SOCW 6361 Walden University Social Science Policy Alternative Paper

Assignment: Final Project Milestone 4: Policy Alternative

As an astute social worker and professional policy advocate, once you have selected and identified a social problem, you begin the process of creating and implementing a policy that addresses that social problem. One of the first things you do in the implementation process is an analysis of the social policy you identified. There is always the possibility that the policy created and implemented to address the social problem you identified is not viable for a variety of reasons.

In this case, you must explore a policy alternative.

In Part 4 of your ongoing Social Change Project assignment, you will identify a policy alternative to better alleviate the social problem you identified.

To Prepare:

  • Review the article by McNutt      (attached)
  • Review your previous Final      Project Milestone Assignments and your Instructor feedback. Consider the      following: Identification of a Social       Problem (Week 2) Food Insecurity! (attached)Issue Statement (Week       4) Food Insecurity! (attached)Identification of a Policy       (Week 4) Food Insecurity! (attached)Social Advocacy Proposal       (Week 6) Food Insecurity! (attached)

  • Based on your work to      date, including your insights into the selected social problem,      careful analysis of a policy, and goals for advocacy, identify a policy      alternative that would work to better alleviate the social      problem while mitigating adverse impacts for the relevant      populations.
  • Search for and select at      least five scholarly articles to support your selection      and review of a policy alternative.
  • By Day 7

    Submit a 3- to 4-page paper that addresses the following:

  • What is the policy      alternative?
  • What, if any, change(s) in      the policy alternative are necessary, and where will they need to occur      (local or state)?
  • Is this policy alternative      congruent with social work values? Explain.
  • What is the feasibility of      the alternative policy (political, economic, and administrative)?
  • Does the policy alternative      meet the policy goals (e.g., social equality, redistribution of resources,      social work values, and ethics)?
  • What are the forces that are      for the policy? What are the forces that      are against the policy?
  • What policy advocacy skills      can be used to support the policy alternative?
  • How does the      policy alternative affect clinical social work practice with      clients?
  • What changes could be made      in the policy to support the needs of clients seeking clinical      services?
  • Special Section
    Is Social Work Advocacy Worth the
    Cost? Issues and Barriers to an Economic
    Analysis of Social Work Political Practice
    Research on Social Work Practice
    21(4) 397-403
    ª The Author(s) 2011
    Reprints and permission:
    DOI: 10.1177/1049731510386624
    John McNutt1
    Advocacy is central to the social work profession’s commitment to social betterment and justice, yet much of what we know
    about it is based on conventional wisdom. We have little evidence on the effectiveness of interventions and even less on the
    costs and benefits of advocacy campaigns. This article discusses some of the conceptual and methodological issues involved
    with advocacy research and provides some direction for combining research on the effectiveness of advocacy with research
    on its cost utility.
    community intervention, community organization, community practice, evidence-based practice, policy analysis, policy evaluation,
    preexperimental design, program evaluation, quantitative, quasi-experiment
    Advocacy is important to the social work profession. In many
    ways, it enacts social work values concerning social and economic justice (Ezell, 2001; Haynes & Mickelson, 2000; Reeser,
    1992; Schneider & Lester, 2001). The responsibility to advocate is prominent in the Code of Ethics (National Association
    of Social Workers [NASW], 1996), and it is taught as a core
    value in social work education. Thus, even if there were grave
    doubts about its effectiveness, social workers would find it difficult to disengage from advocacy because of its centrality to
    professional culture.
    Political interventions can also be of immediate practical
    value to organizations that are dependent on the benefits of
    government funding or regulations (Berry & Arons, 2002). In
    tough economic times, it is often essential to be represented
    in the halls of power. However, despite the importance of advocacy and the commitment of social workers to it, there is little
    evidence about how well different types of advocacy work and
    whether it is worth the often considerable costs.
    The accountability revolution in human services has reached
    a stage in which most organizations and fields accept accountability as a part of program operations (Alter & Evens, 1990).
    Public, private, and corporate funders insist on accountability,
    and most human services professionals understand it as a feature of ethical practice. Every organization must evaluate each
    of its activities in order to understand their contribution to overall impact and to justify the funding that each component
    receives. Still, some areas of practice are more difficult to evaluate than others. Advocacy is one of those difficult areas.
    There are serious conceptual and methodological issues that
    must be resolved before we can properly evaluate whether the
    costs of advocacy are reasonable. In the first place, the
    effectiveness of various forms of advocacy is far from clear.
    Much of the evidence presented in the social work literature
    on advocacy is based on practice wisdom. This is also true in
    much of the advocacy literature in related disciplines. If we
    cannot establish that advocacy is effective, then we cannot
    measure whether its efficacy is worth the cost. There are severe
    challenges that must be overcome in order for us to draw a
    nexus between activities that organizations engage in and the
    impacts that they seek.
    Second, the concrete benefits of advocacy are difficult to
    establish in the manner preferred by most policy practitioners.
    In some cases, for example, the objective of an advocacy campaign is to pass a law. The value of such an action depends on
    the implementation of the law and then on the primary and secondary impacts that occur. These kinds of variables clearly
    exceed what an advocacy campaign may be reasonably
    expected to control or anticipate.
    Third, there is the issue of determining what a campaign or
    technique actually costs. This process is straightforward from
    the perspective of cost accounting and economic analysis, but
    a few issues remain unaddressed. For example, in many nonprofit organizations, the threat of losing tax-exempt status
    University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA
    Corresponding Author:
    John McNutt, GRAHAM Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA
    motivates managers to report as few funds as possible as
    devoted to lobbying. Instead, some of the items that are often
    considered advocacy might be located in other areas of the
    organization’s budget.
