Critique your colleague’s explanation of how poverty impacts individuals in young and middle adulthood.



Respond to at least two colleagues in one of the following ways:


§  Critique your colleague’s explanation of how poverty impacts individuals in young and middle adulthood.


§  State whether you agree or disagree with your colleague’s position on whether poverty is the result of cultural or individual characteristics. Provide support for your position.


§  Reply to a colleague who selected a theory of poverty that differs from the one you selected by critiquing his or her evaluation of the theory.


Be sure to support your responses with specific references to the resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.



Colleague 1: JM


How can poverty impact the lives of individuals in young and middle adulthood? It can impact them in a multitude of ways. It can have an impact on education, socialization, and general health, to name a few. When living in poverty, individuals in young adulthood can’t afford to even of think of going to college- if they were even able to finish high school. Adults in middle adulthood, because of their lack of education, may have extreme difficulty finding a job and supporting themselves or a family. In terms of socialization, young adults miss out on a ton of opportunities to hang out with friends, as activities usually cost money. For middle adults, entertaining others may be difficult, as those activities also cost money, as well as living conditions may not be suitable for such activities. General health: for young adults, proper nutrition and exercise are key. However, again, money comes into play. Exercising can cost money, from gym memberships to sneakers. Fresh food costs an insane amount of money as compared to fast or pre-prepared food. In middle adulthood, health concerns such as weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease can become more prevalent. Let’s not forget the emotional toll constantly worrying about money can take on a person.


It can be argued that poverty is a cultural characteristic as opposed to individual. Often, children who grow up in poverty end up living their whole life in poverty (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2014). There are multiple accounts of people feeling guilty for leaving their families behind as they become successful; there are also accounts of family members accusing individuals of thinking they’re “better” than others for finishing school or moving out of a “bad” area because they can now afford it. If a child grows up in poverty and in a disadvantaged area, goes to school in that area, sees many unemployed and no one dreaming of getting out, why would they?


While it can be argued that it’s a tad bit socialist-y, the Conflict Theory as it relates to poverty resonated with me. The Conflict Theorists beliefs that “…poverty can best be dealt with by the poor becoming politically aware and organizing to reduce inequality through government action” (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2014, pg. 571). As a social worker, this would be a great philosophy to have in terms of encouraging clients to advocate for themselves. It would also be great, as a social worker, in terms of advocating for clients. It is also a chance to get the “higher ups” involved: bringing the CEO of a company into the neighborhood of some of his/her workers to see how they live and what the wages they get actually buy.


While I’m a fan of this theory, a problematic element could be actually how one goes about advocating for clients or getting in contact with higher ups in the company. It may not be feasible in practice to bring CEOs to neighborhoods, but perhaps some ideas could be modified to get the same point across.



Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.)Boston, MA:  Cengage Learning.



Colleague 2: LM


Hello Everyone,

Poverty impacts the experiences of individuals in young, and middle adulthood in many ways. The young are vulnerable, and recognize the appearance of poverty early on in their lives. Usually, school aged children begin to notice if they have adequate clothing like other children, they learn, and talk about their parents occupations, begin to know what parts of town their friends live in, and begin to compare the things that they have, to the things that others have. Poverty also usually impacts the experiences of the young because, it  exposes them to inadequate education, health issues such as led poisoning due to led based painted homes in low income neighborhoods, asthma from pollution, and breathing problems. “Poverty also leads to despair, low self-esteem, and stunting of physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth”, (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016 p. 564). Although; those individuals in middle adulthood are not as vulnerable as the young, poverty still impacts their experiences. Middle adulthood individuals usually suffer from illnesses due a poor diet and lack of nutritional foods. They also suffer from inadequate healthcare, lower paying jobs, lack of education, and have a “high susceptibility to emotional disturbances, aalcoholism’s, and victimization by criminals as well as a shorter life expectancy, “Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016 p. 564).


