Social Welfare & Policy II






Chapter 1: Social Worker Roles in Social Welfare and Policy


Chapter 2: Depression and the New Deal



Hello everyone and welcome to Social Welfare and Policy II. I wanted to provide a brief introduction to this course and information on this textbook. After taking Social Welfare and Policy I, you should be familiar with what social work is and the history of social welfare and policy up until the early 20th century.

This course will expand on your current knowledge of social welfare and policy, as well as provide new information for you to learn. This course will review the following: A social workers specific role in social welfare and policy, continued history from the 1930s to present day, how a policy is made, generalist practice skills and advocacy in social work. Also, This textbook has been provided to you to aide your learning, containing information retrieved from various creditable resources.


Chapter 1

Social Worker Roles in Social Welfare and Policy


Social Problems

What is the definition of a social problem? It is defined as any condition or behavior that has negative consequences for large numbers of people and that is generally recognized as a condition or behavior that needs to be addressed. (University of Minnesota, 2010). This definition can be viewed as both subjective and objective.


Objective view: Any condition or behavior to be considered a social problem must have a negative consequence for a large number of people. These conditions/behaviors and consequences can be heavily debated. An example of this is climate change. While many scientists say that climate change is a serious issue, fewer

than two-thirds of Americans in a 2011 poll reported believing that climate change is real and happening.


Subjective view: The above example leads into the subjective view on social problems, as there must be a perception that a condition or behavior needs to be addressed for it to be considered a social problem. While the objective view involves empirical evidence of negative consequences of a social condition or behavior, the subjective component involves a perception that the condition or behavior is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed (University of Minnesota, 2010).


Social Work in Policy Practice

The following has been retrieved from a book titled, ‘Policy Practice for Social Workers’, written by Linda K. Cummins, Katharine V. Byers, Laura Pedrick. The chapter is provided online by Pearson Higher Ed.



Policy practice is defined as using social work skills to propose and change policies in order to achieve the goal of social and economic justice. When doing policy practice, social workers apply generalist social work perspectives and skills to make changes in laws, rules, budgets, and policies and in the bodies that create those policies, whether they be local, state, or federal agencies or other decision-making bodies, in the pursuit of the social work mission of social and economic justice.

The goal of policy practice in social work is to ensure social and economic justice in the social environment so that all people, regardless of their socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, have opportunities to achieve success for themselves and their families.


Social workers do not have to be in political office or hold positions of power in order to affect policy. Social workers and social work students have both the skills and perspectives (concepts, values, and beliefs) that are important in the policymaking process. These skills and perspectives are rooted in social work’s history and experience of working directly with people to address the challenges and needs they face in their daily lives (Cummins, 2011).


The NASW Code of Ethics, which is intended as a guide to serve those practicing social work, has different parts that are specific to social justice and policy. The following excerpt is directly from the NASW Code of Ethics:

Value: Social Justice

Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.

Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice.

These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people (National Association of Social Workers, 2017).