    Finally, the costs of advocacy’s potential side effects,
    including those that affect third parties (what economists call
    externalities), should be considered. Although some of these
    are positive (such as empowering a population or creating a
    sense of hope), others are not so desirable (such as bad publicity and loss of funds).
    This article will deal with these issues and explore their
    ramifications. We will first look at the advocacy enterprise.
    We will explore the costs of advocacy efforts and examine
    some of the issues involved. Next, we will look at the methodological challenges involved in evaluating advocacy. These
    are daunting challenges, but some recent signs give cause for
    hope. Finally, we will deal with the issue of applying economic
    analysis (which differs from cost analysis) to advocacy.
    Social Work Advocacy Considered
    Advocacy is a core function in social work. It is also an important part of the organizational life of many social workers. As a
    professional community, social workers hope that they can prevent a range of social ills and reinforce social work’s place in
    society. While not every social worker is comfortable with integrating politics into their professional practice (see Haynes &
    Mickelson, 2000), others are committed to the changes that
    advocacy can bring.
    Social workers who engage in advocacy usually differentiate between case advocacy (advocacy for an individual or family) and cause advocacy (advocacy for wider social and
    community issues). This discussion will deal only with cause
    advocacy. This is not to imply that case advocacy is less important to the profession and the people it serves. However, the
    focus in this article is not on advocacy that helps a client but
    on advocacy that is designed to bring about structural change
    and hence more complicated and more difficult.
    Some cause advocacy is devoted to expanding rights and
    benefits by passing legislation or modifying existing policies.
    This type of advocacy harkens back to the profession’s past
    glories of helping to create social legislation such as the juvenile court, child labor, laws, and social security. Today, probably more of the profession’s advocacy efforts aim at profession
    building and protecting existing funding streams. Although not
    as glamorous as more direct advocacy efforts, this is an important work that affects the lives of social workers, their organizations, and their clients. For example, the struggle to attain
    social work licensing in every state was a major victory for the
    profession. Much of the legislative work is aimed at the last two
    goals: sustaining the profession and securing funding.
    Defending the profession’s turf is a function that almost all
    professions discharge in some fashion. Most of the larger
    professions—including business and industry—spend considerable sums of money on lobbying, campaign contributions,
    and other types of political action. In 2008, according to the
    Research on Social Work Practice 21(4)
    Table 1. Political Action Committee Contributions of Various
    Professions 2008
    2008 Contributions
    American Federation of Teachers
    American Assn for Justice (Law)
    American Medical Assn
    American Psychiatric Assn
    American Dental Assn
    American Nurses Assn
    National Assn of Social Workers (PACE)
    Source: The Center for
    Open Secrets
    Center for Responsive Politics (2009), there were 14,800
    lobbyists in America and 3.3 billion dollars spent on
    lobbying. Since 2008 was an election year, considerable additional money was donated to candidates and political parties.
    Table 1 presents several professions’ political action committee (PAC) contributions in 2008.
    Much of the social work literature on advocacy deals with a
    range of advocacy techniques, including lobbying, community
    organizing, PACs, political campaigning, policy research, and
    monitoring (Ezell, 2001; Schneider & Lester, 2001). These are
    among the standard techniques used by advocates from a variety of organizations in many sectors. These techniques are
    rarely used by themselves; rather, it is much more common for
    an advocacy campaign to employ multiple methods.
    In the past few years, technology has become an essential
    part of both political campaigns and advocacy efforts (Hick
    & McNutt, 2002; McNutt & Boland, 1999). What began with
    e-mail and websites has now expanded to include blogs, wikis,
    and social networking sites. Technology facilitates intervention
    research in interesting ways (McNutt, 2006). Computers and
    networks produce very good records both of the things that they
    do and, in many cases, the responses they receive. We can tell
    you, for example, how many recipients of an e-mail message
    took the trouble to open the message. This metric, called the
    ‘‘Open Rate,’’ can give us a very good idea of the impact of our
    mailing. This is much more difficult in traditional mailings and
    leaflet campaigns.
    Advocacy campaigns tend to change quickly as new challenges arise. What Rothman (1987) called ‘‘Mixing and Phasing’’ is characteristic of contemporary advocacy campaigns.
    Given the time needed to successfully create major policy
    change, this is not surprising. Coalitions are also a feature of
    most campaigns, and different actors prefer different methods.
    This is especially true in political campaigns, where daily
    change is a fact of life (see Trippi, 2004).
    Social workers practice cause advocacy in a number of settings including agencies, advocacy organizations, professional
    associations, and grassroots organizations. Each of these settings has strengths and limitations for the advocate. Some
    offer more resources, whereas others offer a greater amount
    of freedom. Membership organizations present specific challenges for certain types of issues. Being a member can mean
    anything from writing a check to volunteering full time for the
    organization’s advocacy team. Berry (1999) notes that many
    advocacy organizations have moved away from the membership organization format toward more professionalized political work. The NASW is probably the largest advocate for
    professional issues in social work. NASW is a 501 (c) 6 nonprofit organization that was created by the merger of a number
    of smaller organizations in the early 1950s. In terms of government relations, NASW has a national staff that deals with a host
    of issues, and many states have a full-time governmentrelations position. Some of the smaller states hire a contract
    lobbyist to represent their issues, or they depend on volunteer
    lobbyists or the executive director. NASW has a modestly
    funded PAC (Political Action for Candidate Election [PACE])
    that supports national candidates and, through state level committees, state and local candidates (Colby & Buffum, 1998).
    Many of the national human services organizations have
    large government-relations staff. These organizations often
    work together on major pieces of legislation. There are also
    other professional social work associations that have interests
    in policy issues. In addition, there are a considerable number
    of National Advocacy Organizations that deal with social welfare issues. These include the American Public Human Services Organization, the Children’s Defense Fund, Voices for
    America’s Children, and a host of other organizations. Some
    of their advocates are social workers.
