Policy Skills and Practice Advocacy for social and economic justice is an ethical responsibility of all social workers. The social workers need to analyze policies from many different aspects, anticipate unintended

consequences, and educate legislators, stakeholders, and the population on policy issues. This requires a specialized skill set, and this week’s Assignments will provide you with some of these skills.

This week, you examine social policies and analyze how they are evaluated. You also examine the role of lobbying and campaigning in social work practice. Finally, you explore the steps for incorporating policy in social work practice that reflects professional ethics.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze social policy changes
  • Analyze how social policies are evaluated
  • Evaluate how policy advocacy is related to social work practice
  • Analyze the role of lobbying and campaigning in social work practice

Photo Credit: [Jacob Wackerhausen]/[E+]/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore: MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
“Working With Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma: The Case of Rita” (pp. 81–83)

Rome, S., Harris, S., & Hoechstetter, S. (2010). Social work and civic engagement: The political participation of professional social workers. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 37(3), 107–129.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Plummer, S. -B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories. Baltimore: MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
Part 1, “The Johnson Family” (pp. 11–13)

Popple,  P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2019). The policy-based profession: An  introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers (7th  ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Chapter 13, “Taking Action: Policy Practice for Social Workers” (pp. 285-306)
Chapter 13, “Conclusion” (pp. 307-312)

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Sessions: Johnson family (Episode 4 of 42) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload Transcript

Discussion 1:
Policy Analysis and Application

According to the NASW Code of Ethics section 6.04 (NASW, 2008), social workers are ethically bound to work for policies that support the healthy development of individuals, guarantee equal access to services, and promote social and economic justice.

For this Discussion, review this week’s resources, including Working with Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma: The Case of Rita and “The Johnson Family”. Consider what change you might make to the policies that affect the client in the case you chose. Finally, think about how you might evaluate the success of the policy changes.

By Day 3

Post an explanation of one change you might make to the policies that affect the client in the case. Be sure to reference the case you selected in your post. Finally, explain how you might evaluate the success of the policy changes.

Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

By Day 5

Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.

Respond to at least two colleagues by explaining the various costs you think will be associated with their suggested policy changes. Then, explain whether a consideration of cost when adopting a policy or program contradicts the social workers’ code of ethics.

Support your response with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

Return to this Discussion to read the responses to your initial post. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

 

Discussion 2:
The Social Work Advocate in Politics

Social workers often have commitments to specific policies, laws, or funding of programs that are vital to the population they serve or an issue that they strongly support. Such commitments often lead social workers to become involved in political issues and the campaigns of specific candidates. Being a social worker, such campaign experiences, the outcomes of your efforts, and how effective you felt you were may affect your view of the political process and the likelihood of becoming involved in similar campaigns in the future.

For this Discussion, reflect on your experiences if you have ever participated in a political campaign. What was the outcome of your participation? If you have not participated in a campaign, choose a campaign topic you support or oppose and consider the ways you might like to participate in that campaign. Likewise, think about your experiences if you have ever lobbied on a topic. If you have not, choose a topic for which you might like to lobby in favor or against. Finally, consider how you think social workers might have a powerful and positive effect as elected officials.

By Day 4

Post an explanation of the role of lobbying and campaigning in social work practice. Then, explain how you think social workers might have a powerful and positive effect as elected officials. Finally, explain of the impact, if any, the experiences and opinions of your colleagues have had on your own experiences and opinions.

Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two colleagues by offering a suggestion for how your colleague might gain political and/or lobbying experience for the political issue your colleagues described. Also, explain the steps you might take to incorporate policy advocacy in your practice based on insights, experiences, and/or opinions your colleagues described. Be sure your explanation takes the perspective of a social work professional with a responsibility to uphold professional ethics.

Support your response with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

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