Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509

Lehigh Valley Campus
Alvernia Campus

SW 802, Social Welfare Policy & Service II  Spring 2001

Dr. Stephen Burke,Dr. Doris Chechotka-McQuade, Dr. George T. Haskett,
Ms. Joan Lewis


There is a clear need for social workers to develop expertise in analyzing and influencing social policy within their organizations, communities, states, or nationally in order to address issues of social and economic justice. Skills such as policy analysis, agenda-setting, policy persuasion, used in an ethical and culturally aware fashion, will assist the student to develop a well-rounded professional practice stance.



The second course in the Social Policy curriculum builds on the introductory content of SW 801 (Introduction to Social Welfare) and the systems content of the HBSE foundation courses. The Ethics course content provides a value base for the analytical and policy practice skills developed in SW 802. Focusing on the employment of an analytical framework, the course content: develops policy practice skills that enable students to apply a social justice framework to issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination; develops companion skills to those which will be emphasized in the advanced practice content area (SW512) that allows the student to intervene in large systems in a culturally competent manner by empowering communities and population groups; and provides tools to analyze the effects of policy on the lives of marginalized and disadvantaged populations in the U.S.



  1. To expand student’s knowledge and understanding of social welfare and social service
  2. systems in the United States.

  3. To develop skills in analyzing the effects of policy on the lives of marginalized and
  4. disadvantaged populations in the United States.

  5. To identify the basic policy inequities in the U. S. and to clearly define the social worker’s
  6. ethical responsibility for professional action.

  7. To develop the ability to apply a social justice framework to issues of racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.
  8. To build on foundation content in developing policy practice strategies.
  9. To intervene in the lives of clients in a culturally competent manner.



This course will focus attention on cultural and social diversity and the adaptability of people, institutions and communities for growth and change on two levels: the differences in specific social problems in different disadvantaged and oppressed populations, and adapting policies and services to the culture and norms of specific ethnic and racial groups. Cross national and international research and/or policy options enhance analysis of current U.S. social policy issues.



A. Teaching Methods

Cognitive Methods:

Students will classify, synthesize, and convert knowledge and understanding gained from course readings, lectures, videos, and guest lecturers into informed class participation, the advancement of critical policy analyses, and the production of an integrative policy paper.

Affective Methods:

Students will examine and challenge their value assumptions as they attempt to analyze contemporary policy issues. They will explore the implications of these values and also of prevailing social values on the requirements for and the existence of social justice and equity in social policy formulation.

Experiential Methods:

Students will experiment with and practice various policy analysis skills in small groups with selected "case examples" provided by their instructor. All students will complete a class presentation. It is believed that each student has valuable insights and experiences to contribute to this endeavor.


B. Evaluative Methods

Instructors utilize exams, papers, discussion, and projects to evaluate the integration of course content.



A mid-term assignment, final paper, class presentation and class participation will constitute the basis for the student’s course grade. Preparation for class participation is expected of students. See appendices for assignments and grading criteria.



Jansson, B.S. (1999) Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice (3rd Ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

All textbook readings are required; other course readings will be indicated by the instructor. Students are encouraged to consult the instructor for guidance about readings in specific areas.



Session #1: Introduction

Session #2: The place of policy in ecological frameworks

Chapter 1: Why Engage in Policy Practice & Policy Advocacy?

Session #3: Ethical reasons to engage in policy practice

Chapter 2: Ethical, Analytic, and Political Rationales for Engaging

In Policy Advocacy

Session #4: Discussion of the policy-practice framework

Chapter 3: A Policy Framework for Policy Advocates: Skills, Tasks,

And Actions

Chapter 4: The Big Picture: Policy Practice in Governmental,

Community, and Agency Settings

Session #5: The agenda-building task

Chapter 5: Building Agendas

Session #6: The problem-analyzing task

Chapter 6: Analyzing Problems

Session #7: The proposal-construction task

Chapter 7: Finding Policy Options

Session #8: The proposal-construction task

Chapter 8: Writing Policy Proposals

Chapter 9: Policy Persuasion

Session #9: The policy-enacting task

Chapter 10: Understanding "Power" and "Politics"

Chapter 11: Developing and Using Power


Course Outline (continued)

Session #10: The policy-enacting task

Chapter 12: Developing Political Strategy

Chapter 13: Putting Political Strategy into Action

Session #11: The policy-implementing task

Chapter 14: Securing the Implementation of Policies

Session #12: The policy-implementing task

Chapter 14: Securing the Implementation of Policies (continued)

Session #13: The policy-assessing task

Chapter 15: Assessing Policy Implementation

Session #14: Course Review

*see relevant course appendices for additional course topics.



