Collaborative Advocacy Week Model: Using Cases to

Report
ADVOCACY WEEK: A MODEL TO
PREPARE CLINICAL SOCIAL
WORKERS FOR LOBBY DAY
Terri Kilbane, PhD and Priscila Freire, PhD
Loyola University Chicago
School of Social Work
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Advocacy is the cornerstone upon which social work is
built. It is so important that it is framed in three sections
of our Code of Ethics.
Advocacy for individuals, communities and systems is
not just a suggested activity for social workers.
It’s not a ‘do it if you have some extra time’ or a ‘do it if
the inequity and disparity are very great’ activity.
It is a requisite.
~NASW Executive Director, ELIZABETH J. CLARK
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INTRODUCTION
• Social work programs focusing on clinical
practice have traditionally attended less to the
profession’s policy and advocacy roles.
• Clinical social work students, therefore, do not
receive adequate training to understand their
roles in advocating for or against policies that
directly impact their practice.
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INTRODUCTION
• We are proposing a collaborative learning model called
“Advocacy Week” which prepares students for a
statewide NASW-sponsored Advocacy Day.
• Using case presentations prepared in collaboration with
clinical and policy faculty, students are exposed to the
relevance of advocacy as clinical social work
practitioners.
• Preliminary conclusions associated with this model are
discussed, as are implications for pedagogy.
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FROM THE BROAD TO THE SPECIFIC
• When social workers are faced with community (or
macro) challenges, they recognize the need for policy
practice—interventions in the larger systems in the
client’s social environment that will create the
conditions conducive to growth, development, and
empowerment.
• This recognition—of the need to effect change in larger
systems to help individuals—dates back to the very
beginnings of the profession, when people were
understood within their environmental context, not as
isolated individuals experiencing difficulties.
(Cummins, Byers, & Pedrick, 2011)
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SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE APPROACH
• Social work students
are taught to look at
social work from the
specific to the broad
using a person-inenvironment approach
helps to look into all
potential resource
layers and identify any
gaps that may require
some policy level
advocacy
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FROM THE SPECIFIC TO THE BROAD
• When social workers use the person-in-environment perspective,
they situate the person within a context. Although much of social
work practice is focused on helping individual people make
changes in their thinking and behavior so that they can reach their
goals, this micro focus is not the whole of social work practice.
• Using the systems perspective, social workers recognize that
people interact with an environment that may provide both
opportunities and barriers to individual development and goal
achievement.
• For most people, that environment is first encountered in
interactions with families, particularly parents who first meet basic
needs as children are growing and developing.
• But other systems, external to families, support families and
enhance their abilities to carry out their nurturing, educating, and
socializing functions.
(Cummins, Byers, & Pedrick, 2011)
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FROM THE SPECIFIC TO THE BROAD
An ongoing tension in the field is the primary focus of the
profession
What should the role of social workers be?
• Should clinicians provide clients with the tools to help them think,
speak or create their own interests? Or do we help to subjugate
them? (Vazquez, 2003)
• Or as Younghusband (1971) stated, “‘To a considerable extent the
old case work question, ‘who is the client?’ is undergoing a change
as social work replies that the client is not only the individual or
even the family but also the school, the prison, the hospital, the
work place, the neighbourhood [sic], or indeed some power group
in the functional or geographic community” (p. 131).
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SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
• Advocates can be involved in the process of persuading
others to change and also giving voice to the perspectives
of service users and ensuring their views are heard.
• A central tenet of anti-oppressive practice has been the
belief that social work has the capacity both to empower
the individual and, through the adoption of practice
approaches sensitive to the impacts of difference, to
begin to alter power relationships between individuals,
within communities and in society more broadly.
• Advocacy’s clear links with empowerment, therefore, may
offer an approach to practice consistent with these
important aims of anti-oppressive practice.
(Wilks, 2012)
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OUR PAST INFORMS THE PRESENT
• In the half century after the Civil War, rapid industrial expansion
produced a dramatic increase in individual and community needs.
• Using concepts derived from business and industry, reformers
attempted to respond to some of these developments by regulating
public relief distribution through so-called "scientific charity."
