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Social Welfare and Social Work Practice - Essay Example

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The term welfare may be defined as having to do with the well-being of citizens at the physical, social, and financial levels. Steps taken to ensure the welfare of citizens in a country include reformation of employment, social security, health, education, and disability policies…
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Social Welfare and Social Work Practice
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Download file to see previous pages The Scandinavian Model attempts to provide benefits to all citizens on an equal footing, regardless of employment status. In contrast, The Beveridge Model seeks to provide benefits to those citizens perceived as experiencing "the greatest need" (Ploug). First advocated by the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the third model benefits most "those who have been on the labour market" (Ploug), and the fourth model places the burden of welfare on the family. It is with the first two of these models, and the countries in which they are practiced, that this essay is concerned.
Quality of life is in large part dictated by the way in which a state runs its welfare policies. Such concepts as social cohesion versus social exclusion are important identifiers of the quality of life that is typical in a state. These things influence and are influenced by such variables as citizenship, migration, and even the state of the family units. State welfare policies often have much to say on these topics. Though many are the domestic factors influencing the direction of a state's policies, these policies are often also influenced by outside factors, such as trade and senior governing bodies.
Since its inception, the European Union has implemented policies that have affected the way its member states carry out their own social welfare policies. This supranational body was developed over several decades, and now comprises 25 co-operating European countries. It recognizes its principal goal as being "to promote and expand cooperation among member states in economics and trade, social issues, foreign policy, security and defense, and judicial matters" (Urwin, 2005). Based on the fact that a major goal of the EU is the unification of the European market and the reduction of economic disparities among the member states, many of the policies with which it is concerned also affect the social welfare policies of its member states (2005). In addition, lobbyists for several causes frequent its gates in order to influence the formulation of policy. Though the extent to which the EU exerts influence on its member states is varied, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries have had to make changes or adjustments to their policies in response to the actions of the European Union. This essay will, therefore, discuss the similarities and differences of the two models represented in these regions in light of social cohesion and exclusion, migration, citizenship and family life. It will also examine the two models in light of ways in which they have changed as a result of the influence of the European Union.
The term "Scandinavian welfare model" specifically defines the method of state-run welfare as it exists in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The type of welfare system represented in this model is often placed in what is known as the "Social-Democratic" camp, though this does not necessarily mean that its tenets are supported solely by the socialist parties of those countries (Ploug). The system is, however, based on the idea of equality, and it recognizes what it considers the right that each individual possesses to the opportunities that will secure a good quality of life. This, therefore, is provided to all citizens regardless of their social or employment status.
On the other hand, the social welfare model adopted by the United Kingdom (also known as the Beveridge model) is placed in what is known as the liberal camp. This system was developed "to encourage the provision ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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