Social Program Description and Assessment

Part 1. Social problem- Poverty

While some people believe that poverty is an individual phenomenon others believe it is structural. For those who hold that poverty is an individual phenomenon they argue that laziness, ignorance, laziness and inferiority makes people be poor. This means that helping poor people to figure things out would reduce poverty significantly. For those who believe that it is a structural phenomenon they argue that poor economic system brings inadequate income. This means that by changing the economic structure, poverty can be reduced. Immigration and industrialization into developed countries are identified as the origin of poverty. The industrial jobs which were irregular in nature increased the number of people needing help. The immigrants were given low wages in addition to being racially discriminated bringing up poverty (Iceland, 2006). The poor survived through debt, odd jobs, small savings, and help from families, trade unions, fraternal associations, and churches.

Poverty refers to lack of resources essential for basic survival. Understanding cause of poverty is necessary for addressing the social problem. Some of the cause of poverty are warfare, natural disasters, corruption, and social inequality. During wars, productivity drops which even discourages people from investing in a country. This limits access to basic needs, education, and health services lowering life quality. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricane, and earthquakes require a lot of resources in recovery and if the affected people are not helped they end up in poverty (Iceland, 2006). When leaders engage in corruption, they spend money meant for poverty alienation for personal gain causing more poverty. Inequalities in resource distribution due to discrimination exacerbates poverty.

Consequences of poverty include increased crimes, homelessness, lack of education, health problems, and family problems. Majority of poor people commit crimes in attempts to seek basic needs. Children raised up in poor neighbourhoods end up being crime victims due to the influence of older peers already into crime. Poor people tend to be homeless (Iceland, 2006). Those who are lucky live in rented houses in poor neighbourhoods. Due to inadequate facilities, poor people receive if any poor schooling which eventually restricts their children to poverty. The poor experience many health problems due to inability to access quality health care. Additionally, the poor experience family problems such as domestic violence and divorce mostly due to the stress of failing to run a household.

Children are the most impacted population by poverty. For instance one in five children in America live in need, with lack of adequate food, shelter and clothing. The children suffer from chronic illness, nutritional deficiency, misses school days or even drop out, and a majority lives in poverty even in adulthood. The social problem has brought out many problems to the children to an extent of living in a state of insecurity leading stress, anxiety, and depression (Iceland, 2006). Such children develop low esteem which leads to poor decision making associated with unsafe behaviours.

Since the 1800s, poverty has been a social problem. Lawyers over time have used law, and legal system to change social institutions in ways that poor people are able to afford basic needs. Throughout the years, the lawyers have been focussing on helping the poor to improve their lives through legislative lobbying, litigation, and social protests among others. Even with the introduction of Millennial Development Goal with a purpose of reducing poverty, the number of poor people is still high. Discrimination against the poor has increased their vulnerability. According to human rights poverty can only be alleviated when people access law equally (Iceland, 2006). Human rights acknowledge that access to justice is important in eradicating poverty. It is for this reason that people have been fighting for justice for all as a mean to eradicate poverty.

Part 2. Head Start program

Head Start program’s aim is to alleviate the effects of poverty on children. Its aim is to attack the foundation of poverty which they identify as lack of education. The goal is to bring better social competence in children at preschool level living under poverty line. The program aims at improving social, intellectual, and cognitive development, health, and nutrition. The strategies to achieve the goals include providing inclusive services such as social services, parental involvement, education, nutrition, and health. The second strategy is fostering the role of parents as the main influence towards children development (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). The third is involving parents in program decision making. The fourth strategy is partnering with community agencies to enhance service delivery.

For the forms of benefits and services, Head Start Program offers assistance in form of social services. The services target pre-school children from families under the poverty line. The program is financed by the federal government to provide public assistance safety net for poor families. The federal government seeks to ease poverty effects on peoples’ ability to access basic needs such as healthcare, food, education, and housing. Community agencies also finance the program by offering voluntary contributions. On eligibility Rules Head Start program targets poor families (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). However, only eligible children under the age of three to four years are served. The program also demands that eligible parents are involved in policy making roles concerning the educational program. The program partners with community agencies who are racially oriented to deliver its services to the target population. Referral agencies are also used in delivering the services.

