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Article

Mildred Delozia and Charles M. S. Birore

Black Lives Matter (BLM), which led to the Black Lives Matter movement (BLMM), has been described as a movement with a global following. The movement is aligned with the social work profession’s purpose and values. The social work profession is a human rights profession and has a history of involvement with movements, beginning with the settlement house movement in the late 19th century. The BLMM frames its narrative based on human rights and espouses an agenda that calls out injustice in all facets of social justice. Therefore, a central aim is to understand the BLMM from multiple perspectives. Definitions, theoretical perspectives, and types of social movements are presented, and then the framework of social movements is used to understand the BLMM. Finally, the BLMM is examined in relation to historical social movements, advocacy organizations, and criminal justice reform.

Article

Christine M. Rine

Mental health practice is inextricably linked to how this concept has been understood in a historical context from which policies and systems of care develop. How mental health is perceived has shaped policy, as much as policy has influenced how mental health has been defined and subsequently treated. Early frameworks evolved, furthering the multidisciplinary nature of policies and services highlighting social and environmental contributions. Holistic approaches that appreciate social determinants are a comparatively new way to understand and advance mental health policy that underlies access to insurance, programs, and services based on qualifications and eligibility. A chronological and historical overview highlights interconnectedness and provides context to the development of mental health policies, initiatives, and systems of care. Content specific to roles of the social work profession should be included.

Article

Steve Burghardt, Joseph Dibenedetto, and Bobbie Sackman

As baby boomers enter their later years, it has become apparent that ageism is a primary cause of much of the social marginalization and economic inequity experienced by older people. It is thus important to understand that ageism has both structural as well as cultural causes that require collective mobilization to correct. As such, anti-ageism and the fight for age justice fit within the intersectional movements of the 21st century seeking systemic change. This attention to systemic issues of ageism and the call for collective forms of action and organizing have become the foundation for an age justice movement. Therefore, an age justice organizing approach to the problems of older Americans is necessary and its solutions to aging-related problems are similar to solutions in other social justice movements. The historical context of aging and ageism informs present models of age justice organizing and issues addressed in age activism. For example, older workers have experienced workplace discrimination, and in the early COVID-19 pandemic, older people were marginalized. Looking to the future, an age justice framework that consistently addresses ageism as the systemic issue it is can be developed in micro, mezzo, and macro settings for all social workers and the older people with whom they work.

Article

Gina Griffin

As technological advances continue to develop, delivering macro human service through social work innovations becomes a new priority for the discipline. Digital technologies offer potential applications using tablets, smartphones, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and wearable technology to enable whole new possibilities for human services. As a result, policymakers and community organizers alike can access the existing information much faster, and potentially connect with hard-to-reach communities to make meaningful decisions. Incorporating the latest digital trends from business and industry settings to macro social work practice are highlighted. By utilizing digital technology, human service organizations can become more proactive and citizen-centered, potentially transforming personal and economic capacity.

Article

Laura Lein, Jennifer Romich, Trina R. Williams Shanks, and Dominique Crump

The Social Work Grand Challenge to reduce economic inequality is one of 13 Grand Challenges guiding future practice, research, and education. This article on the Grand Challenge to reduce extreme economic inequality documents the problem, probes the mechanisms by which inequality continues and deepens, and proposes approaches for addressing this problem so interwoven into our economy and society. This article describes economic inequality in the U.S. context as well as social work–oriented responses. It briefly compares the inequality level of the U.S. with that of other countries. It explores the distinctions between poverty and economic inequality and the particular ways in which economic inequality is maintained and grows in the U.S. It also explores the kinds of policy and program initiatives addressing this grand challenge, the barriers to and potential benefits of such ideas, and the roles for social workers and the social work profession in reducing extreme economic inequality in our society.

Article

Marilyn Louise Flynn, Richard P. Barth, Edwina Uehara, and Michael Sherraden

The Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW) derived from a commitment to strengthening society through science and has identified 13 grand challenges through an iterative process. The GCSW has, in turn, developed 13 grand challenge networks that bring together researchers and practitioners and focus their capacities around achieving innovative solutions to these challenges. These networks develop and disseminate interventions at all levels (including university-based interdisciplinary grand challenge entities), giving productive focus to the work of social work and our allies. The Grand Challenges for Social Work are helping to galvanize policy developments that draw on expertise from across the profession and exemplify social work’s scientific and pragmatic traditions and its capacity for broader societal impact.

Article

Macro social work practice with immigrant organizations and communities in the United States requires a basic understanding of the underlying values and history of U.S. immigration laws and policy. U.S. immigration policy frequently reflects multiple and conflicting interests and values in labor needs, global politics, family unification, and national security, and policies often shift in response to political leadership, ideology, and public opinion. Some areas of the history of U.S. immigration laws and various macro social work approaches to U.S. immigration policy include (a) advocacy at local, state, and federal levels; (b) anti-immigrant legislation proposed at the state level; and (c) collaboration between grassroots organizations and local leaders to build policies and practices that support immigrants.

Article

Eva M. Moya, David Stoesz, Mark Lusk, and Silvia M. Chávez-Baray

A broad overview of the professionalization of social work in the United States is presented while illustrating how developments in social work stimulated the emergence of macro social work as a field of practice. The history of macro practice’s dedication to social justice, human rights, and the eradication of poverty through macro-level strategies is reviewed. Influential forces, practice challenges, and initiatives responsible for the establishment and continued movement within the field are highlighted. How macro practice fits within the Specialized Practice Curricular Guide for Macro Social Work Practice (2018) and the Grand Challenges for Social Work (2015) is reviewed, along with future endeavors in macro social work.

Article

U.S. fiscal policy is of interest to social workers as it concerns issues including structural racism, economic justice, and income inequality. U.S. fiscal policy refers to the role of the government in taxing and spending, the budget appropriations process, and public budgets (including federal and state revenue and spending). Federal revenue includes payroll and income taxes (personal and corporate). Federal outlays include discretionary and mandatory entitlement spending. There are a number of ongoing contentious debates about U.S. fiscal policy, including those involving the size and function of government, deficit financing and borrowing, inequality, and the redistribution of wealth in tax policies.

Article

Eva M. Moya, Amy Joyce-Ponder, Jacquelin I. Cordero, Silvia M. Chávez-Baray, and Margie Rodriguez LeSage

The emergence of social work and macro practice is often associated with the eradication of poverty and prevention of homelessness through the efforts of 19th century settlement houses. Structural violence and social determinants of homelessness are often grounded in unequal social, political, and economic conditions. Health and mental health were affected by the lack of stable housing, causing and increasing the complexity of health and human service needs and services. Furthermore, due to inequities, some populations are inadvertently more likely to face chronic homelessness, which can be mitigated through the role community-engagement and macro practice interventions.