Speaker looks at New York’s experience with welfare reform

The damaging impact of welfare reform on social service delivery in the US is the subject of a talk presented by York’s School of Social Work in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies tonight, 7 to 9:30pm, in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson Bldg.

Mimi AbramovitzSpeaker Mimi Abramovitz’s lecture, titled “The Largely Untold Story of Welfare Reform and the Human Services” is based on the published report: In Jeopardy: The Impact of Welfare Reform on Non-Profit Human Service Agencies (United Way of New York City, 2002).

Right: Mimi Abramovitz

Abramovitz, professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work, City University of New York, will explain how and why welfare reform in the United States has placed the lives of clients, the jobs of social workers, and the mission of agencies in jeopardy. Based on interviews with senior staff at each of 107 non-profit human service agencies, Abramovitz documents the largely untold story of how non-profit social agencies workers responded to the impact of welfare reform on their clients, their jobs, and the delivery of services.

Workers reported less time for social services due to welfare-related regulations, penalties, work mandates, crises; and paper work. They also reported more service dilemmas including less control of the job, more ethical conflicts, less efficacy, and increased burn-out. Even so, workers felt that they were making a difference and agencies indicated increased advocacy. Relying heavily on the voice of social workers, the talk illuminates the experiences and feeling of agency staff as they try to do their best for clients in difficult times. Programs similar to US welfare reform have been implemented internationally, often modeled on the US policy. A key question is: How does “welfare reform” in the US compare to similar policies in Canada?

The lecture is supported by: York’s Office of the Dean, Atkinson Faculty; the Centre for Feminist Research; the Centre for Refugee Studies; and the School of Social Sciences. It is open to all and refreshments will be provided.