• As a result, In 1877, the first American Charity Organization
Society (COS) based on such principles was founded in Buffalo,
New York.
• Settlement houses reflected a different type of organizational
response to the impact of industrialization and immigration and
introduced an alternative model of a social service agency a form
of urban mission.
(University of Michigan, 2013)
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OUR PAST INFORMS THE PRESENT
• The orientation struggle between individual rehabilitation and
social reform continued into the 20th century as charity and
settlement work shifted from a base of voluntary philanthropy,
largely associated with the institution of religion, to scientific
philanthropy, which was becoming closely associated with the
institution of education.
• There was a major dispute in early 20th century over the issue of
whether social workers should be social reform advocates or
primarily engaged in delivering individualized social services.
• A ten year long debate finally erupted between Addams and
Richmond in the second decade of the century, which clearly
illuminated the depth of the individual-reform dichotomy in social
work.
(Ramsay, 1988)
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CURRENT PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
• Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) establishes
the parameters of professional competence through its
Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards
(EPAS).
• According to these standards one of the purposes of
the profession of social work is to promote “human and
community well-being” through its quest for social and
economic justice (Council on Social Work Education,
2009).
• Advocacy is one of the activities in which social workers
can engage in to promote social justice and social
change.
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CURRENT PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
• The Social Work’s Code of Ethics states that:
Social workers should be aware of the impact of
the political arena on practice and should advocate
for changes in policy and legislation to improve
social conditions...and promote social justice (Code
of Ethics: 27).
• So, how can social work programs assist students in
being able to carry out the spirit of the NASW Code of
Ethics in their practice? This task is especially difficult
for clinically trained social workers who may have
difficulty understanding the relevance of advocacy in
their work.
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EXAMPLES OF ADVOCACY
• Passage of the Medicaid Reimbursement for Social Workers
(Public Act 95-0518), signed into law on August 28, 2007 in Illinois
attributed to the efforts of the NASW Illinois Chapter and its
membership.
• This Act gives Medicaid reimbursement privileges to Illinois
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) for mental health
services without medical supervision clinically trained social
workers can be autonomous and establish their practices.
• Many bills brought to the attention of legislators’ impact their
practice and the clients they serve who are well-suited to perform
the common methods used in legislative advocacy such as
lobbying, public testimony and voting.
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THE NEED TO ADVOCATE
• Clients face large systemic issues and, due to
troubling economy and budget cuts, social
workers are being called on to become
spokespersons and advocates.
• State legislators set these policies so there is call
for social workers to use skills to advocate with
these legislators to influence both policy and
legislation.
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THE NEED TO ADVOCATE
• The influence of social workers on social and
political issues is “imperative in creating future
policy that best meets the needs of the social
work community and clients served.”
• Who knows the needs better than clinical social
workers on the frontline?
• Who knows better the structural barriers faced
by clients and effect of policy on their practice?
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THE NEED TO ADVOCATE
• I teach an advanced policy course where ‘private
troubles/public issues’ (Mills) is my theme. My intent is
to demonstrate the need for all students, clinical and
policy, to advocate.
• I also use the term ‘policy practice’ coined by Bruce
Jansson who, with others, were concerned about the
failure of social work students to see policy as part of
their professional responsibility.
• Policy practice is defined “as efforts to change policies
in legislative, agency, and community settings, whether
by establishing new policies, improving existing ones,
or defeating the policy initiatives of other people”.
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THE NEED TO ADVOCATE
• Policy practice is identified as one of the ten core
competencies under EPAS 2.1.8.
• The key competencies promoted under this standard
are:
(1) social workers must be involved in the
formulation and analysis of social policies they
support; and
(2) social workers must work in partnership with
their clients, i.e. providing testimony to law makers,
and their colleagues, i.e. NASW and their lobbying
activities, in order to enact, implement, monitor or
at times, defeat policy initiatives.
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THE NEED TO ADVOCATE
Thoughts from other authors:
• Social workers cannot practice in a vacuum to address
individual private troubles and need the necessary
skills to help transform them into public issues and
advocate for social change.
• Echo the role of social workers in learning policy
practitioner skills among their range of skills, and not
just leave this activity to the policy expert.