    Advocates come in various shapes and sizes as well.
    A lobbyist can be anything from a high-powered former political leader to a volunteer social worker with little or no training.
    This means huge variations in experience, networks, connections, and political resources. Different forms of advocacy
    require different types of expertise. Many of the activities that
    advocates engage in require substantial knowledge (such as
    issue knowledge and knowledge of lobbying rules and regulations) and a broad set of skills (such as drafting legislation,
    organizing constituents, public education methods, and so
    forth) to successfully complete. Wanting to be influential is not
    the same thing as being influential.
    Many advocates learned their craft in an apprenticeship
    model of training. This means either working in politics or
    learning from an experienced advocate. Many schools of social
    work offer their students some basic information about advocacy as a part of the social policy curriculum. Lately, master’s
    programs in practical politics have emerged at major universities. Although these programs are not located in schools of
    social work, there is no reason that similar programs could not
    be developed as a part of social work education.
    Advocacy campaigns are often governed by restrictions
    placed on organizations by federal law (particularly legislation
    related to taxation of nonprofits and political contribution) and
    state law (see Berry & Arons, 2002). The states vary greatly in
    their treatment of advocacy methods. For example, the Internal
    Revenue Service (IRS) does not consider administrative advocacy (lobbying governmental officials in the executive branch)
    to be subject to federal limitations. This is not true in the State
    of Delaware. Many nonprofits are not engaged in the policy
    process. Berry and Arons (2002) found that many nonprofits
    do not understand what they can and cannot do under applicable laws and that this often prevents them from taking logical
    steps to protect themselves politically.
    Most of social workers’ knowledge about practical politics
    is practice wisdom (see Green & Gerber, 2004). It represents
    the collected experience of practitioners in many fields.
    This is not only true of policy practitioners in social work; it
    is also true of practitioners from other fields. Although there
    is a good deal of academic, social science research on topics
    relevant to advocacy, this literature rarely influences practical
    decisions. At least some of this translation process is underway,
    but we are a long way from an evidence-based practice regime.
    If we look at standard models of practice evaluation that are
    used successfully with direct practice techniques, some familiar, difficult issues arise. Some of these issues will be dealt with
    in the next part of the article.
    Evaluating Advocacy
    Evaluating advocacy practice is a potentially challenging and
    frustrating endeavor. Many of the conditions required for an
    effective evaluation are missing. If we assume that an experimental or quasi-experimental design provides the best chance
    for establishing a causal relationship between an intervention
    and an intended outcome, then we are faced with a number
    of significant problems. These include:
     Shifting, Multiple or Unclear Outcomes: Some advocacy
    efforts do have clear, easily measured goals. These would
    include passing a law (or preventing one from being
    passed), preserving funding, and other similar objectives.
    Other goals, such as courting political influence and
    empowering the constituency, are far less clear. These can
    be difficult or even impossible to measure reliably. Even if
    the original outcomes are clear and relatively unequivocal, strategic change is always possible if resistance
    becomes too severe or the outcome becomes too costly.
    These changes in strategy are often unclear because the
    compromise outcome will be offered up as the original
    goal in order to save face. Since there are usually many
    versions of a potential law in a major legislative effort,
    it is often difficult for the public to follow which legislation is where and what it contains. There are also times
    where a desired piece of legislation is intentionally
    defeated because an amendment is attached that would
    do serious harm to the bill’s intended beneficiaries. There
    are also cumulative change situations. Sometimes a string
    of defeats precede a major victory that makes up for the
    losses. These changes are nearly impossible to anticipate.
    If this seems like a confusing and difficult situation, rest
    assured: it is. This muddle often makes traditional
    researchers throw up their hands in disgust.
     Unstable Interventions: Advocacy campaigns often shift
    their focus. Different methodologies are tried and discarded. There can also be shifts as coalition partners change
    Research on Social Work Practice 21(4)
    and available funding waxes and wanes. Some of this fits
    into what Rothman (1987) referred to as ‘‘Mixing and Phasing,’’ a process in which interventions are used together or
    in sequence. In phasing, an advocacy group might file a
    lawsuit to soften a target for negotiation. This could be followed by another technique, such as lobbying or negotiation aimed at a now more accepting target. The strategy
    might be less planned and more reactive in some situations
    where changes in policy making occur frequently.
    Although it is popular to talk about the turbulent environment of many advocacy programs, they often seem tranquil
    against the backdrop of a policy making.
    Unclear Causal Mechanism: The dynamics of decision
    making are often unclear. The policy process is often
    cloaked in secrecy. Decisions are sometimes made in
    response to forces that have little or nothing to do with the
    issue at hand. This might include party loyalty, friendships,
    and campaign funding. Revealing your decision criteria is
    not a good strategy in many political environments.
    Multiple Exogenous Variables: One of the conditions for
    causality is that no external variables can account for the
    effect. That is very difficult to establish in political situations.
    There are many variables that are clearly outside the control
    of the intervention or the practitioner but that can nevertheless be the difference between success and failure. News
    events, other legislation, political scandals, and national disasters fall within this category. This happens in many settings, but the impact is greater in political settings because
    many of the interventions are dealing with public perception.
    The Political Nature of Evaluation: Evaluation research
    always has at least some political dimension (see Weiss,
    1971). Any process that ultimately deals with resource allocation is likely to have political overtones. Evaluation
    research in a political setting is likely to be even more contentious than in most settings. Professional political operatives are comfortable with political battles and have access
    to a wide range of political tools and resources. This makes
    it likely that they will use this capacity to deal with potentially damaging evaluation findings.
