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Abstracts from Volume 30, Number 3
(September, 2003)

Generational Equity, Generational Interdependence, and the Framing of the Debate Over Social Security Reform
John B. Williamson, Tay K. McNamara, & Stephanie A. Howling
This article analyzes the differences between the generational equity and generational interdependence conceptual packages used to frame arguments in the debate over policies such as Social Security reform. It begins with a history of the generational equity debate. This is followed by an analysis of the assumptions, values, and beliefs that inform each of these two ideological frames. It presents an analysis of why the generational equity frame has dominated the debate and highlights some of the limitations of this perspective.

The Culture of Race, Class, and Poverty: The Emergence of a Cultural Discourse in Early Cold War Social Work (1946-1963)
Laura Curran
Through a primary source historical analysis, this article discusses the emergence of a cultural discourse in the early cold war (1946-1963) social work literature. It traces the evolution of social work's cultural narrative in relation to social scientific perspectives, changing race relations, and increasing welfare caseloads. Social work scholars originally employed their cultural discourse to account for racial and ethnic difference and eventually came to examine class and poverty from this viewpoint as well. This cultural framework wrestled with internal contradictions. It simultaneously celebrated and problematized cultural difference and foreshadowed both latter twentieth century multiculturalism as well as neo-conservative thought.

The Lived Experience of Welfare Reform in Drug-UsingWelfare-Needy Households in Inner-City New York
Eloise Dunlap, Andrew Golub, & Bruce D. Johnson
Welfare reform has transformed a needs-based family income support into temporary assistance for persons entering the workforce. This paper uses observations from an ethnographic study covering the period from 1995- 2001 to examine the impact on drug-using welfare-needy households in inner-city New York. The analysis suggests that studies may underestimate the extent to which substance use is associated with welfare problems. Nearly all of these already distressed households lost their AFDC/TANF benefits, had difficulty with work programs, and were having more difficulty covering expenses. The conclusion highlights ways to better study this population and policy initiatives that could help them reform their impoverished lives for themselves and their children.

Serving the "Hard-to-Serve": The Use of Clinical Knowledge in Welfare Reform
Rufina Lee & Laura Curran

This critical analysis of recent research and evaluations of welfare reform efforts describes how states have increasingly drawn on clinical knowledge in their efforts to move "hard-to-serve" recipients into the labor force. It argues that a clinical perspective is helpful as it brings attention to the mental health needs of low-income women. At the same time, however, this article suggests that states' use of a clinical framework is problematic in so far as it based on limited knowledge, dampens a broad discussion of the relationship between poverty and mental health, contributes to policy ambiguity, and increases recipient oversight.

Prevalence of Child Welfare Services Involvement among Homeless and Low-Income Mothers: A Five-year Birth Cohort Study
Jennifer F. Culhane, David Webb, Susan Grim, Stephen Metraux, & Dennis Culhane
This paper investigates the five-year prevalence of child welfare services involvement and foster care placement among a population-based cohort of births in a large US city, by housing status of the mothers (mothers who have been homeless at least once, other low-income neighborhood residents, and all others), and by number of children. Children of mothers with at least one homeless episode have the greatest rate of involvement with child welfare services (37%), followed by other low-income residents (9.2%), and all others (4.0%). Involvement rates increase with number of children for all housing categories, with rates highest among women with four or more births (33%), particularly for those mothers who have been homeless at least once (54%). Among families involved with child welfare services, the rate of placement in foster care is highest for the index children of women with at least one episode of homelessness (62%), followed by other low-income mothers (39%) and all others (39%). Half of the birth cohort eventually involved with child welfare services was among the group of women who have ever used the shelter system, as were 60% of the cohort placed in foster care. Multivariate logistic regression analyses reveal that mothers with one or more homeless episodes and mothers living in low-income neighborhoods have significantly greater risk of child welfare service involvement (OR = 5.67 and OR = 1.51, respectively) and foster care placement (OR = 8.82 andOR= 1.59 , respectively). The implications for further research, and for child welfare risk assessment and prevention are discussed. Specifically, the salience of housing instability/homelessness to risk of child welfare service involvement is highlighted.

Spousal Abuse: Vietnamese Children's Reports of Parental Violence
Yoko Baba & Susan B. Murray
This exploratory study used mailed questionnaires completed by 131 Vietnamese students to examine domestic violence patterns in parents' marital relationships. Research objectives included: (1) gaining an understanding of spousal abuse among Vietnamese couples; and (2) assessing which variables (demographic characteristics, decision-making power, and cultural adaptation, beliefs in traditional gender roles, and conflicts in the family) are correlated with spousal abuse. Findings suggest that although both parents used reasoning, mental abuse and physical abuse in their marital relationships, Vietnamese fathers were more likely to be physically abusive than mothers. Additional variables associated with family conflicts are also examined. Research implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.

The Social Problem of Depression: A Multi-theoretical Analysis
Rich Furman Kimberly Bender
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the social problem of depression from a multi-theoretical perspective. It explores depression through the lens of two psychologically based theories of human behavior, existential theory and cognitive theory, as well as through the vehicle of two sociological theories, Marxist theory and the theory of oppression. By understanding how each of these theories explains depression, social workers may be helped to see the complexity of treating the problem. It is the belief of the authors that social work literature, which is often dominated by reductionist, quantitatively based research studies, has increasingly ignored theoretical explorations of key social problems such as depression, to the determent of the profession and the disciplines which inform it.

Indicators for Safe Family Reunification: How Professionals Differ
Brad R. Karoll & John Poertner
Many professionals who work with substance-affected families consider the time limits prescribed by the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) to be unrealistically short. The high prevalence of substance use in child welfare cases requires professionals to quickly determine when it is safe to reunify children placed because of abuse or neglect in concert with this serious family problem. This exploratory study identified similarities and differences on different indicators of safe reunification between judges who hear juvenile cases, private agency child welfare caseworkers, and substance abuse counselors. The study examined these professionals' rating of the importance of each indicator. Judges, caseworkers, and counselors from a large midwestern state were surveyed. All groups agreed on the importance of 15 of the 19 identified areas of functioning. Judges and substance abuse counselors significantly differed on four factors; counselors and caseworkers differed on two. Implications of the findings for practice are discussed.

Book Reviews
Emotionally Involved: The Impact of Researching Rape.
Rebecca Campbell
Reviewed by Laura S. Abrams

Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments
Kevin J. Christiano, William H. Swatos Jr., & Peter Kivisto
Reviewed by Ram A. Cnaan

The Assault on Social Policy
William Roth

Reviewed by Larry Nackerud

The Making of the Chinese Industrial Workplace: State, Revolution and Labor Management
Mark W. Frazier
Reviewed by M. K. Lee

Tramps, Unfit Mothers and Neglected Children: Negotiating the Family in Late Nineteenth Century Philadelphia
Sherri Broder
Reviewd by Leslie Leighninger

Colored White: Transcending the Racial past
David R. Roediger
Reviewed by Kurt C. Organista

Book Notes
Drug Courts in Theory and Practice
James L. Nolan Jr.

Fatherhood Arrested: Parenting from Within the Juvenile Justice System
Ann M. Nurse

The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform
Martin B. Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman

Prostitution Policy: Revolutionizing Practice through a Gendered Perspective
Lenore Kuo

Practicing Sociology: Selected Fields
Robert A. Dentler

Strangers and Kin: The AmericanWay of Adoption
Barbara Melosh

 

 

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