The Three Perspectives on Poverty in the U.S. Which do you agree with? – Allie Dashow

At this point in time, there is roughly 3 million Americans who are homeless. 3 million people shivering, hungry, and hurting both physically and mentally. (Baggett, 2010). Why is that? Well I’m about to tell you three possible explanations!!!

  1. The Individual Explanation: This perspective suggests that homelessness is due to “personal failings” which includes genetic inferiority. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not think that is the reason why there are 3 million people on the street. In fact, social workers argue that there is no evidence to suggest that genetic inferiority is even a thing!!! Another individual explanation suggests that people are unable to function due to psychological reasons, and are therefore viewed and stereotyped as unmotivated, lazy, or irresponsible. This implies that poverty is a conscious choice… (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 293-294).

2. The Cultural Explanation: Oscar Lewis studied poverty and introduced the idea of a “culture of poverty” which consists of certain beliefs and behaviors that the poor possess that are different from those who are not poor. Furthermore, he believes these beliefs and behaviors are passed down from one generation to the next because the children are socialized to live in this state. He proposed there are 4 categories that describe poverty:

  1. People who do not belong to any form of an organization or group are not immersed in the larger culture and thus do not reap the benefits of having a strong social support system, network, or resources. As a result, they distrust social institutions.
  2. Communities that consist of those who are not that financially stable lack organization and activities outside of the family. Therefore, the town or city lacks quality public and social services, schools, and safety.
  3. Families that do not play a part in a child’s health are more likely to raise a child who becomes pregnant at an early age which results in many single parents who lack the resources needed to raise children.
  4. People living in poverty tend to have weak egos, poor impulse control, and tend to feel doomed. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 294-295).

3. Structural Explanation: This theory proposes that poverty is a result of failings in the larger social and economic systems. Poverty cannot be addressed without changing society’s and the economy’s structure because people are almost set up to fail. It is not people themselves that result in failure but it i due to political, social, and economic factors. For instance, there is institutional discrimination in the forms of sexism and racism which has been a huge issue. Additionally, women are still not treated as men’s equals and earn a median annual income that is way lower then men’s. Furthermore, white men earn more money then any other racial group. Institutional racism is also extremely prevalent which is a harder issue to tackle since it is embedded in society. Lastly, poor neighborhoods tend to suffer from undesirable facilities being opened there (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 295-297).

At the end of the day, it is clear that there is no clear cut theory surrounding homelessness. We can go back and forth debating what it is deeply rooted from and while that is important, this is just as important:

Works Cited:

Baggett, T. P. (2010). The Unmet Health Care Needs of Homeless Adults: A National Study. American Journal of Public Health, 100(7), 1326-1331. Retrieved February 24, 2016.

DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work Issues and Opportunities (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

5 Facts You Should Know About The Juvenile Justice System – Allie Dashow

  1. Interestingly enough, for the past century juveniles have been treated differently than adults who have also committed crimes. Some argue that the reason for this is that a child is not fully developed and therefore has more potential to change. If he or she is provided with the appropriate and needed services one might not need, it is believed that that child will not turn back to crime again in the future. Because the child has not fully matured, some say they are less responsible for their actions. Is this true? Is this fair? (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 325).

2. Also, did you know that there are three different types of categories a juvenile may it into within the court system? Those include dependent or neglected, a status offender, or delinquent. A status offender would include running away or missing school, or essentially something that would not be considered a crime if it was committed by an adult. However, a delinquent act is something that would be considered a crime if it was committed by an adult (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 325).

3. In regards to crime rates, “in 2002 the juvenile arrest rate for violent crimes was the lowest it had been since 1980.” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 325). I wonder why that is. Furthermore, the crime rate in 2002 was half of what the crime rate was in 1994! (Snyder, 2004).  However, juveniles account for 17% of all arrests. Additionally, the female juvenile offender population is “growing at a faster rate than the male offender population” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 325). However, maybe this is due to the fact that more females are being arrested nowadays than compared to the past.