An informal evaluation will be done at mid-semester. A formal course evaluation will be conducted at the end of the semester.


Special Learning Needs:

A student with a disability may request an adjustment in meeting the requirements of this class. Please do so by seeing Sister M. Eamon O'Neill, Coordinator for Special Services,

Room 2018 McGowan Center, 570-961-4731.




The Internet has changed the nature of entertainment, commerce, education, government and many other areas of human life. The network makes access to extensive information and communications easier and less expensive. It can also change the nature of social policy and policy practice (McNutt, 1996a; 1996b; Fitzgerald & McNutt, 1997, March). Internet based technologies can facilitate policy research, analysis and advocacy. There are several ways that the Internet can promote advocacy activities. First, electronic mail can be used to contact decision-makers about public policy issues (Schwartz, 1996; Mann, 1995). Electronic mail can also be used to coordinate policy advocacy activities (Wittig & Schmitz, 1996; Bonchek, 1995) and provide information to stakeholders (Zeff, 1996; Schwartz, 1996). Large groups of stakeholders can be effectively engaged in a short time at minimal costs. The World Wide Web allows organizations to gather policy information quickly and disseminate information to a wide audience (Zeff, 1996; Schwartz, 1996). Many advocacy organizations are developing web pages to provide information and position papers to stakeholders. Some examples are: the Children’s Defense Fund (, Greenpeace (, and the National Organization for Women ( These sites provide information, statistics and often advocacy techniques. Government organizations, such as the Census Bureau (, the General Accounting Office (, and policy organizations, such as the Brookings Institute (, and the Urban Institute (, provides substantial amounts of data and analysis on-line. There are also large sites that combine materials from many organizations such as the Electronic Policy Network (, and Handsnet ( The Library of Congress provides the Thomas site (, which provides on-line copies of all proposed bills. This readily available information makes the task of policy research far easier and even small organizations can develop an impressive data base on policy issues.


Source: (McNutt & Boland, 1999).




By Deborah Franks Jacobs, Ph.D. (1999)

SWAN on the World Wide Web out of South Carolina—a great way to get started on locating social welfare policy sites.

W3RSW - major organizer of access to relevant data for social workers. Very extensive and comprehensive.

CIS Congressional Compass – Home Page – annotated links to Web sites about the American political process – congressional sites, political parties, news and other organizations. University sites.

THOMAS – U.S. Congress on the Internet

– includes a number of databases of congressional bills via the Library of Congress, general information about the legislative process and links to her congressional sites as well as executive, judicial, and state/local.

U.S. House of Representatives – summaries of floor and committee action for last 3 legislative days, schedule for the week, directory of e-mail addresses, links to member and congressional member organizational pages.

U.S. Senate – links to committee and member homepages, a directory of e-mail addresses, daily calendar of business, and general information about the Senate and the Legislative process.

Welcome to the White House.

- lets you search documents, listen to speeches, view photos and send a message to the President.

-Provides you with a map of US which links to each state’s governmental homepage with a click on the state.

Government and Political Places. Based in PA but access to other states and governments.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Takes you directly to the Administration for Children and Families.

U.S. Department of Education

Links to all offices from special education to vocational.

Library of Congress Home Page.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Home Page.

U.S. Census Bureau Home Page.

The Dept. of the Treasury. IRS.

The Electronic Policy Network

Timely information and ideas about national policy and politics includes access to member organizations such as Center for Law and Social Policy.

Institute for Research on Poverty

A national, university-based center for research into the causes and consequences of poverty and social inequality in the U.S.

Rand Corporation site – takes you to their publications, many of which have social welfare policy topics.

Children’s Defense Fund

Links to many child and family advocacy sites.

National Organization of Women

Links to many resources that support gender issues.

Promotes information sharing, cross-sector collaboration and advocacy among individuals and organizations on a broad range of issues.

National Committee for education students to Influence State Policy and Legislation.

Center for Mental Health Services TA Centers.

Project Vote Smart

-Links to candidate, campaign and issue information sites, ratings by advocacy groups, and campaign financial reports.

Social Work National committee for Educating Students to Influence State Policy and Legislation.

Millersville University – Center for Politics and Public Affairs.

Millersville University Center for Opinion Research.

Pennsylvania Dept. of Public Welfare.

Pennsylvania State Data Center: Welcome!

Major search site – from soup to nuts. services/social work

Major search site – from nuts to soup – but extensions narrow it down.