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Social workers affecting social policy

Social workers affecting social policy: An International perspective

John Gal
Idit Weiss-Gal
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Social workers affecting social policy
    Book Description:

    Furthering social justice and human rights is a fundamental principle underlying the social work profession. Engaging in social policy formulation processes is a major route through which social workers can realise this goal. This type of social work activity has been termed ‘policy practice’. The aim of this book is to shed light on policy practice in social work discourse, education and practice in eight liberal democracies. This is the first effort to undertake a cross-national study of social worker engagement in social policy formulation processes. The book offers insights into questions such as ‘what is the importance attributed to social worker involvement in policy change in the social work discourse and education in different countries?’ and ‘how do social workers influence social policy in various national settings?’ These issues are relevant to social worker practitioners, students, educators and researchers, as well as to social policy scholars, who are interested in the role of professionals in social policy formulation.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-975-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. Notes on the contributors
    (pp. v-vii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  6. ONE Policy practice in social work: an introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    John Gal and Idit Weiss-Gal

    The notion that social workers should seek to influence the policies that affect the societies in which they work has existed for nearly as long as the profession itself. Indeed, the history of the social work profession is replete with examples of social workers seeking to influence policies in the societies in which they lived. In the United Kingdom (UK), through her participation in various national committees social worker Eileen Younghusband was party to the formulation of policy in a wide range of fields during the 1950s and 1960s (Lyons, 2003). The muchacknowledged social activism of Jane Addams during the...

  7. TWO Social workers affecting social policy in Australia
    (pp. 17-38)
    Philip Mendes

    The Australian welfare state has always been largely a ‘residual’ welfare state based on the targeted direction of means–tested payments to the poor and disadvantaged. Welfare programmes have generally involved a combination of public funding and private provision. This mixed economy of welfare includes Commonwealth, state and local governments; private employers providing wages and superannuation; the market or private sector that is involved in the commercial provision of services such as health, education and housing; voluntary agencies; and the informal sector where care is provided by families and individuals. In practice, voluntary agencies, including church groups and other private...

  8. THREE Social workers affecting social policy in England
    (pp. 39-58)
    Graeme Simpson

    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland comprises four separate nations: England, Scotland (the two ‘kingdoms’, joined by the Act of Union 1703), Wales (a principality since the 14th century) and Northern Ireland (a province since the creation of the Irish Republic). Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate legislatures which have incorporated social work, and, since the Acts of devolution, Wales has attained increasing powers over its own legislature and now has responsibility for the development and regulation of social work. Thus, all four countries of the United Kingdom (UK) have separate systems for social work and social...

  9. FOUR Social workers affecting social policy in Israel
    (pp. 59-78)
    Idit Weiss-Gal

    The central claim of this chapter is that policy practice is an emergent form of social work practice in Israel, yet, to a large extent, it remains relatively marginalised in the field. Following a brief description of the context in which social workers operate, the Israeli welfare state and the social work profession in Israel, the place that policy practice plays in contemporary social work discourse, education and practice will be examined and explained. The chapter will conclude with a brief summary of the trends identified.

    Israel is a welfare state in the sense that among both decision makers and...

  10. FIVE Social workers affecting social policy in Italy
    (pp. 79-100)
    Annamaria Campanini and Carla Facchini

    Social work developed in Italy immediately after the Second World War with an orientation towards values of democracy and solidarity and seeking to address the material and moral damage that civil society was facing. At the Tremezzo convention, which can be regarded as the founding moment of Italian social work (Servizio sociale), the political foundations of social assistance were explicitly recognised (Dellavalle, 2008). Indeed, an animated debate ensued on the different interpretations proposed by representatives of the two principal tendencies present: one Catholic oriented and the other lay oriented. An historical analysis of the professional commitment of some of the...

  11. SIX Social workers affecting social policy in Russia
    (pp. 101-120)
    Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova and Pavel Romanov

    At the Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development in Hong Kong in 2010 a set of values was formulated that defined the mission of social work and the development of social policy. It is assumed that these key values, and in particular the principles of social justice and empowerment, are shared by social work and social policy practitioners, educators and experts. In the history of the profession there are many examples in which social workers sought, and successfully achieved, politically significant changes in the social order. However, there were also periods of a decline in activism and...

  12. SEVEN Social workers affecting social policy in Spain
    (pp. 121-142)
    María-Asunción Martínez-Román

    Ever since the current Constitution was passed by parliament in 1978, Spain has been organised territorially in municipalities, provinces and autonomous communities (regional level). All these bodies enjoy self-government in the management of their respective interests (Constitution, section 137). Within this decentralised structure, each level of the administration has its own responsibilities, but the central administration retains some basic control in order to guarantee equality within all territories. Each of the autonomous communities has its own government and adopts its own policies while following national policy guidelines. In addition, local authorities enjoy a degree of autonomy in their respective territories....

  13. EIGHT Social workers affecting social policy in Sweden
    (pp. 143-160)
    Katarina H. Thorén and Tapio Salonen

    The Swedish welfare system is known as a comprehensive and redistributive welfare state, with diverse institutions providing public support and social services. Despite the existence of a broad welfare state system, less is known of the extent to which professional social workers are active in reforming, changing, or otherwise affecting social policies in Sweden. In other words, in what way are they engaged in policy practice activities as part of their practical work? In this chapter we will present and describe the role of Swedish social workers in policy practice activities, with a specific focus on the shape and boundaries...

  14. NINE Social workers affecting social policy in the US
    (pp. 161-182)
    Richard Hoefer

    The US has long been considered the only major industrialised country in the world with a residual social welfare system. The US welfare system relies on means testing for many of its major income maintenance and food aid programmes, so individual Americans must usually be poor to receive government assistance. Levels of social expenditure are low relative to national GDP and are volatile, with conservative politicians taking away what liberal elected officials are able to bestow when power shifts to Republicans from Democrats. The 2011 debate at local, state and national levels regarding cutting spending rather than raising taxes from...

  15. TEN An international perspective on policy practice
    (pp. 183-210)
    Idit Weiss-Gal and John Gal

    The point of departure for this volume is that social work is a profession that embodies the values of social justice and human rights, and embraces social change as a means to achieve these values (Hare, 2004). As such, changing social welfare policies is an important, indeed crucial, aim of social work interventions because those policies can facilitate the furthering of these values by changing the environment in which service users live (Cummins at al, 2011). Policy practice is the form of social work practice that focuses on affecting social welfare policies (Jansson, 2008).

    Our explicit goal in this book...

  16. Index
    (pp. 211-215)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 216-216)