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Social Change

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social change through the use of advocacy

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Advocacy might conjure images of speaking at a congressional hearing or soliciting petition signatures at library entrances. Yet, social workers engage in advocacy as an agent of social change in numerous ways. The scenarios presented in this week’s introduction are examples of three types of advocacy:

o   Case advocacy—When a social worker addresses the lack of services, or resources at the micro level, educates the client about available resources and programs, or fights for clients’ rights.

o   Legislative advocacy—When a social worker addresses a policy gap at the macro level, and provides information and suggestions to legislators, in order to close that gap.

o   Community advocacy—When a social worker represents the needs of a community at the mezzo level by engaging in group-oriented activities, such as holding a town meeting to educate the neighborhood about a particular issue they are facing.

Another type of advocacy, not represented by the earlier scenarios, is agency advocacy. For example, you might conduct agency advocacy as a social worker when you identify a gap in services at your agency and pursue additional services for a particular population the agency serves. Or, you might pursue a change in current policy that you deem to be unfair to some of your clients.

How do you envision becoming an agent of social change through the use of advocacy?

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