• A qualitative study of state legislators who emphasized
the role of local services providers in influencing statelevel public policy.
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BARRIERS TO ADVOCACY: Policy Practice
• Why is there a lack of involvement of social
workers in the political arena? What are the
roadblocks in convincing social work students the
importance of advocacy?
• Student’s attitude that the political arena is
difficult to understand, fraught with competing
interests and political power instead of the needs
of the clients.
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BARRIERS TO ADVOCACY: Policy Practice
• The belief that social workers need specialized
training which inhibit social workers from
recognizing the value of their knowledge of
community and its constituents.
• The belief that large amounts of money are
needed to influence legislators; however, the
“right timing and the right information can affect
social policy”.
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OTHER BARRIERS TO ADVOCACY
• Also, social workers face a number of practical
constraints.
• A major finding from a survey of NASW Directors on their
member participation was that time constraints on
advocacy practice limit involvement (Hartnett et al.,
2005).
• Their study confirmed that high caseloads, lack of time,
increased specialization, and job descriptions together
inhibit practicing their commitment to advocacy.
• Adding to this, clinical social workers become limited in
skills due to a lack of advocacy training at their
agencies who may ignore the important aspect of their
practice.
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THE NEED TO INTEGRATE
• I teach across content and in my practice and HBSE
classes and I have found that students in principle
understand the ecological model and its relevance to
social work practice.
• However, when the focus is on macro systems I find
students:
– View broader layers as just another factor to
consider in clinical practice.
– Tend to favor micro practice because they see their
clinical skills as most attractive.
– Express feeling overwhelmed about their advocacy
role with larger systems.
BARRIERS TO ADVOCACY: Clinical Practice
• In a qualitative study with 18 Canadian social workers
that looked at how social workers express social
justice issues in their practice, it was found that:
– Regardless of the meaning of social justice for participants,
the most frequent manifestation of social justice appeared
through advocacy activities.
– Advocacy goals and strategies, according to participants, are
both broad and varied, encompassing micro (aimed at a
particular individual), mezzo (aimed at a particular group of
people, such as the mentally ill, or those living in poverty),
and macro levels (activities aimed at betterment of all society
such as a fair minimum wage, clean water, or access to
health care).
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BARRIERS TO ADVOCACY: Clinical Practice
Barriers uncovered:
1. Advocacy for social justice may be blocked within
organizations and not viewed as “part of the job” that
social workers were hired for;
2. social workers fear being stereotyped; advocacy
efforts may also be seen as misguided due to a lack
of appreciation of the larger issues, and;
3. social workers are also faced with philosophical
questions regarding whether or not to engage those
they work for in a political battle for social justice.
4. Finally, the concern that by making social justice the
priority, the real mental health treatment issues may
be eclipsed.
(McLaughlin, 2009)
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PERSPECTIVES ON ADVOCACY
• Advocacy, defined by Cohen, de la Vega, and Watson (2001) as
something that must include “power relationships, people’s
participation, and a vision of a just, decent society” (p. 8).
• Advocates can be paid professionals, as in the case of patient
advocates in mental health or child welfare systems (Herbert &
Mould, 1992).
• While as a profession we have a rich history of legislative
advocacy, we have at times left this to the responsibility of social
workers trained in policy concentrations; in so doing, we risk
overlooking the clinically trained social worker who work on the
frontline and can make valuable contributions to securing the rights
of their clients.
(McLaughlin, 2009)
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PERSPECTIVES ON ADVOCACY
• Exposure to policy practice for clinical social workers is further
reinforced by the importance of “frontline workers’ understanding
the effect of policy decisions on their ability to practice effectively”
(Sherraden, Slosar, & Sherraden, 2002, p. 214).
• Rocha (2007) echoes this sentiment in asserting the role of social
workers in learning policy practitioner skills. This perspective is
further affirmed by Jackson-Elmoore’s (2005) qualitative study of
state legislators, who, through participation in in-depth interviews,
emphasized the role of local service providers in influencing statelevel public policy.
