SOWK 2430 NCC Policies Issues and Programs in Social Welfare Essay

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As a future social worker, it is important to understand that “Policy affects practice and practice affects policy”
(Cummins, Byers, & Pedrick, 2010, 24). Policy practice can therefore incorporate a number of activities and has
been defined as “using social work skills to propose and change policies in order to achieve the goal of social and
economic justice” (Cummins, Byers, & Pedrick, 2010, 8). Policy practice can involve advocacy and influencing
change in programs, laws, policies, resources, and interventions for clients. It further means that social workers
impact change at multiple system levels (with individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities).
This semester, you will engage in policy practice activities.
A. Engage in three Policy Practice Activities—(make observation notes following each activity to
help recall your experiences for your Reflection Paper).
Some examples of activities include:
1) Attend a public meeting related to an existing or proposed policy. This could include
legislative hearings, town hall, or another forum with elected officials.
2) Attend a public meeting that targets change. This could include agency boards, school
boards, community leaders, or judicial settings.
3) Attend a public meeting where policy decisions are made at a local, county, state, or federal
level. This could include City Councils, County meetings, state legislatures, United States
Congress, etc.
4) Interview a community member who has a role in an agency board involved in making
5) Join and participate in a grassroots organization coalition, neighborhood, or community
organizing effort.
6) Attend a meeting of a professional association dealing with policy issues that interest you.
7) Attend an NASW Chapter meeting to understand key legislative issues and policy priorities
that social workers support.
8) Participate in the Texas State NASW Conference.
9) Participate in Social Work Day at the Capitol.
10) Participate in a fund-raising event related to a policy issue
11) Personally visit your legislative representative about an issue you are passionate about
12) Phone or email your representative about an issue you are passionate about
13) Actively work to change a policy or service in your community
14) Attend a professional conference that deals with policy-related issues
15) Meet with community partners to learn how you can influence change.

Students may propose additional/alternative policy practice activities, but these will need to be

approved by the instructor in advance.
B. Reflection Paper on Policy Activities (2-page minimum)
Write a Reflection Paper on the Policy Practice Activities you participated in this semester. This
paper requires sharing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. It should include the following:
I. Description of Activities, Policies/Problems:
Describe the three activities. Be specific about dates and times and what policies
and issues were discussed.
II. Reactions/Experiences:
Describe what stood out to you most in the various activities. Which activities
did you struggle with it the most?
III. Influencing Policy:
Based on your activities, how would you propose that social workers could

influence policy?

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