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date: 24 November 2020


  • Robert L. Schneider, Robert L. SchneiderVirginia Commonwealth University, Emeritus
  • Lori LesterLori LesterIndependent Scholar, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
  •  and Julia OchiengJulia OchiengDepartment of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University


Social work advocacy is “the exclusive and mutual representation of a client(s) or a cause in a forum, attempting to systematically influence decision-making in an unjust or unresponsive system(s).” Advocacy was identified as a professional role as far back as 1887, and social workers consider client advocacy an ethical responsibility. Social workers are increasing the use of electronic advocacy to influence client issues and policy development. As client and societal needs evolve, universities should emphasize advocacy in their curricula, and the National Association of Social Workers should promote electoral and legislative initiatives that reflect an emphasis on social and economic injustices.

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