About the Social Welfare Policy Think Tank
Welcome! This site is intended to serve as a launch pad for thinking differently about social welfare policy and social welfare policy education. As such, it is a site for social workers who are curious about policy, social work students who are trying to understand how policy fits in with their professional aspirations, and social work educators who are looking for tools to use in order to incorporate macro concepts into their courses.
I want to be clear and transparent about my perspective: I am unabashedly a liberal progressive social worker whose understanding of social problems goes beyond a call for increased government involvement and reaches more directly towards the heart of the problem—complicating our understanding of how structures and systems influence individuals and vice versa.
My interest in policies and the influence of those policies goes beyond myself or my family; my interests are informed by my work and my understanding of human rights and the dignity of people.
That said, I lay out how social work practice regularly intersects with policy and macro practice, as well as identifying the ways in which social workers are called to actively integrate their micro practice with an appreciation for the impact that structural, macro concepts have on our clients while engaging in our own, particular, forms of social work activism. For example:
Social workers providing community mental health services and other, related, services are front-line witnesses of the positive and negative sides to the Affordable Care Act, and the possible consequences of a plan to repeal coverage.
Social workers working with the elderly regularly navigate Medicare and Social Security, and understand the precise value of maintaining these systems of social support. These social workers can speak directly to the risks inherent in cutting funding for these servcies.
Social workers who are in a school-based setting understand in a special way the impact that rescinding protections for students with disabilities will have on this vulnerable population.
I want people to be able to use this site as a tool to inspire social workers' thinking about social work practice, the history of social welfare policies, policymaking, and the potential role of social workers in agency, local, state, and federal level entities.
More specifically, I want to be able to de-silo social work education and practice, to identify the ways in which we have lost our voice in the struggle for social justice, and to amplify the voice of social workers in the policymaking process. We need a bigger seat at the policy table-- we are the ones who see the impact of policies far more than those who are currently writing the policies, and we are ethically-mandated agents of social justice and social change.
Join me in this process. I hope we are all more inspired to be activists in our communities.