chapter  8
Social Workers and Policy Practice: Affecting Policy and Achieving Policy Action
Pages 7

THIS CHAPTER PROVIDES A TRANSITION FROM PARTS I AND II, which provide an overview of the current health care system in the U.S., to Part III, which focuses on affecting policy and engaging in policy practice. In 2008, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) revised its Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) to focus on professional social work competencies and practice behaviors. The remaining chapters of this book examine issues of access, disparities in health and access to care, and advocating for more just policies in health care in this context. CSWE’s standard for Policy Practice (2.1.8) states that students and practitioners should be able to “engage in policy practice and advance social and economic wellbeing and deliver effective social work services.” To develop this competency, students and practitioners need both knowledge and skills. More specifically, students and practitioners should: 1) develop an understanding that policy affects service delivery, 2) know the history and current structures of social policies and services, and 3) understand the role of professional practice in policy development. They also need to develop practice behaviors (skills) that allow them to 1) analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social wellbeing, and 2) collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action (CSWE, 2008).