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ADVOCACY TYPES
• The citizen advocate is another form of advocacy where nonprofessionals volunteer time to help another (Hunter & Tyne, 2001;
Rapaport, Manthorpe, Hussein, Moriarty & Collins, 2006 as cited
by author).
• Self-advocacy is an important contribution to the advocacy
movement with deep roots in the disability field.
• Empowerment forms the cornerstone of self-advocacy where
individuals build skills and gain strength to advocate for
themselves (Buchanan & Walmsley, 2006; Walker, 2004, as cited
by author).
• Within generalist practice advocacy is considered a technique or
skill, typically a subset of case management (Compton, Galaway &
Cournoyer, 2005; Hepworth, Rooney & Larson, 2002; Hoefer,
2006; Miley et al., 2007, as cited by author).
( McLaughlin, 2009)
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THE CASE METHOD
• Case-based learning (CBL) originally emerged in the legal,
business and medical fields, and in education as early as the
1800’s (Snyder & McWilliam, 2003). In traditional learning, the
structured approach tends to be more instructor-focused.
• Using case material toward integration tends to encourage more
participation and critical thinking, and is a more student-focused
approach to increase discussion and collaborative analysis.
• Case-based learning provides a problem-solving environment to
identify multiple alternatives to diverse situations (Austin &
Packard, 2009) and there is evidence that face to face case-based
learning is related to greater satisfaction when compared to other
learning methods (Curran, Sharpe, Forristall, & Flynn, 2008).
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THE CASE METHOD
• A review of the literature on CBL discovered that learning occurs
both horizontally between students and vertically between
students and facilitators (Srinivasan, Wilkes, Stevenson, Nguyen,
& Slavin, 2007).
• One of several approaches to CBL is to implement it as a whole
class which results in students learning in a more efficient, goaloriented manner. This approach can help facilitators amend
incorrect assumptions of learners.
• Applying this documented method to link clinical and policy
practice is consistent with how service oriented professions help
students work through layered situations, and can help students
see the various ways in which policy and clinical practice
connect and inform one another.
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THE CASE METHOD
• In case based learning it was found that learning occurs both
horizontally between students and vertically between students
and facilitators; CBL learning offers a flexibility that can be useful
for online delivery; and that there may be some gender
differences related to the tasks involved in this type of approach.
• An added advantage is the ability to tailor or use scenarios that
reflect the needs of professionals who work with diverse
populations with a variety of needs (Jamkar, et al., 2007).
• Learning with cases is also a useful strategy to address other
challenges in content integration, such as the limits in
professional experience and expertise of the instructor, and the
saturation of information in course content.
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THE CASE METHOD
• As with other teaching methods, the effective use of case studies
requires instructors to determine the specific goals they hope to
accomplish.
• Cases also help students make connections between what they
might otherwise consider to be separate disciplines—for
example, they see the need to draw upon principles in
economics, environmental studies, and ethics to solve a problem
in urban planning, or the need to use historical, philosophical,
and sociological materials to make a decision about carrying out
an anthropological project.
• We decided to apply the above principle to integrate different but
related portions of the curriculum using Advocacy Day.
("Teaching with Case Studies," 1994)
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PURPOSE OF THE ADVOCACY MODEL
• The Illinois NASW Chapter and the LUSSW have over the years
worked together toward the promotion of student involvement in
the annual NASW-IL Advocacy Day.
• The purpose of this collaborative educational model is to engage
clinical social work students to participate in legislative advocacy.
• The collaboration led to piloting of the Advocacy Week model, built
by both clinical and policy faculty working in conjunction with the
NASW-IL Chapter.
• Policy practice experiences while in graduate school increases the
likelihood of students becoming involved in advocacy activities
post-graduation.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE MODEL
• NASW and LUSSW collaborated on designing an expanded
program to increase student participation in the legislative and
lobbying process.
• “Advocacy Week” was created to precede Advocacy Day. These
activities educated social work students on the importance of being
active in the legislative process and how public policy affects social
work practice. Students who could not travel would still have the
opportunity to learn advocacy skills and better understand the
advocacy process and be prepared to use these skills in their local
communities with their state legislators.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE MODEL
• The Advocacy Week model had two main goals:
(1) to teach students how to become involved in the
political process; and
(2) to demonstrate to students how public policy
affects social work practice, and specifically to bridge
the gap between clinical social work and policy.
