Date of this Version
Social welfare is traditionally discussed as a mixture of public, private, communal, and familial enterprise. Indeed, most textbooks and programs focus on the changing balance between these four circles of care. In the United States, a fifth and recently prominent circle of care exists and plays a major role, namely congregation-based social service provision. In this article, we first explain why faith-based care is so paramount in the United States, including a short discussion about the political developments in faith-based efforts. We then show the scope of congregational involvement in social service provision based on a large study of congregations. The rest of the article is dedicated to key administrative challenges regarding this mode of social service provision with a focus on their capacity, cultural characteristics, and organizational behavior. The latter topic is divided between start-up of new projects by congregations and issues related to running social programs in congregational settings. We conclude with a summary and discussion about the place of congregations as social service providers in the American welfare arena.
Congregations, faith-based social services, administrative challenges, alternative social services delivery, welfare-mix
Cnaan, R. A., Sinha, J. W., & McGrew, C. C. (2004). Congregations as Social Service Providers: Services, Capacity, Culture, and Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from http://repository.upenn.edu/spp_papers/9
Date Posted: 22 November 2006
This document has been peer reviewed.