Week 2: Social Policy and Advocacy Skills
The focus of Week 2 is on policy advocacy skills and the impact of social policy on the practice of social work. You will identify an agency or organization, examine one of its policies, and describe that policy as well as the social problem it addresses. You will also work in small groups this week, discussing the responsibilities and obligations of the social worker to the community and society affected by social policy.
- Analyze agency or organizational policy
- Apply policy advocacy skills
- Evaluate impact of policy on social work practice
- Generate Social Change Project ideas
Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.
Chapter 2, “Articulating Four Rationales for Participating in Policy Advocacy” (pp. 31-69)
Chapter 3, “Obtaining Skills and Competencies for Policy Advocacy” (pp. 70–98)
Martin, M. E. (2012). Philosophical and religious influences on social welfare policy in the United States: The ongoing effect of Reformed theology and social Darwinism on attitudes toward the poor and social welfare policy and practice. Journal of Social Work, 12(1), 51–64.
Discussion: Policies and Social Problems
Why is it important for social workers to understand policy? When you think of policies, you may tend to think of the federal policies that support services such as Medicare and state policies that support education and welfare services. However, sometimes the policies that have the greatest impact on clients are the policies of agencies and organizations.
Note: An “agency or organizational policy” is a policy. For example, it might be part of a county welfare agency that requires an administrator at a juvenile correction facility to report any individual that is an illegal immigrant that comes to that facility.
In this Discussion, you will identify a policy at an agency or organization with which you are familiar. It can be a public agency, a for-profit human service provider, or a not-for-profit community agency. Describe the organization, the policy, and the social problem it addresses.
By Day 3
Post the policy at an agency or organization with which you are familiar. Describe the organization, the policy, and the social problem it addresses.
Be sure to support your post with specific references to this week’s resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.
By Day 5
Respond to a colleague in all of the following ways:
- What changes would you make to the policy described by your colleague? Explain. Describe the specific policy advocacy skills you will use.
- How, as a professional social worker, will you work to ensure policies adequately represent the needs of oppressed and marginalized populations? Describe the specific policy advocacy skills you will use.
- What is your ethical responsibility as a social worker to engage in policy practice within your own practice or agency?
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 2 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 2 Discussion
Small Group Discussion: Social Change Projects
What does policy have to do with clinical social work? Connecting policy to direct practice can be a challenge for some micro social workers. However, policies affect the lives of each and every client who walks through your door. Policies affect clients ability to access and pay for services. Policies also affect environmental conditions that influence individual experience.
During this term, you will have an opportunity to create a Social Change Project. In Week 3, you will identify a social problem and a policy related to this problem. In Week 6, you will present a proposal for your social advocacy project that you will complete this term. In Week 8, you will analyze the strengths and weakness of the current policy. In Week 9, you will present a policy alternative. Finally, in Week 10, you will submit the final project by compiling the Weeks 3, 6, 8, 9 assignments and revising based on instructor feedback. You will also present on the actions and outcomes of your advocacy.
For this week’s small group discussion, you discuss ideas for your individual Social Change project. The Project will be completed individually; however, you discuss your Project in this week’s small group discussion to help you develop your idea based on peer feedback.
By Day 4
Post your responses to the following question presented for the Group Discussion:
- Explain what area you are interested in engaging in advocacy.
- Briefly, identify the related social problem and types of policies that may impact the social problem.
- Identify 2-3 ideas you are considering for your Social Change Project.
- Explain how the project may impact clients in a clinical social work setting.
By Day 6
Respond to two of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:
- Ask a probing question.
- Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
- Offer and support an opinion.
- Make a suggestion.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting.
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 2 Small Group Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 6
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 2 Small Group Discussion 2
Week in Review
This week you analyzed agency or organizational policy and applied policy advocacy skills. You also evaluated the impact of policy on social work practice.
Next week you will submit Part 1 of your Social Change Project to identify and describe a current social problem.
In Week 6, you will submit your proposal for a Social Change Project that you will complete during this term. You will present on this Social Change Project in Week 10. You are encouraged to begin working on these assignments now.
Tonya Adams RE: Discussion – Week 2COLLAPSE
Description of Agency
Horizon Ridge Clinic is an organization that provide mental health and substance abuse services to the community at large. At Horizon Ridge Clinic the services are wrapped around the communities of color, families, individuals, couples, and groups with mental health, substance abuse, and dual of diagnosed disorders. The agency comprehensive program begins during the initial clinical assessment, where expert staff conducts a thorough evaluation for any mental health and/or substance abuse issues to potential co-concurrent conditions, as well as, social service determination assessment in order to create an accurate treatment approach using client-centered methods to customize the therapeutic need while addressing the social deficiencies.