4. It is most common for juvenile offenders to end up with probation. However, a large portion of them end up in residential settings such as detention centers, training schools,or group homes, camps, and ranches (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 328).

5. Unfortunately, akin to the adult offender population, there are more juvenile offenders of color placed in residential centers as opposed to those who are white. Furthermore, back in 2003 2/3 of those juveniles in custody were minorities (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 328).


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a
          challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books
Snyder, H. N. (2004, September). Juvenile Arrests 2002. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

8 Important Facts about IPV that you may Not Know – Allie Dashow

  1. Although most people now are aware of what domestic violence is, that has not always been the case. Before the 1960’s, intimate personal violence was not really spoken about. That all changed in the 1970’s once the Women’s Movements brought it to light (Murphy & Ouimet, 2008, p. 309).

2. An astronomical, and very depressing, number of 4.8 million physical assaults and rapes against women happen per year. In addition, it is important to note that domestic violence is NOT only a women’s issue. 2.9 million assault also happen against men every year. And it is important to recognize that just because more women experience IPV than men does not mean we should only focus on IPV among women (Murphy & Ouimet, 2008, p. 309).

 3. Intimate partner violence is serious. There is a whole host of issues and injuries that come along as a result of this issue. These include bruises, cuts, broken bones, head trauma, chronic pain, vaginal bleeding and infections, sexually transmitted diseases, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and even death. This is not something to be taken lightly, and it is something that needs to be spoken about (Murphy & Ouimet, 2008, p. 309).

4. I wish I could say that the problems stop there, but that is not the case. Physical abuse is just one aspect of IPV. Many victims develop anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, “posttraumatic stress disorder, low-self esteem, bad body image, self-perceived poor health, and feat of intimacy.” That does not even include the fear that comes along as being a victim of domestic violence (Murphy & Ouimet, 2008, p. 309).

5. When it comes to screening for IPV, medical professionals are not doing what they need to be doing. Only very few hospital emergency rooms in the U.S actually comply with the national mandate for routine screening. Shockingly, one study showed that only 37% of women were screened for IPV and only 1% were even given any information about this issue. I know when I read those numbers I was shocked. We like to think that doctors comply with all the rules placed upon them but that is not the reality (Murphy & Ouimet, 2008, p. 310).

6. IPV consists of four different phases, or a cycle: the honeymoon phase, the tension-building phase, the explosion phase, and reconciliation. Typically, it takes 5-7 incidents for a partner to finally leave the relationship. And we hope that the partner ends up leaving before it is too late (Vassello, 2016, Slide 5).

7. We need to remember that IPV does not have to be physical, it can be psychological. The perpetrator may threaten the victim, play mind games, criticize his or her partner, and a whole bunch of other tactics which is considered abuse (Murphy & Ouimet, 2008, p. 309).

8. Lastly, 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of either physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from their partner. That means that it is highly possible that one of your best friends have suffered from one of these things (Vassello, 2016, Slide 11).


Murphy, S., & Ouimet, L. (2008). Intimate Partner Violence: A Call for Social Work Action. Health & Social Work, 33(4), 309-314. Retrieved February 10, 2016.

Vassello. J. (2016). IPV Powerpoint. Slides 5, 11. Retrieved February, 10, 2016.

What You Might Not Know but Need to Know About Sophonisba Breckinridge – Allie Dashow

Who is Sophonisba Breckenridge you might ask? Well, I’m here to tell you!

She was a “social work educator and a prominent member of the “woman’s world” of social work” back in the late 1800’s and early/middle 1900’s who exhibited what a leader really is (Jabour, A., 2012). She spread her own definition of social work, taught her students how to execute research and policy, and promoted the idea of women as leaders in the social work profession.

How did Breckenridge become such a prominent well-known successful figure? Listen up cause I will give you the inside scoop!

