Policy-Practice in Social Work: Models and Issues

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Journal of Social Work Education

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The emergence of policy—practice is a recent development in social work. In this article, policy—practice is defined as a direct social work practice mode with the potential to strengthen the social work profession's abilities to meet its century-long commitments of providing policy-informed services to those in need of them. At the same time, policy—practice advocates for and participates in policy implementation and change. This article examines policy—practice and places it within the context of the profession's historic cause—function debate and identifies several barriers that have complicated development. Most important, the article reviews five policy—practice models found in the literature: (1) social worker as policy expert, (2) social worker as change agent in external work environments, (3) social worker as change agent in internal work environments, (4) social worker as policy conduit, and (5) social worker as policy itself.


© 1991 Taylor & Francis, Ltd.

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