Part 3. Analysis

The goals of the program are clear and elaborate the direction of the program. They clearly explain that the program hopes to develop social competence in preschool children who come from poor families. Another goal of the program is providing access to education to these children with a purpose of alleviating poverty (Chambers and Bonk, 2012). This goal again is clear as it shows that the program’s direction if ensuring that poor children access education whose absence leads to poverty. The objectives of the program are not clearly stated but are aimed at achieving the goals. The strategies such as providing inclusive services such as social services, parental involvement, education, nutrition, and health and partnering with community agencies to enhance service delivery show the target of the program which provides direction (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). These objectives aim at providing services with efficiency and adequacy. The goals and objectives of the program fit with the analysis of the social problem.

Providing services as a form of benefits is appropriate for addressing poverty considering that the main focus is on alleviating poverty effects on children. The form of benefit is also cost-effective as opposed to other alternatives such as hard benefits that would limit the program from reaching as many children as possible. This strategy helps the program to assist many children since offering benefits in form of services serves many children by giving them the education they need. In addition, the form of benefit has an important impact on education, a causal factor believed to bring poverty. The form of benefit enables the program to realize its goals (Chambers and Bonk, 2012). The eligibility rule of the program fits with the target specifications of the program. It enables the program to achieve its goals of providing young children from poor families with pre-school education. However, these rules only enable the program to reach a subgroup of the entire population that needs attention.

Administration and service delivery enable the program to reach the services to the target population. The program’s administration which includes the management, parents, and the community ensures that consumers participate in decision making which enables it to provide effective services with emphasize on accountability. The program also ensures that the agencies used in the delivery of services are accessible promoting efficiency. Head Start parents also participate in the delivery of service which encourages consumer participation one of the objectives of the program towards achieving its goals (Chambers and Wedel, 2005). The program is federally financed and other agencies also provide voluntary contributions providing resources that are needed to solve the problem. However, the finances are not adequate as the program caters for just a section of the eligible children. This prevents the program from achieving its goals.

The goals, objectives, forms of benefits, administration, delivery of service, and financing interact with each other within a program in the realization of set goals. The clarity and effectiveness of each element determine the success of the program (Chambers and Bonk, 2012). The elements must work together for efficiency. Although Head Start Program has not been fully successful in eradicating effects of poverty on children from poor families, the clear goal, the proper form of benefit, right administration, and proper service delivery has enabled it to make the positive steps it has made in enhancing children’s development. The Food Stamp Program is similar to the Head Start Program as they seek to alleviate poverty effects in families (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). When it comes to eligibility rules, both programs focus on children from poor families. However, while Head Start focuses on providing pre-school education to children between the ages of three to four years, the Food Stamp Program uses financial criteria. So long as children and families are under the poverty level, they are eligible for the benefits.

The Head Start Program has been effective in promoting the wellbeing of children who attend the program. However, the program has not been able to offer its services to all the eligible people due to financing issues. The financing of the program is inadequate limiting the number of eligible children accesses the services. The program should therefore to convince the federal government to increases its contributions to reach all the eligible children (Chambers and Wedel, 2005). In addition, the program should partner with as many agencies as possible who will give their voluntary contribution to support to expand the reach. It is therefore necessary that the organization seeks other financial sources that even in times of economic depression, the target population will still access the services. Providing the services to all eligible individuals will enable the program to realize its goals which improves its quality.


Chambers, D. and Bonk, J. (2012). Social Policy and Social Programs: A Method for the Practical Public Policy Analyst (6th Ed). Pearson.

Chambers, D. and Wedel, K. (2005). Social Policy and Social Programs: A Method for the Practical Public Policy Analyst, (4th Ed). Pearson Education, Inc.

Iceland, J. (2006). Poverty in America: A handbook. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2017). Head Start Programs. Retrieved on 15th March 2018 from programs