If You Want to Analyze a Policy …
In the first chapter of this book, we stressed that every form of social work practice embodies a social policy. Twelve chapters later, does what we have learned confirm this statement?
To answer this question, consider the human service jobs you have had in the past and what you are doing now in your school field placement. Picture the kind of social work you hope to do in the future. In all these settings, most of your clients probably got help from the income support programs detailed in chapter 8. Some may participate or hope to participate in the job training programs analyzed in chapter 9. If they are not actually homeless, they may still have the housing problems that chapter 10 addresses or face the health issues discussed in chapter 11. Perhaps the most desperately poor among them are even experiencing hunger, which chapter 12 described.
A look at this list supports one of our most basic contentions: no matter how hard you worked before, it always helps to learn about social welfare policies because they frame the social problems your clients face and pay you to do your job.
Learning about social welfare policy, we have repeatedly encountered five cardinal themes. The first is the premise that because practice embodies pol- icy, knowledge about policy is essential to ensure that our practice is conscious and informed. We need this knowledge to solve problems for our clients, to maintain our own job satisfaction, and to participate as members of the social