The Handbook of Policy Practice

Ira C. Colby
Pub date
Feb 2018
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All social work practice, from intervention to how payments or reimbursements are made, is regulated by social policies. Professionals, however, cannot arbitrarily select which policy to follow in any circumstance; knowing what comprises a given policy is essential, but equally important is understanding how to amend a policy by applying unique skills that reflect the social work profession's shared values and beliefs. Recognizing that a series of interdependent social policies govern every aspect of social work in both nonprofit and public organizations, this practice-specific textbook focuses on influencing social policies in an agency setting or through formal governmental processes. The Handbook for Policy Practice explores a wide range of topics that are critical tools in every social worker's policy practice repertoire: DT Recognizing the various social justice theories and their role in social policy. DT Understanding critical thinking as a practice skill. DT Social media as a practice tool. DT Preparing and presenting testimony to a legislative committee or group of people. DT Formulating a clear, well-focused written policy brief for a Board of Directors or legislative committee. DT Organizing policy specific advocacy activities including a public forum, social work day at the legislature, and voter registration projects. DT The 30-second elevator speech. DT Writing newspaper op-eds and letters to the editor. Purposefully, the Handbook also relies on information comes from the digital world. Using the web as a primary source builds on the social work profession's long-held belief to begin where the client is. Using the links to the various data and citation sources, readers will learn to identify and discern the features of a valid web site. As a whole, this book is an essential resource for all BSW and MSW students.


PART 1: Context and Framework; Introduction to PART 1; Chapter One - Social Policy and Social Work: An Overview; Chapter Two - Recognizing the Underpinnings of Social Policy and Social Welfare Policy; Chapter Three - Justice Theory and the Social Work Profession: Is This Fair and Just; Chapter Four - Critical Thinking: The Key to Policy Practice; Chapter Five - Contours of Analysis; PART 2: The Making of Social Policies; Introduction to PART 2; Chapter Six - Federal Government-Based Policy Development; Chapter Seven - State and Local Government-Based Policy Development; Chapter Eight - Agency Based Policy Development; PART 3: Impacting the Policy Making Process; Introduction to PART 3; Chapter Nine - Policy Practice Strategies, Tactics, and Techniques; Chapter Ten - Social Media, Info Sheets, and Other Tools for Effective Communication; PART 4: Not the End but the Beginning; Introduction to PART 4; Chapter Eleven - Glossary of Policy Practice Related Terms; Chapter Twelve - Final Thoughts; Appendices; Appendix 1 - Congressional Caucuses, 115th Congress; Appendix 2 - Example of Federal Register Call for Proposed Rules Change; Appendix 3 - Social Workers in Congress, 114th Congress and Social Workers in State and Local Offices; Appendix 4 - Examples of Op-Eds Written by Social Workers; Appendix 5: Op-ed and Letters to the Editor Guidelines, 100 On-line and Print Publications; Appendix 6: Example of Policy Issue Brief; Index

About the author: 

Ira C. Colby, DSW, MSW, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Houston. Dr. Colby describes his social work career as one of discovery, passion, concern for others, and civic engagement. His political beginnings began as a youngster when he volunteered in a neighbor's campaign for a local city council seat. Over the years, his political work led him to: participate in and lead local, state, and national advocacy efforts and groups; provide testimony to numerous local, state, and national legislative groups; and chair a political campaign. His global-to-local perspective has been enhanced by his travel and international work to more than 25 countries.

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