    Deceit, Misdirection, and Misinformation: Politicians often
    use deception to achieve their ends. This means that many
    of the artifacts of decision making (such as documents and
    later reflective writings) are untrustworthy and the verbal
    statements of the parties may be questionable. It also
    means that researchers will have to deal with systems that
    can make verification difficult. Although it may be true
    that openness and transparency in government are frequently discussed as goals for the future, we are not there
    yet. Just from the standpoint of complying with federal tax
    law, organizations have an incentive to disguise their
    advocacy activities.
    In light of these barriers, some of the effort to evaluate advocacy has shifted toward the evaluation of capacity building for
    advocacy. This is certainly an important issue, but it begs the
    question of outcome measures for advocacy per se.
    All of these factors create barriers to understanding the
    effectiveness of advocacy interventions in social work and
    other fields. They also make the question of costs problematic.
    However, there is hope. In the past decade, the movement
    toward experimental political science has begun to bear fruit.
    Reasonably reliable evaluations of advocacy interventions are
    now available (Bergan, 2009; Gerber, 2004; Green & Gerber,
    2004). These scholars and their colleagues have begun to
    examine political practice in tightly designed experiments.
    This overcomes many of the problems that we have discussed
    above and offers a new way that represents a comprehensive
    body of knowledge at this point. Although there is a long way
    to go before we can confidently point to a knowledge base, this
    is an excellent start. However, such cutting-edge studies are not
    social work focused.
    Analyzing the Costs of Social Work
    The questions of effectiveness and cost are tightly linked. If an
    intervention does not work, then what it costs is really not that
    important; it should not be used at all. There are serious ethical,
    legal, and political consequences to using interventions that are
    known to be ineffective. If an intervention is effective, however, then economic analysis offers a series of tools that can
    greatly facilitate decision making.
    Many of the economic tools compare costs of a particular
    innovation and any side effects to the benefits and other
    impacts of an intervention. Although this seems straightforward, there are a number of complications.
    Not everything has an actual dollar value or what economists refer to as a market price. In the absence of such a supposedly clear standard, an analyst constructs a shadow price that
    approximates the value of the cost or benefit. This is developed
    logically from the value of the cost or benefit, often using conventions. If we are talking about the value of a life for example,
    two accepted ways of putting a dollar value on a life are the cost
    of replacement services or expected lifetime earnings. Even a
    market price can be distorted by problems in the market system. Wage discrimination, for example, is a component of the
    cost of labor. It distorts the actual value of labor.
    In any intervention, there are direct and indirect impacts.
    Direct impacts are the intended consequences of an activity and
    indirect impacts are the unintended consequences. Some of
    these impacts are positive and others are negative. There are
    also consequences (again both positive and negative) that occur
    to third parties. These are called externalities. All of these
    impacts can affect both costs and benefits.
    Another issue is that the value of money changes over time.
    Analysts deal with this issue by discounting the value of future
    dollars according to an expected rate of inflation. This means
    that money in the future is generally worth less than money
    in the present. Because this is not always clear in advance, a
    process called sensitivity analysis considers various possible
    rates. In the past, it has generally been reasonable to assume
    a consistent rate of inflation. The most recent economic
    Table 2. Hypothetical Costs for a Small Advocacy Effort
    Cost Analysis
    research to
    support claim
    Social media
    Fringe benefits
    Indirect costs
    Total Costs
    Survey and library research,
    30 person hours at $25/hr,
    $200 in postage and
    5 hr at $75/hr for contract
    5 days at $500/day for
    contract lobbyist
    15 person hours at $25/hr
    22% of non consultant
    40% of Costs
    $750 personnel,
    $200 postage and
    $375 consultant
    is reduced by $10
    stays the same
    increases by $5
    increases by $10
    increases by $15
    Benefit (Based on
    6,000 Client Episodes)
    Less Cost
    is reduced by $10
    stays the same
    increases by $5
    increases by $10
    increases by $15
    $2,500 contract
    $375 personnel
    Table 3. Hypothetical Outcomes of the Policy Process and its Impact
    Table 4. Costs and Benefits of Hypothetical Advocacy Effort
    Result (Based on
    6,000 Client Episodes)
    downturn has raised serious questions about that assumption; it
    is possible, after all is said and done, that some economies will
    experience deflation.
    In all cases, we need to understand the value of our activities
    and results. This requires careful record keeping and, in many
    cases, cost accounting. Table 2 contains a hypothetical cost
    analysis for a small-scale advocacy effort. The campaign lobbied to pass a bill in the state legislature that would raise reimbursement for social work mental health services by 10 dollars
    per unit of service:
    The potential benefit for the agency is calculated by taking
    the total number of service units and multiplying them by the
    increase (or decrease) in funding. This total is then compared
    with the costs. There are three hypothetical outcomes for the
    policy process: the amount increases, the amount decreases,
    or the amount stays the same. The first two possibilities are
    clearly losses, whereas the third can be a loss or a win
    depending on the increase. It is always possible that we will
    get a larger increase than we wanted, Table 3 presents those
    If we compare the data in Tables 2 and 3, we can see the
    relationship between the costs of the advocacy effort and its
    potential benefits. Table 4 presents those results:
    The first two possibilities involve losses to the agency. The
    three other possibilities all involve gains. Part of the calculus
    that is not included is the likelihood of success. If it is likely
    that we will succeed, the advocacy is a good choice. If it is not
    likely, it is clearly a bad choice in this context. Those decisions
    are usually political decisions.
    Because comparisons are often more complex than what we
    have discussed thus far, analytical tools have been created to
    ease the process. Among the most commonly used are Return
    of Investment (ROI), Cost-Benefit Analysis, and CostEffectiveness Analysis.
