Week 4: Ecology of Policy in Social Work Settings
The planning process can be seen as developing a road map for getting from “here” to “there.” “Here” is the current situation and “there” is the solution developed . . . “
—James Midgley & Michelle M. Livermore, The Handbook of Social Policy
The ecology of policy is the environment of policy and advocacy systems within which the social worker and policy advocate must navigate in order to effect change in a social issue. As the quote above implies, the advocate must have a plan or a policy road map to help him or her 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.
This week you complete a community assessment which will help you to understand your community in order to develop an appropriate policy action plan. You also explore how public opinion influences the policy process and, in turn, how that influences the direction your map (i.e., your plan) takes as you attempt to skillfully navigate through social work settings and issues.
- Analyze how public opinion can influence the policy process
- Apply social work skills
- Analyze social justice implications
- Assess a community related to a social problem
- Create a plan for community change based on community assessment
- Analyze influence of policy on a community action plan
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 4, “Understanding the Ecology of Policy in Government, Electoral, Community, and Agency Settings” (pp. 100–140)
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.
In this Discussion, you select a social problem that is of interest to you and identify how public opinion influences the process and political approaches involved in addressing that social problem.
To prepare: Refer to your Week 2 Small Group Discussion Forum for ideas.
By Day 3
Post a description of the importance of public opinion in addressing the social problem you have selected. 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 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 who has chosen a social problem that is different from the one you selected, addressing the following:
- Offer an explanation of how public opinion can be influenced to address the problem identified by your colleague.
- Suggest policy advocacy approaches and skills he or she can use to address the problem with political leaders.
- Comment on the social justice implications of the approach or approaches you suggested.
Tonya Adams RE: Discussion – Week 4COLLAPSE
Post a description of the importance of public opinion in addressing the social problem you have selected
The Coronavirus are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is also identified as the COVID-19 outbreak, which began last December, has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The respiratory illness, which is caused by a never-before-seen coronavirus, has spread across the world and claimed more than 6,500 lives in three months.
Public opinion is essential when it comes to COVID-19 outbreak, global health is a public good, which means that successfully addressing the current coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) requires internationally coordinated efforts. While spillover events like COVID-19 cannot be prevented, there are investments that the international community can make to minimize their overall effects.
How does public opinion influence political approaches to the problem? Explain.
Public opinion influence current information on economic activity can be used to produce estimates of “hotspots.” In addition, a strategic global response network can create an infrastructure for rapidly addressing health risks. Finally, when designing policy to manage an outbreak, it is important consider how its incentives affect human behavior. This helps ensure that the policy actually achieves the intended outcome (reducing the spread of infection).
What policy advocacy approaches and skills can you use to address the problem with political leaders?
Social workers are in a unique position to promote disease prevention efforts (including disseminating accurate information from trusted sources), and to help address anxiety and other concerns that are arising as a result of this public health crisis. As the situation continues to rapidly evolve, NASW will continue to monitor developments and work to protect social workers and the clients we serve.
NASW has been working on multiple fronts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure access to services, such as advocacy to ensure insurance coverage for teletherapy. Teletherapy is the online delivery of speech, occupational, and mental health therapy services via high-resolution, live video conferencing. Teletherapy sessions are very similar to traditional speech, occupational therapy, or mental health sessions with one major exception. Instead of sitting in the same room, students and therapists interact via live video conferencing.
What are the social justice implications of your approach?
Social workers play an integral part in our nation’s health care system, including supporting people during outbreaks such as the coronavirus. Social workers can inform their clients about how to lessen their risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus, while taking precautions to keep themselves safe.
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 4 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 4 Discussion
Assignment: Community Assessment
The purpose of this assignment is to broaden your understanding of a community, develop analytical skills regarding communities in relation to specific populations and their needs, and to better plan and develop interventions to address issues and problems facing the community.
This assignment has three parts: Part I Understanding Your Community, where you will consider the current demographics of the community and analyze how that has changed over the past 20 years; Part II Community Assessment, where you assess your community and a problem within your community; and Part III Community Action Plan, where you develop a specific action plan to address the problem you identified. As you reflect on the learning resources and concepts from Weeks 1-4, be sure to explain what you have learned about the policy’s effect on various groups. Consider how will this knowledge assist you with your community action plan.
By Day 7
Submit a 4-6 page paper. The paper needs to be well-researched and written using APA guidelines. Data should come from at least five sources.
Part I: Understanding your Community
- Analyze how your community has changed over the past 20 years. Use policy and community concepts and theories from the learning resources to support your analysis.
- Describe your community, using research and statistics to describe socio-demographic make-up. (For example: How many persons live in the city and/or in the town? What were/are their cultural/racial characteristics? What were/are their incomes, ages, political affiliations, etc.?)
Part II: Community Assessment
- Describe a problem that the community is currently experiencing.
- Assess the duration, intensity, and frequency of the problem.
- Analyze the probable etiology of the problem, supporting your analysis with resources.
- Analyze the key elements and characteristics of the community that make it vulnerable to this problem.
- Analyze the key strengths of the community that give the community resilience and the potential for overcoming the problem.
- Identify major institutions (e.g., schools, factories, churches, attraction sites, etc.) and explain how these institutions contribute to or inhibit the community’s ability to address the problem?
- Explain which groups are most affected by the problem.
Part III: Community & Policy Action Plan
- Describe your proposed plan for community change.
- Explain the strategies and tactics you would you use to bring about change. Consider if you would need multiple strategies, and if so, explain which strategy would be used for each target.
- Explain any policies that may influence the ability, either supportive or prohibitive, to influence proposed community change.
- Explain what policies would need to be in place to ensure proposed plans are sustainable.
Submission and Grading Information
Thank you for your post. You mention several ways to advocate for this issue. When we look at the community toolkit resource related to asset mapping we see this tool can be very powerful. How do you think participatory asset mapping may be be applied to have a positive impact on your advocacy efforts to address the social problem of homelessness?