School of Social Policy & Practice

Founded as one of the nation's earliest schools of social work in the United States, the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) has trained social work professionals for over 110 years. In the 21st century, its scope expanded to include public policy and nonprofit leadership as natural extensions of applied social research. Today, SP2 offers masters programs in social work, public policy, and nonprofit leadership; doctoral programs in social welfare and clinical social work, and a wide range of certificate programs and specializations. The school is home to several research centers, including the Center for Carceral Communities, the Center for Guaranteed Income Research, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the Center for Social Impact Strategy, the Center for Social Mobility and Prosperity, the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research, and the Ortner Center on Violence and Abuse. Faculty and graduate work is rooted in social justice, community care, and advancing equity-based policies worldwide.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 42
  • Publication
    Cultural Ecology, Neighborhood Vitality, and Social Wellbeing—A Philadelphia Project
    (2013-12-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    From 2011 to 2013, SIAP with Reinvestment Fund undertook new research that featured development of multidimensional indexes of social wellbeing for the city of Philadelphia. This report presents the results of that collaboration. Chapter 1 documents construction of a neighborhood-based social wellbeing index for the city. Chapter 2 uses the social wellbeing index to analyze patterns of advantage and disadvantage in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Chapter 3 draws on SIAP's historical data to examine changes in Philadelphia's cultural ecology between 1997 and 2012. The summary highlights how the policy tool helps conceptualize and measure culture as a dimension of social wellbeing as well as a contributor to equitable communities.
  • Publication
    Culture and Community Revitalization: A Framework for the Emerging Field of Culture-Based Neighborhood Revitalization
    (2011-08-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This summary flyer provides an overview of the publications produced as part of the Culture and Community Revitalization project. The SIAP - Reinvestment Fund collaboration was undertaken from 2006 to 2008 with support by the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • Publication
    Culture Builds Community Evaluation: Summary Report
    (2002-01-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    In 1997 the William Penn Foundation undertook the Culture Builds Community (CBC) initiative as a way to link its commitments to urban communities and to the arts and culture in the Philadelphia region. The initiative eventually funded 29 programs involving 38 organizations to test a variety of strategies to expand cultural participation and strengthen community-based cultural organizations. Some organizations received core operating support while others were funded to undertake programs focused on expanding cultural opportunities, enhancing artistic quality, or fostering community-based collaborations with a focus on young people. The Foundation provided technical assistance as well as funding to CBC grantees, from June 1997 through February 2001, and awarded a grant to Penn’s Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) to evaluate the initiative. SIAP's assessment had two objectives: (1) to provide a better understanding of the dynamics of the community cultural sector and (2) to determine whether CBC achieved its goals with respect to strengthening organizations, expanding cultural opportunities, and improving the role of cultural organizations in building community. This report presents the findings of that assessment. SIAP concludes that overall, at the end of the initiative, the region’s community cultural sector was much stronger than it had been three years earlier.
  • Publication
    Accountability, Cost-Effectiveness, and Program Performance: Progress Since 1998
    (2008-02-11) Culhane, Dennis P; Gross, Kennen S; Parker, Wayne D; Poppe, Barbara; Sykes, Ezra
    The authors summarize the progress made in the past decade toward making homeless assistance programs more accountable to funders, consumers, and the public. They observe that research on the costs of homelessness and cost offsets associated with intervention programs has been limited to people who are homeless with severe mental illness. But this research has raised awareness of the value of this approach, such that dozens of new studies in this area are underway, mostly focused on "chronic homelessness." Less progress has been made in using cost and performance data to systematically assess interventions for families, youth, and transitionally homeless adults. The authors present case studies of promising practices from the State of Arizona and Columbus, Ohio, demonstrating innovative uses of client and program data to measure performance and improve program management toward state policy goals, such as increased housing placement rates, reduced lengths of homelessness, and improved housing stability.
