Prerequisite: URB 600
This course examines concepts and theories of social welfare and the development of social welfare policy, focusing on the scope and variety of contemporary human services and the urban institutions that deliver those services. The course combines both theoretical and practical learning, allowing students to draw on their own experiences as service providers in New York City or as recipients of public services. Students analyze the nature and function of public-service bureaucracies and evaluate how they meet the needs of a diverse and multi-faceted client population. In addressing this question, students consider the broad political and socio-economic context and the impact of social inequality, the role of government and regulatory bodies, and the movement toward privatization of public services. A central topic of this course is the role of social-service professionals, the range of legal and ethical questions they confront, and the array of technical and professional skills required to function effectively as a service provider in a complex urban environment. Students will complete final group projects that examine a selected urban public service provision sector and site. They will outline the service’s function regarding social welfare, historical development as a public service, and its place within larger bureaucratic structures. They may conduct interviews with practitioners; engage in observation of the service delivery site; and apply their own experiences as practitioners. Based on this research and course readings, students will produce an analytic paper, and make a presentation, summarizing their conclusions, including an assessment of management practices and ethical dilemmas for practitioners.