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MODELS OF TEACHING ADVOCACY
• Literature on teaching advocacy for social work students generally
highlights two main approaches: (1) activities or project based
experiential learning (Rocha, 2000; Salcido & Manalo, 2002) and
(2) in-class skills based learning (Moon & DeWeaver, 2005; Moore
& Johnston, 2002; Powell & Causby, 1994; Sundet & Kelly, 2002;
Wolfer & Gray, 2007).
• This project uses a case-based learning (CBL) model, which aims
to bridge the gap in teaching advocacy in social work programs,
particularly for clinical social work students.
• This approach is appropriate as a means of policy and clinical
faculty collaboration, as we seek to demonstrate the intersection
between policy and practice to clinical social work students.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE MODEL
Three events were planned to meet these goals:
(1) a presentation on how a bill becomes the law, and its
impact on clinical practice (NASW-IL Executive Director);
(2) a workshop on lobbying skills and how to become
involved in the legislative advocacy process (Political Action
Chair) and;
3) workshops conducted by policy and clinical faculty using
case examples to highlight how policy impacts their clinical
practice. This presentation highlights this portion.
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EVENT: NASW LED WORKSHOP
• The Executive Director of the NASW IL Chapter
provided an overview of how the Medicaid
Reimbursement for Social Workers (Public Act 950518) became law in 2007.
• The evolution of this legislation was chronicled from the
year 2000 until it became a public act in August 2007
drawing attention to the importance of persistence in
legislative advocacy.
• This persistence took the form of individual social
workers in constant contact with their elected officials
on the importance of the passage of this legislation.
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EVENT: NASW LED WORKSHOP
• The second presentation was conducted by the NASW Political
Action Consultant, who trains and prepares social work students
who attend NASW Advocacy Day on how to lobby their state
legislators at the Capitol.
• He provided a more in-depth presentation to the students
attending the Advocacy Week event. His presentation
emphasized techniques to get the attention of their legislator, the
strengths they bring to the advocacy process, and how to
become involved in NASW advocacy efforts.
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FACULTY LED WORKSHOPS
• The workshop conducted by policy and clinical faculty
used three case examples to help students begin to
reflect on and discuss the impact of policy on clinical
practice.
– Case example 1: The impact of state and federal legislation on
domestic violence.
– Case example 2: Using clinical skills to help job-seekers define
success.
– Case example 3: Have Illinois school social workers become
victims of their own?
• We will be focusing on the first case example for this
presentation.
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CASE #1
The impact of state and federal legislation on
domestic violence
• The first case presentation highlighted two major pieces
of legislation that have impacted the protection and
safety of women who find themselves in domestic
violence situations.
• Domestic violence advocates have struggled to protect
women and, in particular, immigrant women whose
abusers use the threat of deportation as a means of
control.
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CASE #1
• Social workers have continually played a role in
advocating for the reauthorization of the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA).
• This law, among other things, has been an empowering
tool for victims of domestic violence and the social
workers who support their attempts to increase their
safety.
• Through the case presented, a clinical social worker
conveyed the concrete steps social workers can take to
advocate and support a client’s efforts to access
resources that will help them succeed, despite the
challenges inherent in an abusive relationship.
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CASE EXAMPLE
• Luz is a 35 year old married Spanish-speaking Latina with five
children (Jose, age 13; Maria, age 11; Raul, age 8; Arturo, age 6;
and Luz, age 2) who sought counseling services at a local
community agency. At assessment she revealed violence in her
marriage, so the client was directed to the domestic violence
program.
• Luz was undocumented, isolated, and could not speak English.
She was originally from Mexico and could not visit her family due to
her legal status. One resource related to Luz’s rights under the
Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA). This law provides a means
through which victims (regardless of legal status) can achieve a
sense of protection. It includes access to resources (such as
orders of protection), which can aid victims in creating distance
from their aggressors that can be enforced by the police.
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CASE EXAMPLE
• Through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Luz could
qualify to self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residence status
for her and her children, and in the process apply for a work permit.
