longing to find. They present an inspiration, challenging the social work imagination to find creative solutions for sustainable future policymaking.

Dr. Marta Vides Saade, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Key features


  • A unique organizational framework examines current policies through the lens of sustainability.
  • Thinking Sustainably boxes link chapter content to the theme of sustainability.
  • Guidelines for sustainable policy analysis for each step draw on a framework that can be used for program evaluation and class projects.
  • Boxed readings on social work practice in such countries as South Korea, Ghana, Norway, the UK, and Nicaragua are included.
  • Thought-provoking photographs and narratives relate the personal with the political.
  • Pedagogy includes up-to-date charts, statistical tables, and end-of-chapter critical thinking questions.
  • Attention to human rights articles as contained in the UN Declaration is consistent with the 2015 CSWE emphasis on human rights.
  • An ecosystems framework for trauma-informed care is also presented in the text.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

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