SOC WEL 112: Social Welfare Policy

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  • Susan Edwards
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  • Office Location: Education Psychology Library, 2600 Tolman Hall
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About this Guide

Sources for the social policy research paper -- which identifies a social problem and the policies in place to address the problem -- and then critiques those policies.

This guide has been archived

Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see 

Starting Points

Encyclopedia of Social Work from the National Association of Social Workers and Oxford University Press -- a great starting place, policy on many social work topics.

Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare Contains many sections on Social Policy and Policy Practice.

The Green Book (2012)  is a key resource for federal programs. It provides updated statistics and information on programs such as Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Foster Care and welfare. Additionally, it includes a discussion of related issues, such as the well-being of the elderly and of children and families.

Congressional Publication contains congressional documents (hearings, committee prints, documents, and legislative histories) which are searchable through this fulltext database. CRS Research Reports are particularly helpful for overviews of federal policies on an array of topics.

MetaLib and are two ways to search a variety of US Government sources with lots of information on social policies at the federal level.

Find Articles

We have hundreds of research databases which help you find articles (and more) on a wide variety of topics.  A few of the core resources for this class are listed below.

UC eLinks and Citation Linker

Sometimes the database you search doesn't link to the fulltext -- it only gives the citation. Click the UC e-links button to see if Berkeley has it online, and if not, it will check for a print version.  And if we don't have it at all, it lets you request it through Interlibrary Loan.

What if there isn't a UC e-links button??? Sometimes you find an article in a bibliography, a book or a footnote -- and you want to see if we have it. The Citation Linker searches through our online databases to see if it's available fulltext. If not, it sets up a search for the paper journal in Melvyl. And if we don't have it at Berkeley, it lets you request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Find Books and E-Books

UCB: Use OskiCat to find books related to your topic at UC Berkeley. Oskicat will show you where it's located, and will also show you the Library of Congress Subject Heading -- which can help you find material other relevant books.

UC: Not enough books  at Berkeley? Use Melvyl to find more books at other campuses in the UC system.  Clickon the REQUEST button (in the detailed view of a catalog record) to request the item through  Interlibrary Loan.

World: Still want more? You can search thousands of libraries through WorldCat on FirstSearch and then request the material through UC e-links or directly via Interlibrary Loan

Google Books: Library catalogs don't search inside of books. Google Books can help you identify the book you need, then click on "Find in a Library" to see if we have it.

Search Tips

Power search features for most article databases:

Starting Points

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a great compilation of national statistics from many sources -- government and private. It also is used as an index, or finding tool, to find the source of the statistics.

The Green Book is the standard reference for social policy and federal entitlement programs. It includes descriptions of the program descriptions and historical data on a wide variety of social and economic topics. 

Looking for data about children? Kids Count Data Center from Annie E. Casey provides additional data not covered in Factfinder -- such as rate of substantiated child abuse and number of hours of television watched. You can drill down on some of the indicators to county and city level data.

Demographics of people with and without health insurance coverage is tracked by Census Bureau through three surveys. A national snapshot is available of Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States.

The U.S. Census Bureau provides local, state and national statistics relating to poverty, educational attainment, overcrowded housing, single parent families, grandparents raising grandchildren, etc. Much of the data can be "cross-tabulated" by another variable such as race/ethnicity, gender, immigrant status, language or age. American FactFinder is the main entry point. This isn't as easy to use as it should be -- ask your librarian if you'd like help!

Social Welfare Statistics: National

The following websites provide data and statistics related to social welfare. Look for a "search tips" link on each site for the best practice in finding data with the website's search features. Many websites also include reports based on data offered on the site.


Administration on Aging
Statistics compiled by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. Includes profiles of older Americans, census data, minority aging, indicators of well-being, and access to the Aging Integrated Database (AGID).

AgeSource / AgeStats Worldwide
Information about aging issues around the world by the American Association of Retired Persons. AgeStats Worldwide provides comparative statistical data and includes projections to 2050. AgeSource offers international resources that include clearinghouses, libraries, databases, major reports, web metasites, and more.
Produced by the Federal Inter-agency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Gateway to statistics on aging, Medicare, housing, Social Security, veterans’ affairs, census, etc.

Child Welfare

Administration for Children and Families
From the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Statistics cover adoption and foster care; child abuse; child welfare; community services block grants; Head Start; TANF and welfare reform; refugee resettlement, and more. Also includes resources on policy, legislation, research, and publications addressing child and family welfare issues.
Statistics and analyses from the federal interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Includes data on demographics, economics, health care, physical environment, education, behavior and health of children in the US.

Child Trends  
Child Trends is a nonprofit, non-partisan research center offering research and statistics on child poverty, child welfare, education, parenting, and a number of other issues related to children and families. For statistics, click the DataBank link or click an individual issues tab. See also the Child Trends Databank for trends and research on 100 key indicators of child and youth well-being.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Produced by the Children’s Bureau, Administation for Children and Families. Rich website with statistics and research on many key child welfare issues, including child and family well-being, child abuse and neglect, foster care and adoption, and child welfare outcomes. Also provides links to policies, law, reports and analyses on child welfare issues.

Kids Count
Produced by Annie E. Casey Foundation. Data Center allows dynamically-generated statistics by state or across states. Includes publications and other resources.

Additional links to statistical resources on children and education are at the statistics page of the Education-Psychology Library.

Mental health

Mental Disorders in America
Mental health data from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. Covers types of disorders, populations, use of mental health services and treatment, cost, and more.

