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Throughout the term, students will be asked to respond to a particular prompt, or set of prompts, so that they can express their thoughts and ideas about the course material. These responses should be 1-2 paragraphs in length and should be well-developed, written clearly, and students should use proper grammar and style to effectively convey their thoughts. Please be sure to address each item on your response.
You are a social worker at a non-profit social service agency that provides support services and training to help young single mothers achieve self-sufficiency. Over the past two years, you have seen Sarah intermittently. She has become one of your favorite clients, in part, because of her perseverance and her willingness to follow through on her commitments. Sarah is now 19 years old; her son, Seth, is two. Since you began working with Sarah, she has attended parenting classes and proven herself to be a loving and skilled mother. She has also completed her GED. With the help of housing assistance, she has been able to secure a two-bedroom apartment after being on the waiting list for six months. Eight months ago, Sarah got her first real job as an assistant teacher in a daycare center, working 20 hours per week. Sarah likes her job very much, and she excels at her work. The job pays only minimum wage, and provides no health care or paid time-off benefits. However, as an employee of the daycare center, Sarah receives free daycare for her son Seth. With her TANF, (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) income, food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing, part time job, and free daycare, Sarah has managed to create a stable life for her son.
In the state where you practice, clients can receive TANF benefits for only two years. As you review Sarah’s case file, you see that her welfare benefits will expire in one month. Sarah needs the welfare check to meet basic survival needs for herself and her son. If she budgets carefully, her welfare check and work income together just cover her rent, secondhand clothing for Seth, bus fare to work, the phone bill, and essential items like toothpaste and soap that are not covered by food stamps. Without her welfare check, Sarah is likely to find herself in the same situation she was in two years earlier, homeless with her young son.
What social work value does the state TANF policy contradict? As a social worker, how do you comply with state law without violating social work values? What options can you present to Sarah that will be empowering to her and her son?