Social Problems

Checkpoint: Social Problems HSM/240 11/02/2012 Social problems are defined as societal induced conditions that harm any segment of the population. Social problems are also related to acts and conditions that violate the norms and values found in society. They are any condition that affects the quality of life for an individual or society as a whole; social problems are defined by history, cultural values, cultural universals, and awareness. Examples of social problems would be unemployment, child abuse, and poverty. Social policy is a formal strategy to shape some aspect of social life.

It is a policy for dealing with social issues. These policies generally are not designed with the needs of individuals in mind; rather they are designed for groups of people who share a common social problem. An example of social policy would be affirmative action, which was a policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities. Social programs refer to any government program that provides help or support for those in need.

Social Welfare Programs as they are called today, comes in many forms including, family cash aid, welfare to work, aid to dependent children, food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability and some form of national health care (Medicare and Medicaid). The objective is to provide a social safety net for those who, for whatever reason, cannot provide for themselves in one or more of these areas of concern. The ultimate goal is to reduce poverty to the maximum extent possible. Social problems affect every society, part of this is due to the fact that any members of a society living close enough together will have conflicts.

The list of social problems is huge and not identical from area to area. In the US, some major social issues include unemployment, which doesn’t just affect those unemployed but affects the whole economy. Poverty is another social problem that we face in the United States; the economic growth created by increased economic freedom reduces poverty by giving more opportunities to workers and helping them avoid the poverty trap. Economic freedom is one of the strongest tools available to fight poverty and is responsible for the greatest advances in reducing poverty ver the last century. Homelessness is another social problem being faced in the US today. Some argue that the solution to homelessness is permanent supportive housing along with homelessness prevention policies. Research and experience have shown that stable housing is often an essential component to being successful at rehabilitation, therapy, and other areas. Domestic violence, yet another social problem, is the immediate cause of homelessness for many women. About 13 percent of homeless families report that they left their last residence due to violence or abuse.

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One key challenge facing providers serving survivors of domestic violence is that safety and confidentiality concerns may make it difficult to track this group. Finally, mental health is another social problem relating back to homelessness, poverty, unemployment, and domestic violence. About 25 percent of the homeless population has serious mental illness, including chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Mental and physical health problems are exacerbated by living on the streets and in shelters.

Mental and physical health conditions should be considered when designing effective, efficient strategies to end homelessness. By their very definition social problems are social; they are not about “good or evil” or selfishness on an individual level. They are about the way societies are structured and the fallout from those structures. Who wins and who loses? What is actually a problem? This is not about individuals, but about how society has been built and how that structure has led to such inequalities and potential harm to a significant segment of society.

One non-profit organization in my state of Alabama that is taking action against social problems that exist in our state (like those mentioned above) is the Family Guidance Center of Alabama. Their full range of services includes counseling, parenting education, marriage enrichment, mentoring, services for business and industry, child care support services, senior services, adult day care, career development, job training and other therapeutic services for families. Its creation was the outgrowth of an increasing awareness that the need for professional counseling was not being met elsewhere within the community.

Family Guidance Center of Alabama, Inc. is dedicated to strengthening families through partnering with families, organizations, and communities and through the provision of an accessible comprehensive system of coordinated programs and services designed to enable people of all ages in Alabama to envision and achieve their goals. References National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. endhomelessness. org Family Guidance Center of Alabama. (2009). Retrieved from http://www. familyguidancecenter. org

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