Charitable Choice at Work
Evaluating Faith-Based Job Programs in the States
Charitable Choice at Work fills this gap with a comprehensive look at the evidence for and against faith-based initiatives. Sheila Suess Kennedy and Wolfgang Bielefeld review the movement's historical context along with legal analysis of constitutional concerns including privatization, federalism, and separation of church and state. Using both qualitative and, where possible, statistical data, the authors analyze the performance of job placement programs in three states with a representative range of religious, political, and demographic traits—Massachusetts, Indiana, and North Carolina. Throughout, they focus on measurable outcomes as they compare non-faith-based with faith-based organizations, nonprofits with for-profits, and the logistics of contracting before and after Charitable Choice.
Among their findings: in states where such information is available, the composition of social service contractor pools has changed very little. Reflecting their varied political cultures, states have funded programs differently. Faith-based organizations have not been eager to seek government contracts, perhaps wary of additional legal restraints and reporting burdens.
The authors conclude that faith-based organizations appear no more effective than secular organizations at government-funded social service provision, that there has been no dramatic change in the social welfare landscape since Charitable Choice, and that the constitutional concerns of its detractors may be valid. This empirical study penetrates the fog of the culture wars, moving past controversy over the role of religion in public life to offer pragmatic suggestions for policymakers and organizations who must decide how best to assist the needy.
About the Author
Wolfgang Bielefeld is professor of public affairs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. He is the coeditor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and coauthor of Nonprofit Organizations in an Age of Uncertainty.
"One legacy of the faith-based initiative is the research and reflection it has inspired on religion and social services. This book combines close examination of Indiana's version of the faith-based initiative with informative discussion of the initiative's history and lively assessment of the constitutional issues it raises. It is an important contribution to the literature on the faith-based initiative's causes, consequences, and complexities. Beyond the faith-based initiative, Kennedy and Bielefeld deepen our understanding of religion's longstanding and ongoing role in our social welfare system."—Mark Chaves, professor of sociology, University of Arizona
|Georgetown University Press|
|Public Management and Change|
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