    ROI looks at the total benefits achieved for the amount of value
    invested. It is occasionally referred to as the Rate of Return.
    ROI is essentially a calculation based on the rate of increased
    value of an investment. In order to calculate a ROI, you first
    calculate what an activity actually costs.
    A number of articles have appeared (see Rampell, 2009)
    advancing the view that the benefit an organization receives
    from a law can be compared with its lobbying and campaign
    expenditures. The more an organization invests in political
    muscle, the better the outcomes it receives. Although this
    seems to be straightforward, it presupposes that advocacy was
    the cause of the award or benefit. This is a huge leap of faith
    and one that makes correlation equivalent to causality.
    Rampell (2009) argued that institutions of higher education
    received more earmarks as a function of their lobbying efforts.
    She used these earmarks to calculate an ROI. Some institutions
    did not spend any money on lobbying and were therefore
    excluded from her analysis. She concluded that:
    By back-of-the-envelope calculations, these universities got a
    pretty good return on their lobbying investment. The University
    of Alabama, for example, spent $360,000 on lobbying, and
    received earmarks totaling $40,550,000. That is a return of
    11,163.89%—or $112.64 in earmarks for every dollar spent
    on lobbying activities.
    This presupposes that there is a causal nexus between lobbying
    expenditures and receiving earmarks. Since there are quite a
    few schools that did not spend money on lobbying and still
    received earmarks, the data itself calls into question the
    assumptions of the article. This might be considered a ‘‘free
    rider’’ problem (organizations that do not contribute but benefit
    just the same; Olsen, 1965), except that earmarks are a specific
    benefit, not a general benefit. Given the uncertainty about what
    legally ‘‘lobbying’’ is, how well it is connected to the actual
    benefits, and the host of possible alternative explanations (such
    as a strong center or program), it is difficult to have complete
    faith in this analysis.
    A better use of ROI is presented by Green and Gerber
    (2004), who tied cost data to effectiveness data from experimental studies. This clearly provides a better perspective to
    evaluate the economic worth of an intervention. There is evidence of worth, and the results of the cost analysis can be readily compared. In Rampell’s analysis, the effectiveness of the
    lobbying effort is only assumed.
    ROI might be a better tool in cases where there are intermediate objectives. In place of getting a bill passed, for example, we can evaluate the ROI of getting people to write letters to
    their representatives as compared to the number of letters written. This type of effort analysis makes the process straightforward because not outcome is actually assumed and the writing
    of letters is an end in itself.
    Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
    Cost-effectiveness analysis ties costs of an intervention to the
    outcomes of two or more potential interventions (see Levin,
    1983). For example, if we have two potential interventions with
    a known level of effectiveness, we can compare them directly
    on the basis of costs. Cost-effectiveness analysis is, in the end,
    a measure of efficiency that presupposes effectiveness. Alternatives are assessed based on that metric. This means that the
    alternative that most efficiently arrives at a given objective will
    be selected based on cost-effectiveness analysis.
    For example, in an advocacy campaign, we might be faced
    with a choice between direct mail and e-mail to deliver a message. E-mail is considerably cheaper, so if the effect is the
    same, e-mail will be selected.
    Cost Benefit Analysis
    Cost benefit analysis looks at costs and benefits over the life
    cycle of a project (see Young & Steinberg, 1995; see also
    Handy and Mook in this issue). It is one of the most comprehensive approaches to project selection, and it requires a considerable amount of data and effort.
    The analyst begins by projecting the project life cycle and
    then determining cost and benefits at each point. There is usually a start-up period in which the project is getting organized.
    During this period, the project incurs costs but does not generate benefits. The operational project generates benefits and
    eventually reaches the ‘‘break-even point’’ where costs and
    benefits are even. The benefits obtained in the later stages of
    the project are discounted against the costs incurred earlier in
    the project. Finally, a ratio between the total costs and benefits
    is created. Sometimes, this process results in a number referred
    to as NPV or net present value. Cost benefit analysis is frequently conducted using projections prior to selecting a project.
    If costs exceed benefits, the project is usually not implemented.
    Cost benefit analysis requires a substantial amount of
    resources, but it provides a much clearer picture of the economic
    situation of a real or potential project. However, because of the
    Research on Social Work Practice 21(4)
    difficulties involved in a full analysis, many organizations settle
    for one of the other analysis techniques.
    Economic analysis offers a substantial toolbox for examining resource issues in advocacy settings. This is a capacity that
    can help social work advocates realize their mission and
    achieve their ends.
    The principle issue for economic analysis of advocacy practice is that we must have evidence that the interventions are
    actually effective before any type of examination of the costs
    and benefits is possible. Water is cheaper than gasoline, but
    most cars will not run on it. The cost differential is thus irrelevant. The same is true for advocacy interventions—if they
    do not work, it does not make any difference how much or
    how little they cost.
    This seems like a simple and self-evident truth. If advocacy
    is important to the profession, then it is important that it be
    done well. We cannot insist on evidence-based practice in other
    areas and not insist upon it for social work advocacy as well.
    There are many other fields involved in this sort of practice, but
    the literature that goes beyond practice wisdom is still less than
    Another reality is that contemporary social work has made
    very little use of what economics offers—a substantial body
    of knowledge and tools to improve our decisions about
    resource issues. If we consider advocacy important and understand the scope of the threats to social and economic justice, we
    should want to use the limited resources that we have as well as
    At one time, social work and economics were allies. Simon
    Patten, an economist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance, coined the term ‘‘social
    work’’ (Austin, 1986). Many of the early pioneers of the profession had training in economics, including John Commons and
    Edith Abbott. Economics is arguably the dominant social science discipline in the policy arena. We cripple our own work
    in the policy arena by ignoring the contributions of economists.
