re socw6361 response to 2 students policies and social problems discussion 1 wk2

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Respond to a colleague in all of the following ways:(Be detailed in response use APA reference and ask question to further discussion)

  • What changes would you make to the policy described by your colleague? Explain. Describe the specific policy advocacy skills you will use.
  • How, as a professional social worker, will you work to ensure policies adequately represent the needs of oppressed and marginalized populations? Describe the specific policy advocacy skills you will use.
  • What is your ethical responsibility as a social worker to engage in policy practice within your own practice or agency?

Response to Keisha,

I currently work for Saint Francis Community Services, which is a non-profit agency, spanning across five states in the US, offering an array of services, such as adoption, foster care, child welfare, counseling (Drug and alcohol and family counseling), independent living, and family preservation. I work in the reintegration department, where my focus is helping children obtain permanency; whether that’s getting them back in with the removal parent, guardianship, adoption, or something else. We are contracted through the state, Department of Children and Families.

One of the policies that is very frustrating for me is DCF (Department of Children and Families), has a policy that when a child comes into custody, and has their initial TC (Temporary custody) Hearing before a judge, DCF can immediately place them with a family member. We of course, always try to place children with family members when possible, for a multitude of reasons. At that initial TC hearing, if a kinship is not chosen by DCF, we are mandated to search for kinship options at a minimum of once a month. When we find a possible kinship option, we then must do a full assessment which takes a minimum of 6 weeks, and then submit it to DCF for approval. This is very frustrating for all involved, because families don’t understand why it takes 6 weeks for this process, or why SFCS (Saint Francis) can’t place kids in family homes without DFC approval, or why it takes DCF so long for these approvals, when at court; they make snap decisions with no assessment. This is a constant headache for all of us who work in this department. As our text states, social workers face policy issues constantly (Jansson, 2018. P. 88) and this is just one I face on a weekly basis.

Policy advocacy occurs at three levels, micro, mezzo (organizations, and communities), and macro, (Jansson, 2018. P.32) and the only type of policy advocacy I’ve engaged in is the mezzo level. During our monthly office meetings, we are invited to share what’s working and what’s not. The placement issue is a constant on the monthly agenda and we are told that our administration reports to their higher ups, and so on and so forth.

References

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.

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Response to Porsha

Project Pride is a non-profit that offers a unique residential program to address mental health, alcohol and other drug problems, involving family members as much as possible. The services address the different needs of the women and children. Mothers receive training and support on improving socialization, communication, leadership and life skills. The children receive supervised, supportive child care, education, play/art/music therapy, and ongoing developmental assessments. Our program helps women achieve pride in themselves and their children.

A policy in place is that the women can only have their children with them if the child is under five years of age. Many of the women have children over the age of five and must care for and babysit the other children who are in the residential program with their mother’s. I often see and hear the women express intense guilt because they aren’t taking care of the children they birthed.

Another policy in place is that no matter how long the women have been in treatment and following the rules they are never allowed outside overnight visits with their children. This was a recent policy change, as before the women were able to leave for 24-48 hours to spend time with their families. This policy was put into place to get more funding for the agency.

This policy is unjust and is harming the clients and their children. This 24-48-hour pass allowed the residents to slowly enter back into their community, bond with their children, and approach life on life’s terms. I verbalized my concerns with the new policy, but the director is more concerned with keeping the doors open then on rebuilding broken families in my opinion.

When this policy was updated the residents were notified in a community meeting and nothing was given to them in writing. Also, the resident handbook has not been updated and residents are coming into treatment thinking after the 30-day blackout period they will be able to visit with family. Lastly when the women were notified of this policy change 8 out of 15 women left to go to a homeless shelter and many returned to the streets and their addiction.

I personally feel this policy is unjust, but I know that personal values and beliefs should be put to the side when working with clients for the potential risk of being bias. But according to the NASW code of ethics, this policy is harming the clients. Jansson (2018) stated, “Social workers policy choices should be shaped by values as defined in the NASW’s code of ethics” (pg.47).

Reference:

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.

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