chapter  11
19 Pages

Privatization in the human services: The impact on the front lines and the ground f loor

WithMimi Abramovitz, Jennifer Zelnick

Human service agencies are well known for the quality of services they provide to individuals, families, and communities. However, during the last three decades in both the US and Europe neoliberal social and economic policies have restructured the delivery of human services in ways that affect the wellbeing of clients and the capacity of both human service organizations and workers to deliver services. Scholars from various disciplines and many countries have studied the impact of neoliberalism on the scale and scope of social welfare programmes, the hollowing out of the welfare state, and the slow-down of the economy. Others have examined its impact on human vulnerability (Fineman, 2012) especially the poor, low-wage workers and agency clients/service users. 3 Yet only a few researchers have looked at the impact of the current paradigm on institutions such as human service organizations whose programmes address basic human needs and have the potential to decrease vulnerability.