    It is important for social work to conduct competent,
    evidence-based advocacy activities in pursuit of our professional
    values and goals. It is also critical to use our advocacy-focused
    resources in the most productive way possible.
    Declaration of Conflicting Interests
    The author declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.
    The author received no financial support for the research and/or
    authorship of this article.
    Alter, C., & Evens, W. (1990). Evaluating your practice: A guide to
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    Austin, D. M. (1986). A history of social work education. Austin:
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    Bergan, D. E. (2009). Does grassroots lobbying work? A field
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    Ezell, M. (2001). Advocacy in the human services. Belmont, CA:
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    Behavioral Scientist, 4, 541-574.
    Green, D. P., & Gerber, A. S. (2004). Get out the vote: How to
    increase voter turnout. Washington, DC: Brookings.
    Haynes, K., & Mickelson, J. (2000). Affecting change: Social
    workers in the political arena (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn &
    Hick, S., & McNutt, J. G. (Eds.) (2002). Advocacy and activism on the
    internet: Perspectives from community organization and social
    policy. Chicago, IL: Lyceum.
    Levin, H. M. (1983). Cost-effectiveness: A primer. Beverly Hills, CA:
    McNutt, J. G. (2006). Building evidence based advocacy in
    cyberspace: A social work imperative for the new millennium.
    Journal of Evidence Based Practice, 3, 91-102.
    McNutt, J. G., & Boland, K. M. (1999). Electronic advocacy by
    non-profit organizations in social welfare policy. Non-profit and
    Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 28, 432-451.
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    framework for action. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
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    Final Project Milestone 1: Identification of a Social Problem
    Walden University
    SOCW 6361: Social Policy: Analysis and Advocacy
    December 12th, 2021
    Food security can be defined as the condition in which people cannot access enough food
    for their daily consumption. These can be caused by natural disasters such as drought and
    conflicts. It can lead to psychological effects such as anger on the victims. The populations
    vulnerable to this social problem are at the lowest point in the income circulation, especially
    those who lack jobs and the disabled. People earning low incomes cannot afford food hence go
    hungry and thirsty. Food insecurity mainly affects groups such as people living in remote areas,
    small children who live in poor conditions, African Americans living in the United States, and
    other parts of the world. People from Latin are also vulnerable to social problems.
    Historical background of food insecurity
    It is reported that in 1970 there was an eruption of food crisis. That is after the president
    of the United States of America realized that hunger was highly increasing among the residents
    of the United States. That is also after the Second World War, where different approaches in
    agriculture commenced. After the rising prices of oil in the 1970s, Henry (US secretary) is
    believed to be the one who named food security. He worked under President Richard Nixon,
    realizing the emanating global challenge and pandemic caused by inadequate food within the
    region. In the 1960s, hunger cases in the United States became more profound. In 1980 the
    president of the United States of America introduced a task force called food assistance as they
    tried to bring to halt this pandemic. That invented the use of vocabularies such as poverty and
    unemployment. Those food insecurity programs endorsed by the United States marked the onset
    of realization and fight against food insecurity (Washington, 2019).
    Change in population faced by food insecurity
    Food security impacted a lot of negative effects on the population that faced this global
    issue. Food insecurity led to a change in the mode of living of these people affected. It reduced
    the standards of living of these people. That is because the people suffered psychological hunger,
    stress, and malnutrition. Among children, it led to a high increase in malnutrition-related
    diseases. The diseases erupted and were widespread between children and different
    Communities, leading to modalities. These food-related diseases such as marasmus became a
    growing threat in the lives of young children. Lack of food also leads to migration of these
    populations affected. It also led to agricultural businesses’ implementation to cater to their needs.
    This population used fertilizers and seeds to grow crops that would sustain them, I.e., and They
    became farmers. It also led to the growth of ill conditions like diabetes and hypertension (PayneSturges et al., 2018).
    Food insecurity incompatibility with social work values
    Decision problem known as food insecurity causes major social workers’ values failure.
    That is because the social problem is the major cause of the vulnerable population in society. It is
    logical that when someone does not take enough food to sustain their living, the weekend I’ve
    been weak and unable to participate in social works. Food insecurity can also lead to the eruption
    of criminal activities such as theft of goods and robbery. The criminals involved in these
    activities are people trying to get their daily Bread after going several hungry nights. That
    hinders social values and ethics in society. To work, they need to take food which is necessary
    for energy-giving frequently. Once this food becomes scarce and inadequate, it will lead to
    incapable people lacking the necessary labor for use in social works. These criminal cases prove
    that food insecurity leads to a decline in social values and ethics.
    Steps to identify suitable policy
    Essential steps are needed to develop policies that will help overcome these social
    problems of food insecurity. Every community member needs to be educated on the importance
    of not wasting food. Education is critical and essential in ensuring that food insecurity is
    eliminated. The following steps are necessary when developing the policies; educating the
    community on food security causes, effects, and dangers. Some regulations to ensure that no
    food is wasted need to be installed. Incorporating different people and the government to manage
    food insecurity is another step in developing the policy. The government needs to lessen the
    policies for everyone to make them fair to everyone. Issuing seeds and fertilizer to different
    Farmers and encouraging them to practice farming on a different type of crop is another step in
    making these policies. The policy needs to be amended as part of the government’s regulations so
    that everyone has to follow them to the latter (Loopstra et al., 2019).
    Washington, K. N. (2019). Using a rule-driven race equity reform approach to mitigate the
    effects of America’s history of racism on food insecurity. Professional agricultural
    workers journal, 7(3).