As we all know, in any day and age, connections can be essential for a successful future career in any field.  Through forming close relationships with other women such as women mentors, female friends, and feminist colleagues, Breckenridge utilized her resources and full potential to bring about reform and make a name for herself. You would be surprised at her laundry list of accomplishments:

  • Helped establish the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration
  • Became a social work professor
  • Was an author
  • Founding editor of the Social Service Review
  • President of the American Association of Schools of Social Work
  • Was involved in many types of reform: legal aid for immigrants, civil rights for blacks, protective legislation for women workers, and juvenile courts for youths
  • Represented the U.S. at the Pan-American Conference
  • Was on the advisory committee for the Social Security Act

Why is she so important?

For one, she was part of an “international group of social justice reformers who were dedicated to promoting international cooperation and world peace” (Jabour, A., 2012). Additionally, she accomplished major reform in so many different areas. While many believed that professionalization of social work and commitment to social reform could not go together, SHE proved them wrong.

She is a great example of how “personal, professional, and political relationships with other women” can significantly help drive one’s career. Without her old dear friend Marion Talbot, her mentor and colleague, along with her student Edith Abbott, her life might have been drastically different. Talbot was the one who convinced Breckenridge to go to graduate school. Not only that, she helped pay for her education (We all need a friend like that!). In turn, Breckenridge helped her former student Abbott seek employment after graduation. We can even see how she carried on her love and support for other women through her “close faculty-student interaction” (Jabour, A., 2012). She helped created the connection between social reform and research and furthermore helped train and fund other women social work leaders. It’s important to note that while many other social workers at the time engaged in racism, she did the exact opposite and helped African Americans obtain education and opportunities. Overall, Breckenridge played a significant role in the history of social work and deserves recognition.

Jabour, A. (2012). Relationship and Leadership: Sophonisba Breckinridge and Women in Social Work. Journal of Women and Social Work, 27(1), 22-37. Retrieved February 4, 2016.


10 Things the Public Does Not Know About Social Work! – Allie Dashow

  1. Many people believe that social work mainly revolves around psychotherapy and counseling…but I am here to tell you that that is not the case! Social workers “help people help themselves” in a plethora of ways (Vassello, J.D., 2016). While psychotherapy is one aspect of social work, this profession also includes: participating in legislative processes, investigating child abuse, advocating for patients, referring clients to outside resources for financial assistance, legal aid, housing, and education (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 4).  (Fanning, J., n.d.).

help help a brotha out

2. There is a strong tie between social work and altruism, the idea that people selflessly want to help others. Social workers have an “altruistic impulse” to help others in need with whatever problems they may be having (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 4).

3. You may not have known that the Social Work profession consists of two main groups: micro-level work and macro-level work. Micro-level refers to interacting with clients directly face-to-face. On the other hand, macro-level refers to advocating for one’s clients to achieve some goal (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 10).

4. Jane Addams was a social work pioneer who opened the Hull House, a community settlement house that offered “social services and community development programs to neighborhood residents” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 6). In addition Addams paid for all the expenses herself. If she could do that, then there’s no excuse when it comes time for you take on a challenge.

5. On average, about 4/5 of social work majors are in fact women (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 18).

6. Social justice, a common term used in the social work profession, means that everyone, no matter their race, gender, etc., should have the same basic rights, opportunities, and benefits (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 10).

7. You should know that the social work major explores social work values and ethics, human diversity, social and economic justice, populations at risk, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policies and services, social work practice, research, and field education (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 15).

8. On average, social workers make about $33,150 for child, family, and school social workers (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 24).

9. Social work has a trans-disciplinary approach in that it utilizes theories from different disciplines including psychology, sociology, political science, and education (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 30).

10. Essentially what I am trying to say is that social work is “an honorable way to earn a living by helping others, an exciting field of practice…, and a way to make a difference that counts (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 27). And remember…

there are solutions...even to the hardest problems:


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a
          challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books
Fanning, J. (n.d.). Understanding the Role of a Social Worker. Retrieved January 28, 2016,             from