I personally think that poverty is the result of both cultural, and individual characteristics because, some people come from generations of poverty.”The individual who grows up in this culture has a strong feeling of fatalism, helplessness, dependence and inferiority; a strong present-time orientation with relatively little disposition to defer gratification, and plan for the future and a high tolerance for psychological pathology of all kinds”, (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016 p. 568). This has become not only part of their culture but, the norm for their circumstances and way of living. These generations of people have lived on government assistance, lack education, and have lived in low income housing for years. On the other hand, some individuals grow up wealthy, and due to poor choices they end up in poverty. One of the major choices that causes individuals to become poverty stricken is substance abuse. However; their are also other things that cause individuals to become apart of poverty, and those things include mental illness, and layoffs.


Both aspects of this theory would be suitable for my practice because, I want to assure individuals from both cultural, and individual characteristics of the poverty spectrum to look for outlets that will break the cycle of poverty. As a social worker my job is to help my clients find jobs that will help them out of poverty, find adequate housing, places that help furnish clothing for children and families, and food banks. I would also encourage those that are mentally ill to get the proper medications that tthey need, as well proper housing. The only aspects that I find problematic interms fo my knowledge of social work practice is that, some individuals dont see a problem with their situations. As i mentioned earlier, some families see poverty as the norm. And as far as those mentally ill clients, some refuse to get help because, they are afraid they will be institutionalized. So they continue to live in poverty.


Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston MA:Cengage Learning.













·      Respond to at least two colleagues by explaining a change for which you might advocate with regard to the policy your colleague described.


·      Then, explain what responsibility Eboni’s social worker has to identify lapses in services and advocate for policy changes.


Support your response with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.



Colleague 1:RW


Means-tested programs that could be available to Eboni in the state of Indiana consists of food stamps, welfare/public housing, medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for needy Families (TANF). With the programs available to Eboni, in the State of Indiana, if she chooses to parent, she would be able to meet her financial concerns, and provide a stable environment for her children. As a state employee, I am very versed in the resources our state has to offer. As a social worker, knowing that Eboni is a teenage mother, with a little support system in her mother, I would also link her to community partnership programs, such as S.C.A.N. (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect).  These programs and resources could assist with daycare services, as well as occasionally paying her rent or utilities if she finds herself struggling. They can also assist her with finding employment opportunities as well.



Colleague 2: PW


 In Eboni Logan’s case, she is a teenager who got pregnant unexpectedly and does not know what to do about her pregnancy.  Her mother wants her to get an abortion because she does not want her daughter to end up a single mother like she did and she does not want to take care of her grandchild full time.  She wants her daughter to go to college so that she can have a better life than she experienced.  This is what every parent wants for their child.  She also believes that state assistance is only temporary and will expire before she can find adequate employment that will take care of herself and her child.


Eboni’s mother is right about the fact that some state assistance programs are temporary and will run out because they are structured in such a way as to bridge that unemployment gap so that the recipient can find employment and still meet their basic needs.  If Eboni lives in Georgia, she would be eligible for so many programs that would help her get her college education, take care of her child, and get a rewarding job at the same time.  Georgia encourages people who are unemployed and are able to work to get back to work and provides opportunities to make it happen.  She would be eligible for programs such as WIC to help pay for baby formula and other baby needs.  She could also apply for SNAP, section 8 housing assistance, and Medicaid for herself and her baby to help cover medical expenses.  She would also be eligible for grants to help pay for college so that she can find employment.  She is also eligible for job search assistance through the GA Department of Labor along with childcare assistance.  In actuality, she would not spend the rest of her life in poverty if she decided to have the baby.  Her life will be tough there is no doubt about it, but she can do it with the right encouragement and a positive attitude.  The only person that would be preventing her from pushing forward is herself.




Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Sessions: Logan family Episode 4 of 42. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. Retrived on September 21, 2016 from

Georgia Department of Labor. Retrieved on September 21, 2016 from






·      Respond to at least two colleagues by explaining how social workers might help to alleviate the stigma based on the explanations your colleagues provided.


