“Social workers analyze, formulate, and evaluate policies that advance social well-being; and collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action” (CSWE Educational Policy (2015) Competency 5). Pursuant to this statement, select a governmental social welfare policy that is of relevance to rural populations and then analyze it using a theoretical framework of your choice. You must also develop a rural aspect to the policy. The paper should be written in APA style, using the “Six Step Policy Analysis” model outlined below as a guideline.
SIX STEP POLICY ANALYSIS
1) Understanding the problem in a rural context
2) Setting goals and defining criteria
3) Developing alternatives to meet the criteria
4) comparing alternatives and arriving at a policy decision that best fits rural contexts
5) Implementing the decision
6) Evaluating the results from a rural context
Step 1 – Understanding the problem from a rural context
State the problem meaningfully by collecting research and analyze the data
Determine the magnitude and extent of the problem from the following perspectives:
Continually re-define the problem in light of what is possible
Eliminate irrelevant material
Question the accepted thinking about the problem
Question initial formulations of the problem
Focus on the central, critical factors
Is it important? Is it unusual? Can it be solved?
Identify who is concerned, and why?
What power do concerned parties have?
Make a quick estimate of resources required to deal with the problem
Step 2 – Setting goals and defining criteria
What are the important policy goals, and how will they be measured?
Identify criteria central to the problem and relevant to the stakeholders
Formulate a good set of goals, values and objectives
Identify desirable and undesirable outcomes considering the following:
–Is there a rank order of importance among the criteria? What will be the rules for comparing alternatives?
–Costs and benefits
Step 3 – Developing alternatives to meet the criteria. One of which you create or develop (Consider at least two policies)
Consider the following:
–what the basic assumptions are
–how the alternative will work
–what interventions will be used;
–and what social science findings attest to their effectiveness
Consider the status quo, or no-action alternative
Consult with experts
Brainstorming, Scenario writing
Redefine the problem if necessary
Step 4 – Comparing alternative and arriving at a policy decision
Select appropriate methods and apply them correctly
Estimate expected outcomes, effects, and impacts of each policy alternative
Do the predicted outcomes meet the desired goals?
Can some alternatives be quickly discarded?
Continue in-depth analysis of alternatives that make the first cut. Use visual displays such as a matrix, charts and graphs, this will eliminate a long narrative
Choose a format for display to compare and contrast
strengths and weaknesses of each alternative
Describe the best and worst case scenario for each alternative (Use matrices, reports, lists, charts, scenarios, arguments)
Determine which is most effective
Easiest to implement
Step 5 -Implementing the decision
According to Bennis, Benne, and Chin (1985) in their classic book The Planning of Change three type of change strategies exist. Select one and discuss why it is the best. You may also want to use more than one.
—rational empirical strategyincludes the following characteristics:
–best data and best arguments
–rational people will embrace a better way to do things
–provides data and research
—normative reeducative strategy:
–operates on the idea that people resist things inconsistent with their world view
–resocialize to new world views
–reeducate to new policy and it’s benefits
—power coercive strategy
–forced to follow by authority or legal force
Step 6 – Evaluating the results
Design an ongoing monitoring system (Hoefer, 2012a)
Suggest strategy for policy evaluation
—fidelity assessment-was the policy implemented like the original plan
—formative evaluation (Scriven, 1991).-aims at making policies more effective; perfect the policy
—summative evaluation (Scriven, 1991)-aims to if policy works and what was responsible for the results. Summative looks at: effort, process, outcome, impact and cost effectiveness
Sources of Policy Statistics:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Health Statistics
National Center for Educational Statistics
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Election Commission
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