• The worker helped her gather all the needed paperwork, wrote
affidavits, stored incriminating documentation in her office so that
her husband might not find it, and even assisted with some of the
required fees.
• After a few months, Luz obtained a work permit, which lifted the
fear and restrictions of finding employment. The worker referred
her to the economic development worker, who gave her
information on how to save and plan for the future. As she was
able to earn and save money, she felt ready to seek a divorce.
• Currently, Luz lives with her five children in a violence free
environment.
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CASE EXAMPLE
• After the case presentation, discussion followed consistent with
the structure of CBL.
• Using a Socratic Method, students and instructors addressed
any incorrect assumptions by students and a direct link
between policy and practice was established.
• An important aspect in this process was how policy is driven by
the values and social attitudes of the society it regulates.
• Increasing an awareness of how these values and attitudes
have perpetuated partner violence legitimized by
interpretations of policy prior to the enactment of domestic
violence laws was an essential ingredient in acknowledging the
role of advocacy.
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CASE EXAMPLE
• Students learned about the importance of advocacy through a
dialectical process of inquiry and response by asking and
answering questions that stimulated critical thinking.
• In this dialogue the reciprocal nature of policy and practice became
clear by considering the various strategies practitioners applied to
implement advocacy for domestic violence victims at micro and
mezzo levels, as well as the ways that domestic violence policy
impacted micro and mezzo social work practice with domestic
violence.
• Stated differently, students of clinical social work reflected on how
knowledge of policy was an approach to overcome contextual
barriers clients face (legal status) that were related to the
presenting problem (safety).
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EVALUATION OF CBL ON ADVOCACY
WEEK
• In the Advocacy Week model, the case-based presentations are
open to all students, whether they participate or not in Advocacy
Day at the state capitol.
• An evaluation survey was conducted of Advocacy Day participants,
in order to assess the general competency-based learning
outcomes and to compare students who participated in the
presentation to those who did not.
• A total of 30 students participated in Advocacy Day at the State
Capitol. Among these students, 6 attended the case presentations
prior to the Advocacy Day and 24 only participated in the one-day
advocacy event.
• Twenty-two students were female (73.3%), ten were first year
regular track MSW students (33.3%), and slightly more than half
were Caucasian (53.3%).
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
• One of the participating clinical professors had a class
assignment (N=28) requiring attendance to one of the
events and conducted a small scale qualitative study on
the impact of Advocacy Week on their learning
• The vast majority of the responses stated that their
participation in Advocacy Week was a positive one. All
students with the exception of one endorsed the value
of such an initiative as part of standard social work
curricula.
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Students’ responses generally fell into two core areas:
1) First, an increased awareness of the integration and
relevance of practice and policy within social work at
both a personal level and a professional level: and
2) Second, one’s professional identity as a social worker
and empowerment to work as advocates on behalf of
one’s clients.
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Sample of quotes re learning and personal development:
• “It enlivened the subject matter in my social policy course by
providing a here-and-now connection to policy”
• “Provided a great link between the social work curriculum and the
real world of policy and practice”
• “Enhanced the knowledge of social work students by expanding
their horizons and allowing them to look outside of the box and
look at the bigger picture.”
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Students expressed heightened awareness of application
of advocacy and policy to social work practice:
• “Crucial and direct link between policy and social work practice.”
• A very common response among the students was “the activities
made me aware of practical applications for policy making,
particularly in terms of policies that affect our clients”.
• translated to personal action on the part of students such as “I will
go to the website he provided and find out who my state senator
and representative are”.
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Continued-• Several students suggested that these lessons learned
were new; in other words, “I was surprised to hear how
many different areas of social work are affected by
policy.”
• In summary, students by and large stated that “this
forum was good for planting the seeds in our minds for
how we can make a difference.”
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Development of their own identity as social workers.
• “We are mandated by the National Association of Social
Work code of ethics under point 6.04 to be involved in the
political process. Though I held this theoretical knowledge,
it had never been clarified as a necessary part of my work
as a social worker.”