Policy of Agency
Horizon Ridge Clinic the policy reflects social policy that is determined by state and federal laws. For example, Horizon Ridge Clinic is a provider for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. This program first enacted in 1990, it is the largest federal program designed specifically for people with HIV, serving over half of all those that are diagnosed. When Horizon Ridge Clinic first became a provider for the Ryan White program the clients had to bring in proof of diagnoses every 6 months. However, the federal laws for the Ryan White program for the clients has changed. It indicates that the assessment to determined eligibility has change to where clients does not have to bring in diagnoses but must bring in lab work to determine the rate of viral suppression.
Although, Horizon Ridge Clinic, does abide the federal and state policy laws they agency has its own set of policies and procedures that staff members and interns must follow. Policy statements fall within the category of agency actions that are “rules” within the Administrative Procedure Act’s definition because they constitute “the whole or a part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or describe law or policy,” 5 U.S.C. 551(4).
Address of social problem
The social problem identified by the Horizon Ridge agency is the lack of services provided to persons living with HIV/AIDs in the greater Las Vegas Valley area. Therefore, Horizon Ridge entered into a contract with Ryan White for funding for services to meet the needs of this population.
Eddis, B (2005) Horizon Ridge Client, Retrieve from www.horizonridgeclinic.com
Darnell FAWCETT RE: Small Group Discussion Group A – Week 2COLLAPSE
This student finds advocacy a difficult topic as this student tends to get into the weeds when trying to pick a topic and area of interest to focus on. To be told to chose one area is difficult as there are multiple areas of interest to this student. One area of interest to this student is adults with mental illness between the ages of 18 and 65. Too often this population is forgotten about when they are higher functioning as these are individuals appearing seemingly normal to the community and therefore holding all expectations that anyone else would have of them despite the illness that has a significant impact on themselves and those around them.
The Guardian (2017), identified that mental illness itself is a social problem. The stigma around and treating mental as a taboo topic for society as a whole and communities individually have reached a critical and disproportionate number in comparison to mental health services and professionals available and policies and laws to protect individuals with mental illness. NAMI (2020), has identified national policy priorities in regard to mental health, among these are “promoting early intervention, improving the integration of care, supporting caregivers, military service members and veterans, and ending the criminalization of mental illness.”
For this students social change project, she is considering 1) meeting with a guardian ad litem for parents with mental illness within the court system for dependency and neglect regard to their children. 2) Partnering with local law enforcement behavioral health teams to identify gaps in community behavioral health response teams in service provision to the community. 3) Partnering with a local psychiatric hospital to identify and develop possible task force options to initiate policy for transitioning mentally ill patients back into their communities following acute hospitalization that are at risk for, or will be transferred to jail following charges received while psychiatrically unstable.
In social work settings, which may be with the police department, with the criminal justice departments, within lawyers offices, or within psychiatric hospitals, it is reasonable to believe that social workers will bear the majority of policy creation, implementation and sustaining in any of the areas this student has identified for a possible social policy change project. In this students experience in varying social service roles, it has been identified that social workers are largely the ones in charge of policy auditing, quality, and success. Social workers are also often the policy enforcers in many agencies and the gate keepers for clients and stakeholders to interact with the policy.
NAMI. (2020). Learn More About Mental Health. NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Public-Policy/National-Policy-Priorities
The Guardian. (2017, September 20). Full Text: Richard Laylard’s Speech to the Sainsbury Centre on Mental Health. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/sep/14/mentalhealth.socialcare1
Brittany Everett RE: Small Group Discussion Group A – Week 2COLLAPSE
The area I am interested in engaging in advocacy is with sociological groups that include women, older persons, and people with disabilities (Jansson, 2018, p.5). The social problem this group encounters is an unequal opportunity for specific jobs, promotions, and roles of authority (p.5). Budget and health policies affect their advancement in society. My ideas are all over the place. I do not know whether I want to advocate at the community, national, or international level. I am thinking about creating an online blog of a daily/weekly reflection to reach a broad audience about this social problem. Also, I am thinking of using video and multimedia to record short films or documentaries. This social change project may impact clients in a clinical social work setting by changing their circumstances. Research indicates that “social change helps reinforce inequality, injustice, poverty, and lack of access (Harper, 2018, p.35).”
Harper, C., L. & Leicht, K. (2018). Exploring social change: America and the world. Upper saddle river, N.J: prentice hall. Chapter:2
Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series