The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership.

Cnaan, Ram, Wineburg, Robert J., and Boddie, Stephanie. The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership. Columbia University Press, 1999.

Written in the backdrop of “devolution” in social services beginning in the 1970s and culminating in the 1996 welfare reform act, Ram A. Cnaan and co-authors Robert J. Wineburg and Stephanie C. Boddie describe the predominant trends in the social service sector especially as they relate to the involvement of religious communities in social service delivery. The authors assert that the religious community based social service provisions are currently stronger than they have ever been; while arguing this thesis, the book traces the history of social service involvement by religious communities and in fact points to the religious roots of social service in general in the United States. Theological trends underpinning social service outlook of religious communities belonging to different faith traditions are expansively described. In addition, the authors survey the extant literature on social service practice in relation to the role of religious communities and religion in general; they find a general lack in this regard and make several suggestions for more research and improvement in curricula in institutions of higher education. The authors assert the need for a “newer deal” in the form of enabling partnerships between social work and religion that will allow each to preserve the particulars of its values while working together to help those in need; several suggestions in this regard at various levels are made in the concluding section.