Social Work - Part 4

This is a Social Work research guide. It offers a variety of information to help you with your research needs

Social Program

Questions to Consider:

  1. Discuss the governmental social program that addressed your interviewees' social problem and was authorized and/or funded by the law you chose.
  2. Summarize research reports that evaluate the program's effectiveness at addressing the identified social welfare problem. In what ways has the program helped people or not- recently?
  3. Describe how one minority or vulnerable group was affected by the problem and the program. If no disparity exists, explain.
  4. Summarize findings and provide conclusions, including reflections about what you learned and how the information affected your perspective and attitudes about the social welfare problem and policy.

Resources:

  • 99% of the time your program has an updated website that is ran by a government entity. The website will end with .gov. There you will find most of the information on how to qualify and FAQs about the program.
  • Through ALICE you may be able to find government reports and books about your program; which can be SUPER helpful in understanding how the program operates and overview information.

Example from Exemplar Paper

Below are quotes, segments, etc. from the Exemplar Paper that directly apply to some of the questions to address.

Head Start’s primary goal is to increase access to quality early education and to improve school readiness to vulnerable children, including those who come from low-income families, who have a disability, and who make up racial and ethnic minorities (Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Heller School for Social Policy Management, Brandeis University, 2016). It is a nationally funded program operated through the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services (National Head Start Association, 2016). Head Start programs are administered by local community and school based organizations, and receive grants provided by the Regional Offices of the Department of Health and Human Services (National Head Start Association, 2016).

Head Start includes four programs: Head Start, Early Head Start, American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start and Early Head Start, and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start. Head Start serves preschool aged children (usually ages 3-5) who qualify based on their families’ income or due to disabilities. To qualify, family income must be at or below the poverty line. Children who are homeless, in foster care, or who have disabilities also qualify for Head Start (Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007). Early Head Start works with pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers to provide support in the crucial first three years of life, and follows the same qualification requirements as Head Start. American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start and Early Head Start focus on providing culturally competent care to address the specific needs of Native American children from birth through age five. Qualifications are also dependent on family income, assuming the family lives on a reservation. Finally, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start provide a stable education to children in families that move around frequently, many of whom would otherwise not get consistent early education. To qualify, the family’s income has to come primarily from agricultural work, and must be at or below the poverty level (Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007; Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Heller School of Social Policy Management, Brandeis University, 2016).

Research suggests that Head Start results in immediate advances in a child’s cognitive abilities, self-esteem, social skills, nutrition, and health overall (Washington & Bailey, 1995). Further, Head Start increases parental involvement in their child’s education, which has been associated with more long term benefits for the child (Washington & Bailey, 1995). Long term effectiveness is still a debated topic, as research has failed to come to a conclusion on whether or not Head Start leads to improved cognitive, social, and emotional skills throughout elementary school (Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy, Heller School for Social Policy Management, Brandeis University, 2016). Unfortunately, insufficient funding prevents Head Start from reaching close to 50% of children in low income families. Accessibility to Head Start varies by race and ethnic background, with white children having more access than children of color (Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy, Heller School for Social Policy Management, Brandeis University, 2016). However, Head Start has set the model for early childhood programs, and has facilitated research in developmental child psychology (Washington & Bailey, 1995).

Since 1965, Head Start has served 32 million children and their families (National Head Start Association, 2016). Given Head Start’s focus, these children are from families at or below the poverty line, are in foster care, or are children with disabilities. Head Start currently serves over one million children and their families annually in urban, suburban, and rural locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories (National Head Start Association, 2016).

References

Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, 42 U. S. C. §§ 635-657 (2007).

Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Heller School for Social Policy Management, Brandeis University (2016). “Head Start.” Diversity Data Kids: Data for a Diverse and Equitable Future, 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.diversitydatakids.org/data/policy/1/head-start

National Head Start Association. (2016). About Us: Mission, Vision, History. Retrieved from https://www.nhsa.org/about-us/mission-vision-history

National Head Start Association. (2016). Why Head Start: The Head Start Model. Retrieved from https://www.nhsa.org/why-head-start/head-start-model

Washington, V., & Bailey, U. J. O. (1995). Project Head Start: Models and Strategies for the Twenty-  First Century. New York, NY: Garland Publishing, Inc.