Release Date: 10/14/2015
Alexandria, VA, October 14, 2015 – The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is pleased to announce the creation of two innovative initiatives that will advance equity and social justice through social work policy practice. These projects are generously funded through the Fund for Social Policy Education and Practice (FSPEP), which is supported by the Lois and Samuel Silberman Grant Fund of The New York Community Trust. The FSPEP is concerned about increasing social work dialogue and action about the problems of poverty and inequality. The Fund is working in partnership with a number of national organizations to advance this goal, and this award to CSWE for the creation of a policy coalition and field education project represents its first significant initiative.
The Coalition for Policy Education and Practice in Social Work will bring together social work groups to make policy advocacy and policy practice a greater focus in school work education and professional development programming for social work faculty and practitioners. Activities are likely to include celebrating and incentivizing policy activities of students, faculty and practitioners; data collection to secure baseline information; and collaborative projects to produce tools and content that fill gaps in social work curriculum.
The Coalition advisory committee will include representatives from the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors (BPD); the Congressional Research Institute on Social Work and Policy (CRISP); the Grand Challenges Executive Committee of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW); Influencing Social Policy (ISP); the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD); the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); the Network of Social Work Management (NSWM); the Special Commission on Macro Practice of the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA); the Race, Ethnicity and Poverty Network (REAP Centers); and the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) along with staff from the Council on Social Work Education and the FSPEP.
“Our profession is about effecting positive change for individuals, families and their communities. All social workers – regardless of their area of practice and organizational vantage point – must act on the policy implications of their work, and in so doing, advance critical dialogue and needed social change. This Coalition will bring together the efforts of associations, faculty, and students to combine efforts and create greater engagement in social work about influencing policy”, said Patricia A. White, FSPEP executive director.
In addition to creating the coalition, the FSPEP has funded CSWE to develop a Field Education Initiative that will expand policy practice opportunities to improve student knowledge and application of policy-related skills in classroom and field education. This initiative will solicit and fund projects from interested schools of social work and their community partners that enrich and expand policy-related field placements as well as advance, strengthen, and increase the value and quantity of policy practice experiences with all students of social work, regardless of their specialization or degree. The exposure to these experiences will deepen students’ comprehension of the intersection between race/ethnicity and poverty within a policy context. A work group, composed of representatives of the FSPEP; CSWE; members of the CSWE’s Council on Field Education; and the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors (NANFED) will advise and guide the overall effort and help select awardees.
“Broadening student exposure to policy practice through experiential exercises in the classroom and innovative field education opportunities, will help to prepare all students to integrate policy skills in practice”, said Darla Spence Coffey, CSWE president and chief executive officer. “The Coalition and field education initiatives will help to reinforce the importance of social work policy practice across the education continuum.”
CSWE is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.