Family Policy and the American Safety Net shows how families adapt to economic and demographic change. Government programs provide a safety net against the new risks of modern life. Family policy includes any public program that helps families perform their four universal obligations of caregiving, income provision, shelter, and transmission of citizenship. In America, this means that child care, health care, Social Security, unemployment insurance, housing, the quality of neighborhood schools, and antidiscrimination and immigration measures are all key elements of a de facto family policy. Yet many students and citizens are unaware of the history and importance of these programs. This book argues that family policy is as important as economic and defense policy to the future of the nation, a message that is relevant to students in the social sciences, social policy, and social work as well as to the public at large.

The Emergence of Family Policy in America

The Emergence of Family Policy in America

The emergence of family policy in America

The family in the United States has always been seen as a private institution, and it continues to be so. But it is ever clearer that the quality of family life has important effects on public life. A high prison population, a shocking number of high school dropouts, poorer scores in math and science, and a higher rate of poverty than found in other advanced economies—what is to account for these failures? And, on the other hand, economic growth and technological innovation, a healthy and productive workforce—what conditions are necessary for achieving them?

While some of the answers to these questions can be linked to public availability—the quality of police work, the adequacy ...

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