Social Policy and the Family
In the 20th century, the United States and other Western nation-states enacted numerous social programs to provide support to workers and their families. These “welfare state” measures were intended to soften the hardships of the labor market and create a family wage. In the aftermath of the family wage system, no dominate vision of the family has emerged. Instead, family policy remains a highly contentious topic. In debates over family policy, conservatives often claim that they want to keep government from intruding into family life. But the government has already intervened in family life; social welfare legislation from the 1930s and through the 1950s was designed to support the breadwinner-homemaker family. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to propose measures that would benefit single parents and those married couples in which wives work outside the home more than they would benefit breadwinner-homemaker families. Conservative legislators tend to resist such proposals.
This final paper will be a policy proposal addressing a family problem that interests you. Organize the paper around the following concepts:
• Describe the problem as it relates to families. What is the significance of the problem for society?
• Descript the research evidence that speaks to the significance of the problem for families and for society. Summarize actual policies and programs that address the problem.
• What is your policy proposal? Describe the research evidence that speaks to the effectiveness of your proposed policy solution. If your policies were enacted, what might be the implications for family well-being?
• Finally, do you feel that government is inappropriately invading family life, or that it could do more to help families? Should it promote one type of family?