Support your response with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.


Colleague 1: JD-C


In our society there are so many labels. The social stratification in our society pushes for greater stigmatization of our lower classes. Low income people are often treated as second class citizens making them feel worse about their economic situation. Often times, just in order to be able to survive these low income people are forced by their circumstances to seek and apply for public assistance.

For many years, many have believed that public assistance to needy families create a dependency of on the welfare system. In fact one of the main reasons why the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was created was because advocates for the new program believed that “welfare dependency as both the cause and effect of a variety of social ills, including teenage pregnancy, crime, and low labor-market participation among racial and ethnic minorities.” (Bentele & Nicoli, 2012) While it is not the case for every single recipient of public assistance it seems that there does seem to be a dependency to these programs. In our class text we see that the most common stereotype “of the typical recipient is a never-married minority-group woman living in the inner city of a large urban area, having her first child at a very young age, having a large number of children, and receiving assistance on a more of less permanent basis.” (Popple & Leighninger, 2015, p. 110) These perceptions are enough to not only deter people from actually trying to apply for benefits that would improve their life and help them get ahead, but it hurts them by spreading prejudice and stigma further into our society.


The perceptions and the unpopularity of public assistance among the higher classes that do not need these benefits create such a negative stigmatization for the lower class people who in turn are then further impacted by their poor situation. For example, poverty already affects a person’s self-esteem, physical, social and emotional growth, therefore, they are even more affected when they feel like second class citizens just for trying to feed themselves and their family with government help.


Being aware of these perceptions allow me to help my clients even more. They make me aware of reasons why my clients might be hesitant to apply for benefits even though they are in desperate need. However, I can use this to help my client apply for benefits then allow them to set goals where they will get back on track and on their feet and no longer need to receive these kinds of assistance. We can use these stigmas to help them push themselves up and go above and better their situation and their life. We can use this to encourage them to become successful and push harder to be able to say that they no longer need these benefits and that they did it with hard work. We need to let our clients know that using public assistance is not a negative thing, as it is there to help them through tough times. We need them to see that they are not weaker, or second hand citizens because they use public assistance, but that they are strong because they are doing what they can to help their family.



Bentele, K., & Nicoli, L. (2012). Ending Access as We Know It: State Welfare Benefit Coverage

in the TANF Era. Social Service Review, 86(2), 223-268.

Popple, P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2015). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social

welfare policy analysis for social workers. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson





Colleague 2: DP


Do Means-Tested Programs Create a Dependency?

Women are gaining employment because of TANF; however, their higher education is lacking leaving the women in low-income jobs (Popple & Leighninger, 2015, p. 132).  Therefore, in turn it is creating a cycle of applying for benefits, gaining low-income jobs, and to still have to depend on the program.  The reason being, the gap between what the women are earning and that of their potential of having a higher education.

Potential Perception of Dependency Contributes to Stigma of Welfare Programs

Dependency on welfare programs will continue to leave a negative perception on the means-tested programs.  While there may be statistics to prove that women are gaining work skills to be employed at low-income jobs; the statistics are still greater in the reliance of the job and the means-tested program (Popple & Leighninger, 2015, p. 132).  The stigma of welfare programs will always carry the association until women obtain college degrees and superior independency.

Personal Perception on Clients Utilizing Means-Tested Programs

I personally believe it is okay to use them to an extent.  There are people who absolutely “need” the financial help and there are others who use it beyond what the program is truly intended for.  These programs are intended to help people financially until they can become self-sufficient and support themselves financially.  Other things I keep in mind are our economy and government policies.  If the economy does not overcome this financial barrier and start creating opportunities things will remain the same.  Also, federal and state policies need to be altered to assist in enhancing the lives of others and not leaving opportunities open only for the privileged.  I do not believe this will affect my work as a social worker because what I believe in will help better the lives of those reliant on means-tested programs.  My job is to strive to help clients become self-sufficient with the appropriate resources for their situations.



Popple, P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2015). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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