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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

About Faith-Based Social Services

Faith-Based Social Services

From January 2002 to December 2008, the Rockefeller Institute of Government was home to the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, a major project that analyzed legal implications and trends, policy and regulatory changes, extent of public and private funding, and effectiveness of partnerships between governments and religious organizations in the delivery of public services.

Formed with a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy was created to engage and inform government, religious, and civic leaders about the role of faith-based organizations in our social welfare system by means of nonpartisan, evidence-based discussions on the potential and pitfalls of such involvement. The Roundtable was charged with increasing awareness among key stakeholders -- including policy makers, religious and civic leaders, and the media -- of the critical issues related to faith-based social service programs by means of in-depth analysis and discussion based on the best social service science, legal, and policy research.

Guided by an Advisory Council of prominent civic, media, religious, and academic leaders, the Roundtable’s work focused on four topical areas:

  1. Developments in federal and state law regarding service partnerships between religious organizations and the government;
  2. Changes in the policy environment for faith-based social services in Washington, DC and state capitals around the nation;
  3. Scope of religious and religiously affiliated organizations in addressing established and newly articulated goals of public policy; and
  4. Effectiveness of social services provided by faith-based organizations.