• Other examples of lessons learned include “the importance
of not only understanding policy, but also how these
policies affect our role as social workers”, ways that “policy
impacts the work we do and the jobs that we are allowed to
do”, how “these issues pertain to us and our roles as social
workers”, and “how I can get involved.”
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
The majority of criticism reflected a positive desire for
more content and time devoted to Advocacy Week:
• “It would be beneficial to the school and social workers
as a whole if the session were mandatory”.
• One student suggested that the content associated
with Advocacy Week be developed into a core course
• “It would be amazing to see this idea of social justice
expanded to a year-round, commonplace occurrence,
instead of simply a week long.”
• “I believe there should be more time in the social work
program dedicated to learning about how to effectively
advocate at the local level.”
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Continued…
• Students requested additional opportunity “to have a
hands-on experience with regards to the political
process.” and requested more interactive
opportunities, both within Advocacy Week and across
the curriculum as a whole, in order to facilitate
stronger engagement in the community and with the
subject matter.
• Similarly, they asked for more “in-depth” opportunity to
explore the role of policy in practice.
• More specifically, several students expressed desire to
target their area of interest through Advocacy Week,
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PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Continued…
• Wanted more of the nuts and bolts regarding the experience of
advocacy and lobbying as a social worker. For example, “what
we might like to know, is precisely how to go about writing to a
senator, what it really means to lobby (I mean literally), and why
certain laws pass that seem to benefit no one at all.”
• In summary, their criticisms reflected a need for a more indepth, continued experience in this area for their own personal
and professional growth as a social work professional.
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CONCLUSIONS & DISCUSSION
Successful implementation depends on:
• Support and investment from the leadership of the school;
• NASW, University and and student alliances are crucial for both
technical assistance & collaboration of the model.
• Commitment of faculty through formation of ad hoc committee and
with faculty cooperation.
• Commitment of both policy and practice faculty to demonstrate the
importance of advocacy in everyday practice, to demonstrate to
clinical social workers why they need to be advocates, that policy
impacts their practice on a daily basis.
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CONCLUSIONS & DISCUSSION
Some challenges to implementation:
• The key challenge is developing a schedule of events on days and
times that maximize student participation.
• A second challenge is related to cost. In order to encourage the
greatest participation in Advocacy Day. Schools of social work need
to intervene with the costs of transportation, registration fees, and
meals. An option is to work with the other schools of social work in
the one’s metropolitan area to collaborate events and share
transportation costs.
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CONCLUSIONS & DISCUSSION
Conclusions:
• The model was created to illustrate why students in clinical social
worker specializations should be involved in the policy process
since their future clinical practice is impacted by policies and
legislation. The workshop conducted by clinical and policy faculty
used case examples to illustrate the link between policy and
practice in such areas as domestic violence, school social work,
and community development.
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CONCLUSIONS & DISCUSSION
Conclusions:
• An objective of the model was to empower students to realize the
knowledge and expertise they bring to the political arena when it
comes to the development, implementation or termination of policies.
• Social workers are essential to the identification and documentation
of social problems that can be used in the development and
promotion of policy initiatives.
• The workshop conducted by the NASW-IL PAC Chair is built on
empowering students and demonstrating specific skills to use to
educate and advocate with their state legislators.
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RECOMMENDATIONS
• Schools of social work need to build policy-practice linkages
among their faculty members.
• These two practice areas, policy and direct practice, cannot
operate as two separate silos but as two closely interrelated areas
in their shared mission of influencing the legislative arena.
• Thus, the more these two areas of the curriculum are working
together among their respective faculty members, the easier it will
be to support such a model among the student body which
embraces this partnership.
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RECOMMENDATIONS
• Student support is essential in the investment and coordination of
activities for this model.
• While most schools have a student association, a substantive
advocacy component of the organization is vital to the success of
the Advocacy Week model.
• A student in an internship placement at the local NASW Chapter
office can be a key player in the coordination of the model’s
activities.
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What training did you have in social work school regarding
legislative advocacy?
2. Who should speak for social work issues? Clinicians or policy
experts?
3. What barriers do you think keeps you and other social workers
from doing advocacy work?
4. What can schools of social work do to assist students to
become better advocates in the legislative arena?
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