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Letter to a Legislator (2-3 pages typed – double spaced):
In your role as a social worker you must consider many important issues addressed by American social policy. These include poverty and public assistance, minimum wage and the working poor, civil rights and discrimination, substance abuse, affordable healthcare, training and employment, education and youth services.
You wish to influence and improve the policy process by writing a letter to a key legislator, representing your community, in hopes that policies and programs will better reflect your social work values and the Social Work Code of Ethics. Of course that presumes your familiarity with the Social Work Code of Ethics. You may find it here: WSSW – Policy NASW Code of Ethics (3)-1.pdfDownload WSSW – Policy NASW Code of Ethics (3)-1.pdf
Please identify a policy area or program that you think should be more responsive to community needs. It is probably best to select one that you care about strongly and that has a clear impact upon your clients and their communities.
Address your letter to an appropriate federal, state or local legislator, explaining the shortcomings of the program and suggesting ways to improve it. This person should be named, with a title (for example, Chair, Health Committee) and address. Ideally, this person should be matched to the issue, i.e. it should be within the power and purview of this legislator to promote the desired change.
In your address, legislators are called, “The Honorable [name].” You may use the Internet or other materials to select such a key legislator from your community. For example, the League of Women Voters website, www.lwv.org, (Links to an external site.) is a helpful resource for identifying legislators, including those who represent you.
In your letter you should:
Identify the problem area,
Identify who is impacted by the problem, especially within your community,
Propose a clear solution, e.g. a new or refined policy or program,
Back up your proposed solution with an argument as to why it will be beneficial,
Offer the opposing arguments you anticipate, and
Explain how you will respond to that opposition.
All this within 2-3 pages as they are not likely to read much more than that.
In completing this assignment you may use the textbook, other assigned reading materials, or class notes. You also may use other materials or websites to assist you. However, web encyclopedia, such as Wikipedia, Answers.com, or About.com are inappropriate for advanced graduate work. In addition, you are welcome, indeed encouraged to consult with classmates and colleagues, although you are each responsible for your own submissions.
This paper will incorporate –
Competency 3, Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic and Environmental Justice: 3A – Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice, 3B – Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice, and
Competency 5, Engaging in Policy Practice. As indicators of this competency, students will: 5A – Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being.