Affecting Change Social Workers in the Political Arena

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/4/2009
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Updated to reflect advances in a changing political arena of Obamars"s administration, this revision shows students how to develop political action skills and to take advantage of the opportunity of change. This practical, step-by-step guide focuses onadvocacy as the central mission of social work practice.New material and 17 new personal scenarios involving social workers who have made a differencesenators, representatives, and officials in the political arenaserve to inspire students. Revised chapters show how social work skills can be most effective, whether by impacting the political arena as a social worker or running for office.

Author Biography

Karen S. Haynes

Dr. Haynes has been the president of California State University San Marcos, since 2004. Prior to arriving in California, she was the president of the University of Houston-Victoria for nine years, and served as the dean of the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work for ten years. She serves on several regional boards and is the Presidential Sponsor for Southern California American Council on Education's Network of Women in Higher Education.

She has authored articles on political social work and published other books including A Dream and a Plan: A Woman's Path to Leadership in Human Services (with Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella, 2004), Women Managers in Human Services (1989), and Invitation to Social Work (with Karen A. Holmes, 1994). She was the first chair of the Indiana Political Action Committee for Human Services (1978) and the co-creator of the first Students Day at the Texas Legislature (1992). As dean, she helped create the only graduate program in the nation with a political social work concentration.


She holds a PhD. from the University of Texas at Austin; an MSW from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and an AB from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Her admonition that "all social work is political" is heartfelt as is her argument during her tenure in two presidencies that she has not "left social work", but has brought social work values into the presidency.

James S. Mickelson

Mr. Mickelson is Director of ACE Scholars Services at California State University San Marcos a program that assists former foster youth in obtaining a college degree, where he has been since 2007. Prior to that, he was president and chief executive officer (and founder) of CHILDREN AT RISK, a children's (class) advocacy organization in Houston, Texas and on the faculty of Texas State University - San Marcos school of social work. He has served on many boards and committees that address the needs of children and has served as a political appointee on children welfare commissions.


He has authored many professional articles and contributed the section on advocacy to the Encyclopedia of Social Work, 19th edition. Mr. Mickelson has contributed numerous editorials to local newspapers and has written and lectured about liyouthism"-the discriminatory treatment of children-which he believes is a major factor contributing to the plight of today's children.


Mr. Mickelson received a B.S. from Colorado State University - Pueblo and an MSW from Wayne State University. His more than thirty years of social work practice in child welfare has been combined with political action to ensure social justice for children. He has been described by the Houston Chronicle as lithe most persistent child advocate in town," which he takes as a supreme compliment.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski


About the Authors

1 All Social Work Is Political

The Time is Now


2 Social Work Values versus Politics

The Professional Code of Ethics

Primary Principles: Social Justice and Empowerment

Specialization versus Systemic Solutions

Self-Determination versus Compromise

Emotional Neutrality versus Client Self-Interest

Impartiality versus Partisan Politics


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


3 The Emergence of a Social Work Polity

The Reform Period

The New Deal and Beyond

The War on Poverty

Social Action Models


The New Federalism

The 1990s

The George “Dubya” Bush Era


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


4 The Debate

Some Perspectives

When Karen Met Harry: Unfaithful Angels Disputed


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


5 Policy Models for Political Advocacy

Models Defined

Institutional Model

Process Model

Group Theory Model

Elite Theory Model

Rational Model

Incremental Model

A Proactive Approach to Policy Development

Policy Analysis

Policy Evaluation






All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


6 The Practitioner’s Influence on Policy

Information Dissemination



Expert Witness

Written Communication

Client Empowerment

Enabler/Advocate Role

Evaluator/Consultant Role

Voter Registration

Hatch Act

The Executive’s Role in Influencing Policy

Influencing Policy: An Illustration


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


7 Influence through Lobbying

Social Work Skills in the Political Process

The Political Process

The Politician

The Informal Political Process

Lobbying Groundwork

Goal Setting

Strategy Setting

Lobbying Methods

Letter Writing


Face-to-Face Lobbying


Lobbying and Nonprofits


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


8 Tools to Influence and Organize Others

Ten Phases of a Social Movement


Coalition Building



Using the Media




Examples of Organizing Others


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


9 Monitoring the Bureaucracy

Promulgating the Rules

Rule Implementation and Agency Compliance

Budget Allocations

Administrative Changes or Executive Orders

Social Work Skills


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


10 The Campaign

Components of the Campaign




Campaign Management

The Campaign Manager: Who Really Runs the Campaign?

Voter Contact



Social Workers and Campaigns

What to Expect When Volunteering

Political Action Committees
How to Volunteer for a Campaign


All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


11Social Workers as Politicians

Respondent Characteristics

Deciding to Run

Building a Constituent Base


Realities of Office



All Social Work is Political, so...

Suggested Readings


12 Your Time is Now

Where to Start

Just Do It

Do It Early

People Influence People

You Can Make a Difference

Advocacy Is Not for Wimps

Speak Out

Just Say No

Your Time is Now


All Social Work is Political, so.

Suggested Reading


Glossary of Legislative Terms


Rewards Program

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