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Social Workers as Policy Advocates: Functions and Roles. Using Power & Influence to Make a Difference. What are some of the reasons that social workers engage in policy advocacy? Lets look at the following case study.

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social workers as policy advocates functions and roles

Social Workers as Policy Advocates: Functions and Roles

Using Power & Influence to Make a Difference

slide2
What are some of the reasons that social workers engage in policy advocacy? Lets look at the following case study
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SOCIAL WORKERS AT THE RAISIN COUNTY HEALTH CLINIC HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THEY WILL BE REQUIRED TO REPORT UNDOCUMENTED CLIENTS TO IMMIGRATION (ICE). SOCIAL WORKERS ARE CONCERNED THAT IF THEY START TO REPORT UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE, BOTH UNDOCUMENTED AN RECENT LEGAL IMMIGRANTS WILL STOP COMING TO THE CLINIC. THE SOCIAL WORKERS HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT IF THEY FAIL TO REPORT UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE, THEY COULD BE FIRED BY THE AGENCY OR ARRESTED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

answer the following questions
Answer the following questions
  • At what level (organization, federal, state, local government) have the policies in the previous scenario been formulated? At what levels have they been implemented?
  • Do you agree with these policies? Why or why not?
  • What are the social worker’s options in terms of the policies?
  • How can they change agency policy?
  • How can they change government policy?
  • What information would they need before they make a decision?
  • Are the people likely to be affected by this policy, have political power? What sources of power do they have?
  • What sources of power do social workers have?
social worker roles
Social worker roles
  • Implement agency policies.
  • Advocate for changes in agency policies or new policies.
  • Advocating for changes in local, state, and federal polices.
  • Proposing Legislation
  • Lobbying for the Legislation
  • Supporting candidates for office who will support the legislation
  • Protesting Unjust policies
  • Using the media to inform the public about social problems or unjust policies; garnering support for legislative/policy change.
jansson identifies tasks related to policy change
Jansson identifies tasks related to policy change:
  • Agenda setting
  • Problem-analyzing
  • Proposal writing
  • Enacting a policy (passing the legislation)
  • Implementing policy
  • Policy-assessing (collect data about how the policy has been implemented – do staff members have problems applying the policy; do clients receive benefits or services as intended)
two views of no child left behind
Two views of “no Child Left Behind”
  • U.S. Department of Education

http://www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml

  • National Education Association: http://www.nea.org/esea/policy.html

Recent article in Fresno Bee

http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/336394.html

frameworks for action
Frameworks for action
  • Existing policies
  • Previous legislation and judicial decisions
  • Ethics (including the NASW Code of Ethics)
  • Political ideology
  • Personal values
  • Positions taken by professional associations
  • Public sentiment and support
ethical mandates
Ethical mandates
  • NASW Code of Ethics

6.04 Social and Political Action

  • Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.
  • Principle of social justice

Involves fairness and equity. Pertains to the distribution of resources in society.

  • Distributive justice is the term used to describe whether all groups in society have equal access to resources.
  • What does Rawls say about how a person would distribute resources in society if he or she does not know his or her own status?
resources include
Resources include:
  • Jobs
  • Education
  • Money (Income and Wealth)
  • Status (Professional; social class, recognition; immigration)
  • Political Power & Influence
  • Housing
  • Access to the Media (ability to influence; coverage)
  • Do you think everyone has equal access to resources? Why or why not?
political ideology and values
Political ideology and values
  • Individuals and groups have personal values that come from personal experience, religion, culture, personal interest, and group membership.
  • People join groups to promote personal values and self-interest.
  • Ideology involves a set of assumptions about how the world works that is usually untested empirically. Some people believe, vote, or act in a manner consistent with a rigid adherence to a specific ideology. In general, political parties reflect ideologies. Can you think of an ideology or point of view that is associated with either of the main political parities? How do the Green Party and Libertarian approaches differ from Democratic and Republican parties?
  • Which of the ideologies associated with political parties do you feel are consistent with the Code of Social Work Ethics?
another central component of policy change is the concept of power
Another central component of policy change is the concept of power
  • Power can be defined as: the ability to pressure or persuade others to do what the power-holder wants them to do.
  • Power can be actual, used to influence change.
  • Power also can be potential, not used but available to those who possess power.
  • Power can also be positive (used to persuade someone to take action) or negative (used to prevent someone from taking action).
sources of power
Sources of power
  • Authority or Position
  • Status (social class, professional status, etc.)
  • Money
  • Political influence

- elected office

- votes

- campaign donations

  • Information
  • Knowledge
  • Strength in Numbers
  • Protest
  • Media
  • Gender, Race, Social Class or other personal characteristics such as appearance or charisma
  • Ability to decide whether someone has access to resources, services, or benefits
additional sources of power
Additional Sources of Power

Interest Groups (formed to advance the personal or financial interests of members). NASW is an interest group. Other powerful interest groups include the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Rifle Association, and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Interest groups have members, money, access to legislators, and access to the media and use these resources to gain power.

Interest groups also make campaign donations. Although Federal law prohibits interest groups from making donations directly to candidates, their individual members can make donations. Often they make donations to people who will advance their interest.

social workers political campaigns
Social Workers & Political Campaigns

The law permits interest groups to set up separate organizations called political action committees to make donations.

PACs solicit donations from their members and give these donations to candidates. Multiple donations from individuals give the PACs who transfer these funds to candidates much power.

NASW has a PAC called PACE.

It raises money from social workers and endorses candidates.

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WHAT OTHER SOURCES OF POWER DO SOCIAL WORKERS POSSESS? WHAT POWER DO YOU HAVE AS AN INDIVIDUAL?WHAT POWER DO YOU HAVE AS A MEMBER OF A GROUP?