Articles

Welfare Reform 1973: The Social Services Dimension

Science  10 Aug 1973:
Vol. 181, Issue 4099, pp. 515-522
DOI: 10.1126/science.181.4099.515

Abstract

The model outlined above is an advance over other proposals in the following respects. 1) The objectives of the public social services are related to the realities of at-risk target populations, but in a moderate and attainable fashion, borrowing from the approach already advanced by HEW. 2) It has proposed a composite target population, which permits the dimensions of the public social service program to be outlined and then reorganized by central function, rather than by coordination among conceptually unrelated units. 3) The laundry listing of service programs has been regrouped into a limited number of service functions, each of which has a relatively well-defined function and permits measurement. 4) The aims, service typologies, and populations at risk have all been developed in some coherent and consistent relationship with each other so that progress in the development of a service and the achievement of the aims in relation to manageable populations can be achieved over time. 5) These steps are consistent with preliminary actions already taken by HEW and by some state superagencies. This interrelationship among aims, service conception, and populations at risk seems to be an essential characteristic of any welfare reform if the public social services are to have a capacity for synergism—that is, a capacity to use experience, to develop greater overall power for the achievement of desired ends than is now attainable by individual, unconnected segments. This pattern of interrelationships permits a testing of various service components in relation to populations and in relation to objectives, with an ultimate substitution of more successful approaches over time, and with the consequent emergence of a science of human services.

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