Social Welfare

Ram A. Cnaan, Charlene C. McGrew

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Although it is commonly agreed that social welfare ideas and philosophies emanate from many faith traditions, the complex link between religion and social welfare merits careful examination. Prowelfare values only set the overall social expectations; they do not create formal social welfare programs. Helping the needy can range from a one-time help for a known neighbor to the establishment of a national welfare state program.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Finally, under the welfare reform law states receive block grants from the federal government and have the discretion to disburse funding through cost reimbursement contracts, performance-based contracts, and vouchers (Sherman, 2000; Etindi, 1999). In cases of direct financial collaboration religious-based organizations provide services such as job training and mentoring under traditional cost reimbursement contracts or performance-based contracts that are contingent on achieving certain benchmarks related to the participant’s transition to work such as program enrollment, program completion, employment placement, or employment retention. Performance-based contracts and the voucher system present financial challenges to organizations that may not have the capital to invest in a program for an extended period without government payment and a guaranteed number of participants. In cases of indirect financial collaborations, congregations provide mentoring, administer government funds to participants for initial employment expenses, or subcontract with for-profit companies.

Funding Information:
City/Regionwide Sectarian Agencies. The third type of religious service organization and the one most often identified with religious-based social service delivery is the city-/regionwide sectarian agency. Sectarian agencies can be further differentiated based on their governance, affiliation with a religious body, and funding sources. For example, agencies such as the Salvation Army are church organizations that provide social programs and receive government contracts and funding. Catholic Charities, Lutheran Youth Services, Episcopal adoption agencies, Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA, and the YWCA are religious-based organizations that maintain affiliation with the originating religious body while developing services and programs that are provided primarily by professional staff and significantly funded by government revenue. Their boards of trustees consist of clergy or lay leaders from the relevant denomination. They may receive some financial support from the religious parent body, either directly from an area-wide headquarters (such as a diocese) or through local congregational fund-raising, and were established by members of the religious order. Jewish Family and Children’s Services, in many cities, is essentially a secular organization that maintains a Jewish identity and commitment to the Jewish community, both secular and religious. The organization is often partially or fully funded by the local Jewish Federation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2006, Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.


  • Faith Tradition
  • Religious Congregation
  • Religious Organization
  • Social Service
  • Social Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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