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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Reference

Popple, P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2015). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education..

  • Chapter 12, “Taking Action: Policy Practice for Social Workers” (pp. 262-283)
  • Chapter 13, “Conclusion” (pp. 284-289)
 
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