Creating Change: Building a Legislative Coalition
by Influencing Social Policy
Social workers can’t do it alone! In order to be at their most effective when working to influence state policy,  they must organize and sustain effective legislative coalitions.
Each of the six videos in the series, Policy Affects Practice, takes on the social work student’s fears of getting involved in state policy—whether that means calling their representative, testifying at a hearing, or becoming involved in the state budget. The sixth, and final, video illustrates how social workers form legislative coalitions.

Commitment of time, money, and resources are all needed to form coalitions, but the effort is necessary if social workers want to effect real legislative change. This video illustrates the skills, like consensus building, that are needed not only to start, but to sustain coalitions to take on the complex tasks of engaging with legislative bodies.

You can’t be a “soloist” at your state’s legislature. If you want to have your voice heard and make a difference you need to create a coalition. Learn how in this engaging and instructive video.
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.
Save on the 6-video series: Policy Affects Practice

Length of video: 00:19:36

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-485-1

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-485-7

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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