    Payne-Sturges, D. C., Tjaden, A., Caldeira, K. M., Vincent, K. B., & Arria, A. M. (2018).
    Student hunger on campus: Food insecurity among college students and implications for
    academic institutions. American Journal of Health Promotion, 32(2), 349-354.
    Loopstra, R., Reeves, A., & Tarasuk, V. (2019). The rise of hunger among low-income
    households: an analysis of the risks of food insecurity between 2004 and 2016 in a
    population-based study of UK adults. J Epidemiol Community Health, 73(7), 668-673.
    Policy Review
    Walden University
    SOCW 6361: Social Policy: Analysis and Advocacy
    December 29, 2021
    Policy Review
    This past March, The Election Integrity Act of 2021, a historical voting policy, was
    developed in Georgia. This policy was developed by lawmakers as they desired change, which
    was election reform. This was primarily prompted by the historic election cycle experienced in
    Georgia as well as the rest of the United States. During elections, Republicans lost unexpectedly
    regardless of Georgia’s historic stronghold with the Republican Party. However, during this time
    Democrats carried the majority of votes. Therefore, Georgia’s state legislature was impacted by
    this voting policy. Governor Kemp signed the law in March which entailed various changes to
    the Georgia’s voting practices moving forward. Ultimately, Georgia’s voting policy sought
    control of the election processes moving forward in the state.
    Social Problem(s) Addressed in the Policy
    There are several problems stemming from Georgia’s voting policy to include voting, as
    well as election processes. Several irregularities in voting were experienced in Georgia such as
    the voting window for mail ballots was extended by allowing up to six months prior to the
    election day for voters to request mail in ballots (Georgia General Assembly, 2021). This
    extended window of time created space for election fraud. Additionally, there was multiple
    voting ballots among some voters. Furthermore, the policy added days for voters in rural areas.
    Social workers through the standards of NASW ethics, would have ethical concerns with the
    irregularities and illegalities of this voting process which can lead to harmful conflict. The
    conflict may escalate to actual conflict where people are injured, and others are displaced.
    Because of this, social workers need to be engage in conflict resolution for the purpose of
    providing ongoing care to populations affected (Bawn et al., 2019). Furthermore, disputes
    regarding the election process are detrimental as they cause tension which disrupts social,
    political, and economic order. Social workers should worry about all the systems affected due to
    this conflict. Additionally, Georgia’s voting policy creates issues with voter access while the
    policy allows access to some of Georgia’s residents and yet greatly reduces the access to others
    (Bartels, 2016). Due to this the policy has become controversial since the policy impacts positive
    increases to voter access and yet restricts access to voters residing in rural areas of the state
    (Bawn et al., 2019). Ultimately the negative impacts outweigh the positives as minorities are
    further oppressed through this policy.
    Population Impacted by the Policy
    The new voting policy affects only a small part of Georgia’s 7.4 million voters and while
    the policy unifies election processes it still negatively impacts minorities (Bawn et al., 2019).
    The policy lowers voter turnout in minority groups of African Americans as well as the Latinex
    communities in Georgia. Therefore voter suppression is an ongoing problem due to this policy
    (Bartels, 2016). The restrictions developed by the policy includes the ability for minorities to
    exercise their democratic right to vote. Markedly, it requires the voters to have IDs which is a
    requirement that directly affects minority groups. Therefore, this policy creates further barriers
    with groups of Americans who are already systemically oppressed. The Georgia voting policy
    eliminates the use of signatures in confirming the voter’s identities. The Georgia voting policy
    takes the minorities’ population into consideration. Immigrants in the U.S. have a history of
    discrimination. The Georgia lawmakers knew that the immigrants in Georgia having IDs are few.
    The law would bar the minorities from registering as voters which further secures the historic
    Republican stronghold of the state.
    Summary of the Excerpt from the Policy that Needs Change
    Stricter ID measures can help to control voter fraud. Reports of people voting multiple
    times was reported. Therefore, the policy requires presentation of ID while voting (Bawn et al.,
    2019). The second strength is that the policy allows various identification documents to include a
    state issues photo ID, drivers license as well as a voter identification card (Georgia General
    Assembly, 2021). A voter can lack one document but have the alternative therefore more people
    are eligible to vote. Nonetheless, change is needed in this policy provision since a large
    population of immigrants doesn’t have any of these essential documents.
    The policy limitations include discriminatory practices with oppressed populations of
    Americans. Once the policy increases voter access to some people, it reduces voter access to
    other people (Bawn et al., 2019). Hence, the policy creates disparity. On expanding voting, the
    policy adds a voting day to people in rural counties. Additionally, the policy provides multiple
    drop boxes during an election (Georgia General Assembly, 2021). Certainly, this will ensure that
    more people vote. Limitations of the policy include eliminating mail in ballots.
    This is a challenge to people who cannot be able to vote physically. Moreover, the policy
    disfranchises minority voters. In alleviating the voter access problem with minorities, I would
    recommend the removal of the voter ID requirement as this change should be suspended until all
    Georgian voters have required documentation.
    Public policies are created to address root social issues. Public policies should be
    equitable though sadly, the benefits of the Georgia Voting policy are not equitable. Minority
    groups are affected through the policy and lack of requirements without solution is presented.
    Ultimately, fairness should prevail in public policies.
    Bartels, L. M. (2016). Elections in America. The Annals of the American Academy of Political
    and Social Science, 667, 36-49.
    Bawn, K., DeMora, S. L., Dowdle, A., Hall, S., Myers, M. E., Patterson, S., & Zaller, J. (2019).
    Policy voting in U.S. House primaries. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties,
    29(4), 533-549.
    Georgia General Assembly. (2021). SB 202: Election Integrity Act of 2021.
