Explain the impact of legislation, politics, and public attitudes on human services

As you probably have observed—especially during political election season—people do not always agree with each other on important issues. The public holds a wide variety of opinions, as do public officials. This often leads to disagreements about how to address matters of public policy.

Public policies related to human services are no exception. As you saw last week, the government’s policy on human services has changed drastically from one era to another. Often these changes are shaped by a shift in public attitudes, or by the election of a new president who holds more liberal or more conservative views than the previous one. For instance, President George W. Bush, a proponent of “compassionate conservatism,” aimed to reduce government support or entitlements in human services by placing greater emphasis on private health plans. These shifts in attitudes do not happen only on a national level, but also on a state or community level. Human services issues such as health care and welfare reform are under constant debate.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review Chapter 3 in your course text, An Introduction to Human Services, paying particular attention to the effects of the socio-political environment (e.g. legislation, politics, public attitudes) on major topics and issues in the human services field.

Review the article, “Poor People, Poor Places and Access to Health Care in the United States.” Consider how human services policies, including government programs and legislation, could affect individuals’ access to health care in different ways. Take into account the income status of the community (e.g. poverty-stricken or affluent), as well as individual characteristics, such as education, health status, gender, age, and/or race.

Review the article, “The Annapolis Coalition Report on the Behavioral Health Workforce Needs of the United States.” Think about how human services professionals took politics and public attitudes into account when developing the Action Plan for Behavioral Health Workforce Environment.

Select three human services issues or major topics that have been or could be impacted by the current socio-political environment (e.g., legislation, politics, public attitudes, etc.) to use for this Discussion.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post a description of each of the three human services issues or major topics you selected. Give background information about each of the issues or major topics and explain how each has been or could be impacted by the current socio-political environment (e.g., legislation, politics, public attitudes). Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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