2016 News

Based on Grand Challenges, 12 questions for the candidates

The American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare has developed a list of 12 questions for candidates for president, Congress, and state and local offices. The questions stem from work at the Grand Challenges policy conference, September 15-16 at the Brown School of Social Work, which drew more than 250 experts, advocates, and leading academics from all over the United States.

  • Access to preventive care can improve the health of Americans and save money in the long run, but behavioral health is often overlooked in policy discussions about prevention. What will you do to unleash the power of prevention in behavioral health care so our families can be protected from this form of suffering?
  • Twenty-seven million Americans remain uninsured. What will you do to ensure that everyone has health coverage and access to health care?
  • Six children die every day from child maltreatment in this country, and six million are maltreated every year. This maltreatment is often accompanied by partner abuse. What will you do to protect the lives of vulnerable children and women who are victims of family violence?
  • Nearly every older American will rely on long-term care from a family member at some point, and people give up careers or shoulder other difficulties to stay home for family. Pending legislation offers some federal help. Would you sign this legislation, and what will you do to ensure that caregivers can meet their own needs as well as those of their elders?
  • Experts now say that social isolation is as deadly as smoking but that promoting social connections in infancy and childhood are a key part of the remedy. How will you ensure that child care in the United States fosters proper social-emotional development?
  • Over one million people are homeless at some point every year, and too many of them are children. What will you do to ensure that homelessness is rare and brief?
  • Climate change and natural disasters like the summer’s flooding in Louisiana have displaced many Americans. What will you do to meet the needs of people displaced by climate change and to address the effects of global climate change?
  • Americans now need Internet access to search for a job, find a place to live, apply for college, and access health information, but access is severely limited in low-income neighborhoods and rural areas. What will you do to ensure that all Americans can participate in all that our technological society has to offer?
  • Over two million people are in jail or prison on any given day, most for nonviolent offenses, which costs over a trillion dollars a year. How will you safely fix mass incarceration and its devastating effects on American communities?
  • American workers need protection from employers who maximize profits by adopting harmful labor practices like last-minute scheduling and by paying wages so low that their employees qualify for public welfare benefits. What steps will you take to protect workers from the labor practices of their employers?
  • Research points to numerous social-emotional and financial benefits for children whose parents open Child Development Accounts for them, and progressively structured accounts opened at birth can ensure that even the poorest children benefit. Will you commit to opening and funding such an account for every child born in America?
  • In schools across the United States, zero-tolerance policies and excessive use of expulsion feed a school-to-prison pipeline that has disproportionately captured children of color. How will you dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and keep children in school while preserving an environment in which all can learn?