Poverty Law

B643 is taught by S. Boys

This course will explore the implications of policy and precedent on the lives of low-income Americans. Social welfare programs, such as TANF, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formally food stamps), will be discussed in regard to the program history, legal development, and impact upon poverty. Causes of poverty will be examined in the context of the legal system, as well as other social institutions. The impact of poverty upon access to the justice system will also be a major theme in course content. Broad topics will include: the role of government in poverty prevention, homelessness, health care, hunger, minimum wage, work incentives, lending practices, access to education, and the criminalization of poverty.

Readings will include pertinent cases, as well as social science literature assessing how legislation is being implemented and the consequences for recipients. Current reform initiatives will be covered, such as health care reform and increases in the minimum wage. The course will conclude with an exam, but will also require minor assignments during the semester. An understanding of poverty cannot be attained in a classroom environment alone, so the course will involve an investigatory research project.

Dr. Stephanie Boys is a professor of social work at IUPUI and an alumnus of Indiana University Maurer School of Law.