According to the Council on Social Work Education, Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice:
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Social workers understand that human rights and social justice, as well as social welfare and services, are mediated by policy and its implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. Social workers understand the history and current structures of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery, and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers understand their role in policy development and implementation within their practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and they actively engage in policy practice to effect change within those settings. Social workers recognize and understand the historical, social, cultural, economic, organizational, environmental, and global influences that affect social policy. They are also knowledgeable about policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation.
The school MSW program expects students in their specialization year to be able to:
Evaluate the implication of policies and policy change in the lives of clients/constituents.
Demonstrate critical thinking skills that can be used to inform policymakers and influence policies that impact clients/constituents and services.
This assignment is intended to help students demonstrate the behavioral components of this competency in their field education.
1-To prepare: Working with your field instructor, identify a social problem that is common among the organization (or its clients) and research current policies at that state and federal levels that impact the social problem. Then, from a position of advocacy, identify methods to address the social problem (i.e., how you, as a social worker, and the agency advocate to change the problem). You are expected to specifically address how both you and the agency can effectively engage policy makers to make them aware of the social problem and the impact that the policies have on the agency and clients.
1-Identify the social problem (Homelessness)
2-Explain rational for selecting social problem
3-Describe state and federal policies that impact the social problem
4-Identify specific methods to address the social problems
5-Explain how the agency and student can advocate to change the social problem
Birkenmaier, J., & Berg-Weger, M. (2018). The practicum companion for social work: Integrating class and fieldwork (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Chapter 8, “Social Work Practice in the Field: Working with Organizations, Communities, and Policy” (pp. 186-206)
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