    Final Project Milestone 2: Issue Statement and Identification of a Policy
    Walden University
    SOCW 6361: Social Policy: Analysis and Advocacy
    December 26, 2021
    Issue Statement
    Social Problem
    Food insecurity is a big problem in many communities across the globe as it results from
    many factors. The production of crops and animals is the primary food source for human beings.
    However, several factors limit food production, including drought and changing climatic
    patterns, floods, pests invasion, diseases, and wildfires. It is further necessary to understand that
    most of the world’s population purchases food from farmers and other food vendors. The urban
    dwellers are the most affected by this trend as they need money to purchase food for their daily
    survival. However, a large portion of the urban population are low-income earners and
    significantly struggle to afford food. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey, food insecurity affects Latinos and Black Americans instead of Whites (Myers &
    Painter, 2017). It is necessary to establish the connection between ethnicity and food security.
    Critical Reasons for Advocating for Change
    There is a need to advocate for the policy on food security since it harms the children and
    deprives the adults of the energy needed for their daily activities. Food is a vital requirement that
    every individual should access. When children get malnourished due to food insecurity, they are
    likely to contract several diseases that might become fatal when they fail to receive the prompt
    intervention. Food insecurity also leads to several criminal activities such as theft as people
    become violent in searching for food. Hatred among different communities might also arise
    when one feels that the other is responsible for their suffering. Policies targeting intervention on
    food insecurity are likely to create cohesion in the society and develop a healthy population with
    low crime rates (Myers & Painter, 2017).
    What Happens Upon Achieving the Goal?
    Upon realization of the goal to alleviate food insecurity, the world will have a healthy
    population free from various illnesses that arise from malnutrition. Many people, especially
    children, develop various diseases due to malnutrition. Besides, some hungry individuals might
    steal from their neighbors to access food. Such behavior raises the rates of crime and leads to an
    insecure society. Upon realizing food security, society will be secure with low crime rates. The
    children will also be free from diseases as healthy eating boosts the immunity of humans. There
    will be a happy society where people love each other and interact positively. The government
    will also have an item of reduced expenditure on the health sector as the need for treatment and
    hospitalization will reduce due to a healthy society.
    The Policy
    The selected policy is by state statute and not local statute. There is a need for a healthy
    nation, and the local statute might only consider a small region of the country and leave the rest
    in the same state that has significantly affected their health. However, the state statute has for a
    long time considered the agricultural subsidies while giving little consideration to the food
    policy. Therefore, the policy has provided a significant percentage of the subsidies for the food
    products consumed mainly by animals or used to produce fuel such as corn (Loopstra, Reeves, &
    Tarasuk, 2019).
    How the Policy Address the Issue Statement
    Most of these agricultural products only produce junky foods that further lead to health
    complications. Hence, there is a need for a food policy that promotes healthy food products.
    Different Components of the Policy
    The food policy addresses agricultural production in general. A clause subsidizes the
    large-scale production of various agricultural products, including food components such as corn.
    The policy further advocates for healthy eating that requires the citizens to consume many
    vegetables and fruits to have a healthy body.
    How the Current Policy has been in place
    The current policy has tried to promote agricultural production instead of focusing on
    access to healthy foods. Despite the current subsidies on agricultural production, most Americans
    continue to lack food while others can only afford unhealthy foods that further endanger their
    The Period in which the policy has been in place
    The food policy has been in place for several decades. It started before the Obama
    administration. However, there have been various amendments to the food policy, which have
    not yielded many results.
    Who Supports or Opposes the Current Food Policy
    The nutritionists have opposed the food policy that provides subsidies on agricultural
    production without researching its impact on modern society. The government needs to promote
    healthy eating by ensuring the population access healthy foods. However, the policy that
    promotes food products such as corn while leaving the vegetables and fruits is unhealthy. It
    ensures that the population only access unhealthy food products while finding healthy ones quite
    expensive to access (Loopstra, Reeves, & Tarasuk, 2019).
    The Amendments
    They have been various amendments to the food policy, such as those specifying the
    percentage of various food components that people should consume. However, there has been
    little effort in its implementation. Therefore, the proposed food policy should emphasize the
    production of healthy foods so that every citizen can stay healthy.
    How the Policy Affects Clients
    Finally, it is evident from the current policy that it promotes the production of animal
    foods and junky foods for human consumption. Hence, people will continue to eat more animal
    products since they are produced cheaply. However, animal products such as meat and chicken
    plus junky foods always lead to obesity. Hence, the patients visiting healthcare centers are likely
    to suffer from obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure (Washington,
    2019). Besides, malnourished children are likely to develop illnesses such as kwashiorkor or
    marasmus. Although healthy eating is the most appropriate solution, these diseases can be fatal
    and lead to early deaths. Hence, as a social worker, it is necessary to advocate for change in the
    food policy to ensure that every citizen accesses healthy meals at affordable prices. The most
    significant barrier to healthy food has been poor food policy that promotes the production of
    unhealthy foods while making the healthy foods highly unaffordable to many citizens.
    Loopstra, R., Reeves, A., & Tarasuk, V. (2019). The rise of hunger among low-income
    households: an analysis of the risks of food insecurity between 2004 and 2016 in a
    population-based study of UK adults. Journal of Epidemiology and Community
    Health, 73(7), 668–673.
    Ana McCormick Myers, A. McCormick Myers, & Matthew A. Painter II, M. A. Painter II.
    (2017). Food insecurity in the United States of America: an examination of race/ethnicity
    and nativity. Food security, 9, 1419-1432. doi: 10.1007/s12571-017-0733-8
    Washington, K.N. (2019).Using a rule-driven race equity reform approach to mitigate the effects
    of America’s history on racism and food insecurity. Professional agricultural workers

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