Social Work and Civic Engagement: The Political Participation of Professional Social Workers

Social Work and Civic Engagement: The Political Participation of Professional Social Workers (
Discussion: Policy Process and Public Opinion
Managing public opinion and understanding the balance between its influence and your advocacy goals is a delicate matter. It is a task fraught with uncertainty because, as a policy advocate, you must navigate through the territory of politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists whose primary goals are to appease and please their constituents. 
The policy advocate must have a plan or a policy road map to help navigate through a complicated system of institutions, legislatures, and funding bodies that provide the ecology of policies in local, state, and national settings. Having a solid plan is the first step in preparation for successfully handling the sensitive issues that may arise when public opinion influences the policy process.
For this Discussion, you will identify how public opinion influences the process and political approaches involved in addressing the social problem you selected earlier in the course.
To Prepare:
Review Chapter 4 in the Jansson text. 
Review the article by Rome and Hoechstetter in the Learning Resources this week. 
Search for and select at least one scholarly article that explores the intersection of your selected social problem and the influence of public opinion. 
By Day 3
Post a brief reminder of your social problem and address the following: 
How does public opinion influence political approaches to the problem? Explain.  
What policy advocacy approaches and skills can you use to address the problem with political leaders?  
What are the social justice implications of your approach? 
Be sure to cite the article you selected to inform your Discussion this week, as well as additional sources from the Learning Resources this week. Provide full APA-formatted citations for your references. 
By Day 5
Respond to at least two of your colleagues. Address at least one of the following in your response: 
Explain how public opinion can be influenced or shaped to help address the problems identified by your colleagues. 
Suggest policy advocacy approaches and skills your colleagues can use to address the problems with political leaders. 
Comment on the social justice implications of the approach(s) your colleagues proposed. 
Assignment: Final Project Milestone 2: Issue Statement and Identification of a Policy
A primary competency for advocacy is communicating with legislators about the social problems and policies you want to change. This means you will need to be well versed in both the social problems that connect with you and the polices that exist to address them.
In Week 2, you identified a social problem. You have since worked to narrow your focus and, separately, considered how policies play a major role in the functions of social work agencies and organizations. For the Assignment this week, you start to bring all these pieces together. First, you develop an issue statement to concisely capture your selected social problem through appropriate facts and questions that solicit a response. Then you identify a state or local policy that currently works to address your selected social problem and resolve your issue statement.
To Prepare:
Review the Issue Statement Sample document in the Learning Resources this week. 
Search for and select at least one scholarly article that deepens your understanding of—or narrows the context for—your social problem.  
Search for and select at least one source that explores the population(s) impacted by your selected social problem. This can be a news article or other popular media—for example, you might select a source where someone details their personal story for how they were impacted by the social problem. 
Search for and select at least one local or state policy that works to address your selected social problem for the affected populations.  
Use the Legislative Proposal Assessment from the Council on Social Work Education resource in the Learning Resources this week. This worksheet does not have to be submitted for your Assignment, but it is a useful tool to help you search for, select, and evaluate a policy.  
By Day 7
Submit a 3- to 5-page paper, addressing the following: 
Issue Statement: Create a 1-paragraph issue statement that hooks your audience and concisely communicates the imperative to address your selected social problem. Include the following: 
In 1 paragraph, define your social problem and the population impacted by it.  
In 1–2 paragraphs, explain your critical reasons for why the public and decision makers, as well as social workers, need to advocate for change.  
In 1–2 paragraphs, describe what happens in communities if your goal to alleviate the problem is realized. 
Policy Review: Summarize your selected policy, its relationships to the social problem, and the expected results. Then address the following: 
Is your selected policy dictated by local or state statute—or a combination thereof? 
How does the policy address your issue statement? Or what is missing? 
What are the different sections, or components, of the policy? 
How long has the current policy been in place? 
Who supports and who opposes the policy? 
What changes, or amendments, have been made to the policy? 
Explain how this policy affects clients you might see in a clinical setting and why, as a clinical social worker, it would be important to advocate for change.