Explaining the policy practice of community social workers

Idit Weiss-Gal, John Gal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Summary: Policy change is a core goal of community social workers. This study aims to identify the motivational and facilitating factors associated with community social workers’ engagement in policy practice, defined as policy involvement undertaken in the workplace context. The sample comprised of 106 community social workers employed by local government in Israel and the data were collected between June 2015 and February 2017. Findings: The findings showed that community social workers are more likely to engage in policy when they enjoy higher professional status, possess more policy practice resources, have higher psychological involvement in politics, are more involved in political and professional networks, and sense that they enjoy greater organizational support for policy practice. Applications: In seeking to enhance the engagement of community social workers in the policy process, social work education should provide future community social workers with policy practice skills and a sense of psychological engagement in politics. It should also encourage their participation in political networks and offer training that affords them opportunities to develop the organizational skills needed to further macro goals in a social service agency setting. In their workplace, community social workers seeking to engage in policy practice need to nurture an organizational culture that supports social workers’ policy involvement. Given that this study is on a single Israeli sample, future research on community social workers in additional work settings and in other countries is required in order to advance knowledge on this crucial, yet understudied, form of professional activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-233
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Work
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Social work
  • community work
  • social justice
  • social policy
  • social service
  • social work practice

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