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Policy Analysis: Single Mothers in Poverty

5 pages
1183 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Literature review
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Public policies refer to various laws, regulations, and programs that are established by the government especially the Senate to solve public problems. In policy analysis, one can examine and evaluate different options that include analytical and descriptive attempts that explain the development of the policy and how it impacts the public. Different models are also used to analyze the various public policies with a goal of making a decision that will best solve the problem. This paper will critically analyze three frameworks of policy analysis namely the value-critical approach (chambers), Analysis model (Mclnnis-Dittrich), and Gil's Model. The key problem in this study is the single mothers in poverty, and the policy of concern is the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA).

Critique Matrix

Frameworks Value-Critical Approach (Chambers) Analysis model (Mclnnis-Dittrich), Gils Model

Aspects of Critique Strengths and Weaknesses This model provides a frame of reference used to determine if a social policy offers the goal of achieving the right justice through correcting injustice (Segal, 2016).

The weakness of this model is that it doesnt provide specific criteria on which one can evaluate and then interpret a policy (Segal, 2016). Mclnnis-Dittrich model has been widely used because of its capacity to analyze the effect of the policy to an agency (Hessle & Almeida, 2014).

This framework does not offer analysis at the micro policy levels which is a key weakness because of eliminating personal reaction, support, and social justice.

The strength of this model is that it offers a comprehensive stance whereby all the possible variables that are used in choosing a policy are reviewed (Gil, 2007).

The weakness of this model is that it uses one component of policy analysis i.e., a series of probing questions instead of two.

Positives and Negatives Using this model gives one adequate access to basic elements that are associated with social problems.

The advantage of this model is that modifications can be made to allow analysis beyond micro policy levels. The good thing about using this model is that different analysts are likely to lead to similar factual conclusions.

Effectiveness This model focuses on many domains that are of concern to a society and are affected by the policy. Additionally, this model provides a room to evaluate an alternative policy that can achieve a similar or different objective regarding the major domain in the society. It is effective for diverse client system as well as oppressed client systems (Segal, 2016).

This model is effective because it applies the interaction between approach, needs, assessment, and logistics. The four stages of analysis provide a quality and effective evaluation of social and economic justice for diverse client systems and oppressed client systems (Hessle & Almeida, 2014). This model applies a single component of analysis whereby a series of probing questions are used thus making not much effective for diverse client systems (Gil, 2007).

On the other hand, it is effective in evaluating social and economic justice for the oppressed client system.

Benefits to Agencies Agencies can best use this model to evaluate different policies and solve policy questions. This model is of great benefit to agencies because it provides a diverse and effective approach used to evaluate the effects of implementing a policy and other implications. The Gils model is of great benefit to the agencies because of its effectiveness in developing factual conclusions (Gil, 2007).


From the matrix above, the three models are effective in policy analysis although there are various implications according to each model. Again, the models are used differently depending on the purpose of analysis. For instance, Gil's model provides stance of evaluating variables for choosing a policy. In the above case, this model identifies the problems associated with the particular policy. The Mclnnis-Dittrich model, on the other hand, provides a basic analysis of how policies affect agencies (Hessle & Almeida, 2014). This model has a different goal as compared to others. The third model which is the Value-Critical Approach, it has a different goal also to analyze policies based on their justice to the society, and it focuses on social problems. From the goals of each model, the implication is that not all conditions are defined as social problems, and on the other hand, not all problems can be described as social problems.

When identifying problems, they are based on their misalignment with priorities and status of those affected by the problem. In the above case, it is the focus population. The basic understanding of a social problem is therefore based on understanding how and what another individual or group of people think and believes concerning the social event being referred as a problem. When defining a social problem, therefore, some factors to put into considerations include the observable signs, the cause of the social problem and its consequences, values, and assumptions associated with the problem, and the gainers and losers regarding the existence of the social problem. In this case, single mothers in poverty can be defined as a social problem because it is a constraint to a specific population that is affected. Concerning the magnitude of effects, single mothers are vulnerable to poverty because of being single. This problem can as well be identified through analysis of the PRWORA act of 1996. This act was established to enhance adult participation in the workforce through a permanent bid, promoting family instability, and access to resources. Analysis of this act will, therefore, be carried out using the Value-Critical Approach.

Value-Critical Approach is the best model to evaluate the focus problem of single mothers in poverty based on the PRWORA act of 1996. In this model, one can identify the goals, mission, and objectives of the policy in trying to solve the problem (Segal, 2016). Again, the model allows identification of basic elements that are consistent with the social problem and in this case the single mothers in poverty as addressed by the PRWORA act of 1996. By providing a justification of adequacy and efficiency of the policy, this model will have also given a framework for determining whether the policy is a good one. This model is also effective in determining how the policy will solve the problem. Through the existence of this policy, the single women are the beneficiaries of this act since it provides a specific niche for them in the workforce. Another implication of this policy based on the values and assumptions defined when identifying the problem is that all the target population is affected by poverty to the extent of affecting the entire family.

In conclusion, policy analysis is a reliable way of deciding the effectiveness of a given policy in solving the identified problem. From the different models, there is an implication that not all problems are social problems and therefore an effective model should be selected when evaluating social problems. If the policy isn't effective, an alternative policy could solve the problem.


Gil, D. (2007). A Systematic Approach to Social Policy Analysis. Social Service Review, 44(4),

411-426.Hessle, S., & Almeida, S. M. F. (2014). Human rights and social equality: Challenges for social

work. Surrey, England ; Burlington, Vermont : Ashgate.

Segal, E. A. (2016). Social welfare policy and social programs: A values perspective. Boston,


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