Social Work: Practicing in a Century of Change
by Influencing Social Policy
We all know that change is inevitable. What is a social worker’s responsibility to respond to, and influence, that change? Social worker, Wendy Sherman, definitively answers that question.
In the second part of the six-part series, Policy Affects Practice, we are treated to a talk by Wendy Sherman, MSW. Sherman’s career spans directing the Office of Child Welfare in Maryland to the political world where she was Counselor of the Department of State to Secretary of State Madeline Albright. This video affords an opportunity to hear a leader of the profession describe triumphs and ongoing challenges.

In October of 2002, just over a year after the events of September 11th in the United States, Sherman spoke eloquently about the speed and depth of change in the world. Highlighting the inevitability of change, both positive and negative, she makes the case for social workers to play a central role in guiding social change, never standing on the sidelines.

The core principles of social work, such as person-in-situation and client self-determination, have guided Sherman’s career, and she challenges the social workers in her audience to learn how to become effective in today’s ever challenging environment.

You’ll be able to identify and analyze some characteristics of change, know which principles are essential for social workers to remember, and come away inspired about the possibilities for social in the 21st Century.
In Depth
Many social work students are understandably overwhelmed when thinking about becoming a public face for social policy. Fears of not knowing enough, not understanding the political systems, and the idea that their primary role is working with clients has often meant that social workers’ voices are not heard when laws and policies are written. Policy Affects Practice is a six-part series that demystifies the legislative process and the many ways social workers can engage with it.

From a student’s perspective, the videos explore budgets, the legislative process, and the importance of coalitions.

After watching this series you’ll be able to:

  • Describe how a budget is formed.
  • Understand the legislative process and describe the steps for enacting legislation.
  • Understand the importance of building coalitions with other social workers and learn how to do this effectively.
  • Explain how direct practice experience can be an effective tool when advocating on the macro level.
  • Illustrate the ethical dimensions of lobbying Congress for social workers using the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics.

Length of video: 00:22:02

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-487-8

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-487-1

ISP is the only national membership organization dedicated exclusively to promoting social work’s involvement in policy and policy practice. Now a 501(c)3, it was created in 1997—in the wake of welfare reform–to address concerns about devolution. Comprised of social work educators, students, and practitioners, its expanded mission seeks to increase social work efficacy in influencing policy at all levels of government by educating students in policy and policy practice, and engaging students and faculty in the policy-making and political processes.

Visit their website for more information.
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