Social workers place in policy and more to the point… Politics

This study, The political participation of social workers: a comparative study examined the various ways social workers are frequently managing politics and advocacy in the broader society.  I think we have to acknowledge that while we maintain our professional roles and personal survival/relevance to maintain ourselves and our jobs, it is vital for each of us to consider how we are operating or more to the point living within a political world.

I  experience the idea of a “political world” a ghostly one.  If politics is everywhere how come it is mostly framed in our social work theory talk mostly as ideology?  And once and awhile groups like the Ontario Association of Social Workers – declare for the need to get a new party into power after the Harris years, or the Alberta College of Social Workers, celebrates six registered social workers becoming members of the legislature.

“Our results suggest that input of individual social workers into the policy cycle tends to cluster in the problem articulation and definition stage, and again in the evaluation of policy-implementation stage. Individual social workers are not well positioned to have input into the more generative phases. Perhaps being practical they focus on the areas to which they do have access.”

(To access the study, you need to log in, but pretty easy to do.)

“This article reports on a comparative study that examined the political participation of social workers in Kwa Zulu-Natal province in South Africa, the state of New South Wales(excluding the Hunter region) in Australia, and New Zealand.” Gray M, Collett van Rooyen, C, Rennie G, Gaha J. 2002.

Note, that they have interesting templates of political participation of social workers, they pull from another study.



  1. Bill Dare

    Check out this workshop summary on the topic

    By Rachel L. West
    Advocacy & Community Outreach

    The CSWE 2015 APM wrapped up on Sunday. ACOSA made a strong showing this year advocating for macro social work. This year they called on CSWE leaders to commit to a plan that would see 20% of social work students with a macro concentration by the year 2020. Current estimates show that only 10% of social work students plan to pursue macro practice. You can learn more about the work of the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice here.

    ACOSA was a top influencers on the #2015APM hashtag. You can read some of the tweets and see event photos below.

  2. Justice

    I have to write an essay that would be included in my acceptance package for the social work program @ Siena College. Seems like people give me a funny look when I mention that I am a conservative. This is real annoying to me and makes me wonder if the ones that teach social justice and how never to stereo type each other realize that they are stereo typing me. I can not ignore my beliefs and I love to help others so are they saying that conservatives don’t help others?

  3. Bill Dare

    while for sure, beliefs, values and ideology is in play, I suggest in your essay to also move it to a higher level so to speak, talking about your efforts and love to help others and how you do this, but also acknowledging in social work school, it is going to be hard on the values front and how you plan – with details, to find common ground using process’ to get there. Sorry if this sounds like advice, more a fast thought — Here is a muttering of mine on the topic, btw, many experienced social workers will acknowledge the need for “diversity” of teams to get to actual effective outcomes of a program.

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