Public Assistance

Green Book: Background Material and Data on Major Programs
Produced by the US House Committee on Ways and Means. Contains statistics, historical, and legislative analyses on federal assistance programs such as OASDI, SSI, TANF, child welfare, supplemental nutrition, and Medicare.

Food and Nutrition Service
Data and statistics on USDA nutrition assistance programs, including child nutrition programs; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps); Women, Infants and Children, and more. Website also includes links to policies, regulations, and legislation on food security.

Social Security Administration Statistics
Program statistics and data files on programs covered by the Social Security Administation (Disability, SSI, OASI, Medicare, etc.). Includes statistics on socioeconomic characteristics, demographics, geographic information, and more for workers covered under Social Security and Medicare.

Public Health

Health, United States
Annual report from the Centers for Disease Control on national health trends. Includes data on demographic populations, disability, child and adolescent health, education, health expenditures, older populations, poverty, preventive care, and more.

National Center for Health Statistics
Produced by a division of the Centers for Disease Control. Statistics on diseases and conditions, health care and insurance, injuries, vital statistics, drug use, smoking, etc. Includes links to research publications and data archives.

Office of Minority Health Data & Statistics
Data and statistics page of the Office of Minority Health, US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Includes statistical profiles of African-Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Latinos, and others. Also has links to other resources on issues related to minority health.

Additional links to statistical resources on public health may be found at the statistics page of the Public Health Library.

Social work

Statistics on social work education
Statistics about social work education programs in the United States. Compiled by the Council on Social Work Education

Substance abuse

Substance abuse and mental health statistics
Produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services. Contains statistics on alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use, mental health, treatment, prevention, attitudes, violence, etc.

Social Welfare Statistics: California

State of California statistics
The State of California provides a number of sources of statistics on state social service programs. Links to selected social services programs are below. For others, go to websites for the respective state departments and look for tabs on research, data, publications or statistics.

California Department of Social Services
CalFresh (Food stamps), CalWORKS (welfare), children’s programs, community licensing, disability programs

Department of Health Care Services
Medi-Cal, public health statistics, American Indian health, health care stats, women’s health, etc. includes reports.

Department of Mental Health 
Reports and statistics on mental health, mental illness, Medi-Cal trends, Mental Health Services Act, etc.

California Department of Public Health
Statistics and data on family health, infant health, vital statistics, adolescent sexual health, etc.

Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development 
Statewide and county statistics on health care services, hospices, long-term care, hospitalization, etc.

RAND California
User-generated statistics for California from the RAND Corporation. “Health and socioeconomic statistics” section includes statistics on AIDS, child abuse, substance abuse, health care, food stamps, welfare, SSI and OASDI, and more.

Child welfare dynamic report system
Collaboration of California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley. Presents detailed, dynamically-generated statistics on child welfare cases, outcomes, services, and more.

Other California statistics
UC Berkeley library page with additional links to general California statistical sources on economics, demographics, social indicators, county profiles, and more.

Connecting from Off Campus?

You can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile device using one of two simple methods. (NOTE: Using EndNote? Use VPN, not the Proxy Server)

Proxy Server
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
After you install and run the VPN "client" software on your computer, you can log in with a CalNet ID to establish a secure connection with the campus network.

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You can also view/download a PDF map of library locations. For library contact information and building addresses, visit our directory.

Google Scholar and UC e-links

  1. Set up your proxy server access by following the directions at When you get to a point where you are accessing resources that the Library pays for, you will be prompted for your CalNet ID and password.
  2. Change your “Scholar Preferences.” Access these by clicking on the link next to the search box. 
  3. In search box next to "Library Links," type in University of California Berkeley and click on “Find Library”
  4. Check box next to "University of California Berkeley - UC-eLinks
  5. Click on "Save Preferences" at bottom of page

Citation Workshops -- by Request!

If you and three other students want a workshop on Zotero or RefWorks let me -- we'll try and find a time that works for everyone!

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand! The Library offers workshops on Endnote, Zotero, and Refworks! Or contact your librarian for individual help.

  1. Zotero: A free plug-in that works exclusively with the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service.
  2. RefWorks - free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: may be purchased from UC Berkeley's Software Central for about $80.

It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.

Using APA 6th

"Cheat Sheets" -- very handy guides showing examples of the different types of citations formatted according to APA 6th, from Purdue and Harvard.

The fulltext of APA 6th is not available online, but we do have print copies in the reference collection of the Social Welfare and EdPsych Libraries at BF76.7 P83 2010, and it's available at other libraries on campus as well.

APA Style & Format from Capella Writing Center, is designed to help you quickly understand the fundamentals you need to write a course paper that meets the APA guidelines. It also has a very helpful guide to how to handle those confusing DOIs.

Basics of APA Style -- tutorial from APA on how to how to structure and format your work, reduce bias in language, avoid charges of plagiarism, cite references in text and it  provides selected reference examples. The APA Style Blog --  is searchable by topic and contains weekly posts by APA experts . 

News Sources

News sources can be a great way to find information about  federal and state social and educational policies. There are numerous sources of fulltext news, some available freely on the web. The ones below are all databases that we pay for, they each have specialized features.

Lexis Nexis Tips

  1. Use truncation (wildcard) to search different forms of the word (child* retrieves child, child's, children)
  2. Use 'proximity connectors' -- w/[number], for example (youth or adolescent or teen*) w/25 homeless*. (You can also use w/s for within sentence, or w/p for within paragraph but you can't also combine these with number of words.
  3. Change the display to Expanded List -- shows you your search terms, plus a few words on either side.
  4. Change display to Relevance if it is on Chronological (if date is really important to you, restrict to the date range you want in the search box).

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