Conduct a policy analysis related to social welfare. Now that you have had experience in your field practicum, you have observed issues in service delivery and social programs that impact client outcomes. Hopefully, you have identified issues that you are passionate about changing and can use that passion to propose real policy change.
The policy analysis has eight sections. You will create your policy analysis incrementally throughout the course in Workshops One through Eight. Each week, you will complete one section of the analysis and submit a piece of the whole so you can receive feedback from your instructor and peers and improve your work before your final submission in Workshop Eight.
As a social worker, you will be expected to demonstrate character, leadership, and scholarship in the arena of policy and its use in clinical practice.
• Character is the product of constant action, striving daily to make the right choices. Through your work of advocacy toward policy reform, you are demonstrating such qualities as responsibility, fairness, and caring, and proving by example that you value character.
• Scholarship means a commitment to learning. Applying diligence and effort toward learning about policy and advocacy as a social worker can impact your practice positively as a professional.
• Leadership at your agency means having a positive influence on your colleagues. In taking the initiative to learn about and advocate for policy reform, you can encourage others to attain the same objective, thus positively affecting your clients and your work toward social justice.
In this assignment, you will identify a social welfare issue of interest and then identify a specific current policy (bill/piece of legislation) related to the issue.
Review the graphic for an overview of the policy analysis framework. In this assignment, you will write the first section of your policy analysis, “Policy Analysis Framework, Part 1: The Social Problem Addressed by the Policy.”
To evaluate a social policy and its impacts effectively, it is vital to first understand the social problem it seeks to address. In addition, to make your analysis manageable and feasible, you will need to consider the size and scope of the social problem you wish to address. Make a connection to your clinical practicum, as your policy analysis will include providing perspective through the lens of the specific clinical agency to which you are assigned, the clients at that agency, and the surrounding community where the agency is located. You can choose to do mezzo (agency, community) and/or macro policy analysis. Focus your policy analysis on a social problem relating to your field practicum.
Let’s say that through your field practicum you were assigned to provide mental health services to elderly adults who receive Medicaid. Maybe you observed, throughout your field placement, that your clients receiving Medicaid had less access to comprehensive mental health services than those with Medicare. Because of this barrier to access, you have observed poorer outcomes in your Medicaid clients. As a result, you may want to focus your policy analysis on the impact of Medicaid policy on the mental health outcomes of elderly Americans. You even may want to refine your topic further to be specific to the state in which you are practicing. By deciding on a narrow, specific social problem to analyze, you make it more feasible to influence or develop policy. For example, instead of researching mental health policy in general, you may be interested in how access to mental health care affects outcomes.
- In your textbook, Social Policy and Social Change, review:
a. Pages 25–28 for an overview of the Policy Analysis Framework (Note: What are the various theories about the causes of the problems?)
b. Pages 299–301 for an example of Part 1 of the Policy Analysis Framework
- Select a social issue of relevance to your field placement. (which is a drug addiction / incarcerated population agency for adults) Choose something that directly affects the population with which you have been working at your practicum agency.