Defining the word problem in context to human services I would have to say its meaning is a situation that causes issues in a certain area of life. An example of a problem would be unemployment causes the problem of having no funds for food. To define policy, in my own words, it is the rules and regulations that guide human service organizations and the people they help. An example would be the guidelines for benefits are considered the policy. The policies are the basis for assistance. A program in human services is the particular assistance available for people needing help. One example would be the food stamp programs available in all states. I think that five of the major social problems in the United States are: 1.) Health and Medicine. We are one of the richest countries in the world yet every day we hear of people not being able to afford health care. Having access to affordable healthcare for everyone is an issue in the news daily now and I imagine it will be for some time to come. 2.) Crime and the Justice System.
In the United States more people are incarcerated than in other country in the world. I believe that being tough on crime is a positive however the time needs to fit the crime. People incarcerated who are mentally ill pose an issue for all people involved from the staff to the other inmates. 3.) Human Rights. This is an area that has changed over the years and continues to change daily. We have come a long way from slavery and women being second class citizens however we are not an “equal opportunity” country yet. There needs to be reforms and studies and adjustments in this area. 4.) Drug and alcohol abuse. This is an area that touches most people’s lives in one way or another in this country. There are many programs and services available and yet people still are abusing them even though the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol are widely published. 5.) Hunger. It is still hard to believe that in this rich country we live in there are still people who do not have enough food to eat daily. Since food is an essential thing for us to live we have to be better at getting what we need as a nation.
I have become interested in the justice system recently but more importantly I am interested in the families left behind when a member of the family becomes incarcerated. There are many organizations addressing this national issue and one that stands out for me is The Annie E. Casey Foundation. In the state of Michigan this foundation provides such programs as leadership development for children, they have a child welfare strategy group helping children who are involved in the child welfare system. They have an extensive youth opportunity program helping children transition from the foster care system to adulthood. There are child advocates and research areas promoting policies from child welfare to juvenile justice. There is a center for working families assisting low income families to become financially stable. The most touching program for me is a project called RETURN. This stands for Returning ex-offenders to urban realities and neighborhoods.
The foundation brings together business, church, and communities to embrace the issues created by incarceration. This foundation addresses problems for children and families when a member of the family is incarcerated and begins the process of education and guiding the children in these situations. Acting as a liaison between the state and the families is where I would love to eventually end my career. I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of the families left behind in the devastation created by crime and incarceration. The Annie E. Casey foundation addresses all of the issues I find important to make a difference in the lives of these families.