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New Perspectives on Poverty

Policies, Programs, and Practice

Elissa D. Giffords and Karen R. Garber

Publication Date - 01 July 2014

ISBN: 9780190615499

560 pages
6 x 8.9 inches

In Stock


What is poverty? Who is at risk? What myths about poverty are pervasive in the United States?

This textbook, the first of its kind, explores the contemporary realities and perceptions of poverty. It captures the historical realities since Colonial times as well as addresses the contemporary realities, focusing on current trends in the United States, including the Great Recession, which began in 2007, leaving many middle-class families in poverty or vulnerable to harsh economic conditions and a sluggish recovery.

The book presents readers with balanced coverage regarding the multidimensional issues related to poverty and social inequity, while exploring issues related to social injustice. The authors bring together theoretical, empirical, and clinical knowledge using reader friendly and jargon free language to discuss public and private approaches to reducing poverty and examine how public opinion drives policies. Professors Giffords and Garber challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding poverty, focusing attention on at-risk populations. These include people who are homeless, persons with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, individuals with co-occurring disorders, and veterans and military families. The format of the book provides case studies which cover micro, macro and mezzo practice. The action item chapter offers readers an opportunity to effectuate change locally and can be utilized in colleges, universities and among new and experienced professionals alike.


  • defines poverty and social welfare in historical and contemporary contexts from multiple perspectives
  • relevant case studies along with additional resources and Internet links to help further understanding thorough treatment of employment-related policies
  • practical interventions at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels
  • discussion questions for full lectures, small groups, or personal reflection on specific topics

About the Author(s)

Elissa D. Giffords (DSW, MSW, Adelphi University) is professor of social work at Long Island University Post Campus. Her responsibilities include oversight of the LIU MSW program's policy sequence and the child welfare concentration. She also currently serves as chairperson of Nassau County Department of Social Services Commissioner's Advisory Council and program cochair of Nassau County Executive's Family Violence Task Force. Professor Giffords has previously served as a child protective services caseworker, homeless prevention coordinator, policy advocate, and direct service and outreach coordinator. She received the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) NYS Social Worker of the Year Award in 2008, became a New York Academy of Medicine fellow in 2010, and lectured on social work education at Nanjing University of Science and Technology in China in 2011.

Karen R. Garber (BSW, MSW, Adelphi University; JD, Touro Law Center) is a social worker, attorney, and adjunct professor at Long Island University. She currently manages the Office of Consumer and Public Information and is administrator for Adult Protective Services, Family and Children's Services, and Child Protective Services at the Nassau County Department of Social Services. Prior to her current administrative position, Garber worked exclusively in child welfare, directly overseeing programs that included foster care, adoption, persons in need of supervision, juvenile delinquents, mentoring, and independent living. In 2012, Garber represented Long Island University Post Campus in Nanjing, China, where she taught students about current social work practices in the United States.

Table of Contents

    List of Tables and Figures
    Chapter 1 What Is Poverty?
    Chapter 2 Contemporary Responses to Poverty
    Chapter 3 Employment, Poverty, and Social Welfare
    Chapter 4 People Experiencing Homelessness
    Chapter 5 Families, Women, and Children
    Chapter 6 Older Adults
    Chapter 7 People with Disabilities
    Chapter 8 Persons with Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders
    Chapter 9 Poverty among Immigrants and Refugees
    Chapter 10 Poverty and Its Impact on the Military Family and the American Veteran
    Chapter 11 Poverty: What You Can Do
    About the Contributors