  • Publication
    Annotated Bibliography of Out-of-School Time Professional Development Resources
    (2007-12-01) Whaley, Adrienne; Colby, Lisa; Peter, Nancy
    The OSTRC conducted literature searches of the UPENN library databases including PsycInfo, ERIC and Professional Development Collection for articles pertaining to promising practices in professional development and evaluating professional development. In addition to searching the library database, we conducted Google searches. We used various search terms and key words including the following: • professional development and out-of-school time • professional development and program quality • promising practices and out of school time • professional development and afterschool • professional development and quality • evaluating professional development • afterschool and quality • out-of-school time • afterschool
  • Publication
    Making Homelessness Programs Accountable to Consumers, Funders and the Public
    (1997) Culhane, Dennis P; Eldridge, David; Rosenheck, Robert; Wilkins, Carol
    This paper discusses how different types of performance measurement can be used to improve the accountability of homeless programs to consumers, funders and to the public. A distinction is made between the kinds of data used in formal research projects and data that can be practically obtained in a practice setting. Consumer outcomes are discussed in terms of accountability to consumers, program outcomes in terms of accountability to funders, and systems outcomes in terms of accountability to the public. Cost-benefit analyses are also discussed as providing another critical dimension of accountability to funders and the public.
  • Publication
    Arts Resources for Children and Youth in Philadelphia
    (1997-04-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This report, commissioned in 1995 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, presents findings of a study of arts and cultural resources for children and youth in Philadelphia. The purpose of the project was to examine access to and opportunities in the arts for young people and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the citywide system. The project used two perspectives to assess resources. First, the research team developed a geographic data base of existing nonprofit youth arts providers and arts in the public schools. This was combined with US census data to examine the geography and socio-economic context of existing services. Second, the team conducted over 40 interviews with cultural organizations and city agencies to understand relationships among different providers as a network of children’s arts resources. Appendix A lists the 229 nonprofit youth-serving cultural organizations in Philadelphia and identifies the 47 providers that participated in the qualitative phase of the study.
  • Publication
    “Natural” Cultural Districts: A Three-City Study
    (2013-02-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    From 2010 to 2012, SIAP undertook a study of “natural” cultural districts in three cities—Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Seattle. This report presents findings of two sets of analyses: a citywide analysis of the social geography and cultural ecology of each city and a set of case studies of cultural clusters within the three cities. For each case study, in the following seven neighborhoods, a statistical overview was fleshed out by qualitative study: Baltimore—Highlandtown-Patterson Park and Station North; Philadelphia—Callowhill/Chinatown North and South Philadelphia; and Seattle—Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Chinatown-International District. The citywide analyses examined the relationship of cultural engagement to social and economic change in the three cities. The case studies focused on the character and evolution of “natural” cultural districts and the challenges posed to their sustainability, including the role of cultural space. The broader goal of the project was to understand the dynamics of the community cultural ecosystem, connections between cultural ecology and community wellbeing, and implications for policy and planning.
  • Publication
    Prevalence and Risk of Homelessness among US Veterans: A Multisite Investigation
    (2011-08-01) Fargo, Jamison; Metraux, Stephen; Byrne, Thomas; Munley, Ellen; Montgomery, Ann Elizabeth; Jones, Harlan; Sheldon, George; Culhane, Dennis P
  • Publication
    Promising Practices in Out-of-School Time Professional Development
    (2007-12-01) Peter, Nancy
    Research in the out-of-school time (OST) field confirms that there is a strong connection between professional development (PD) for staff and positive outcomes for youth. According to Heather Weiss, Founder and Director of the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), "Professional development for those who work with children and youth is fraught with challenges and ripe with opportunity – specifically, the opportunity to increase staff quality, which experts agree is critical to positive experiences for children and youth" (Weiss, 2005/2006). However, as Thomas Guskey (1998) states, "For many years, educators have operated under the premise that professional development is good by definition, and therefore more is always better. If you want to improve your professional development program, the thinking goes, simply add a day or two." Thus, although considered important for staff, OST professional development often does not benefit from adequate attention or expertise. The purpose of this document is to broadly define OST professional development and summarize promising practices in its design, implementation, and evaluation.