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Caught in the Storm

Navigating Policy and Practice in the Welfare Reform Era

Miguel Ferguson, Heather Neuroth-Gatlin, and Stacey Borasky

Publication Date - 01 March 2010

ISBN: 9780190616045

116 pages
6 x 9.2 inches


Caught in the Storm tells the story of Helping Hands, a small nonprofit social service agency set in the fictional community of River City. Readers will recognize Helping Hands as the type of agency where social workers are often employed to assist individuals and families to meet basic economic needs. In fact, many social workers have founded agencies like Helping Hands to meet pressing needs in their own communities. But Caught in the Storm stands in sharp contrast to didactic textbook accounts of agencies and their clients. It also differs from the accounts others have written of individuals trying to survive since Congress and President Bill Clinton ended welfare as we knew it.

Caught in the Storm is most compelling in its use of narrative to tell the story of an agency, its staff, and its clients. The issues about social welfare policy and administration the authors have chosen to highlight emerge through action and dialogue among the book's characters. Readers will identify with Martha, the insightful and energetic executive director, as she and her staff reach out to other nonprofit and faith-based organizations to implement a welfare-to-work program, which will make a difference in the lives of the low-income clients they serve. Caught in the Storm also incorporates personal and ethical issues and political differences among staff and clients, revealing the day-to-day dramas with which social service agencies must deal even as they assume a larger role in the delivery of important social welfare services.


  • Readable narrative form
  • Specifically written for introduction to social work, first-year policy, and macro-practice courses
  • Discusses multiple federal programs and policies in a client-centered context
  • Real-world view of non-profit management, staff and clinical supervision, and program evaluation issues
  • Street-level view of disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
  • Innovative assignments and compelling discussion questions for each chapter
  • Glossaries of policies, terms, abbreviations, and Spanish words and phrases

About the Author(s)

Miguel Ferguson (PhD, University of Washington; MA, University of Arizona), is associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.

Heather Neuroth-Gatlin (MPA, Texas State University - San Marcos), is vice president for Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response (LSSDR) and has spent over fourteen years in nonprofit and public sector management.

Stacey Borasky (EdD, Tennessee State University; MSW, West Virginia University), is chair of the social work and sociology departments at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She has twenty years of experience in the child welfare arena as a social work practitioner, academic, and administrator.

Table of Contents

    Glossary of Policies and Terms
    Spanish Terms
    List of Characters
    Chapter 1: June 2004 "An Opportunity Arises"
    Chapter 2: June 15, 2004 "A Question of Needs"
    Chapter 3: "Putting It All Together: Innovation, Flexibility, and Teamwork"
    Chapter 4: "A New Era Begins"
    Chapter 5: "After the Storm"
    Chapter 6: "The End or a New Beginning?"

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