8.2 discussion: social problems and policies | Field Placement


Getting Started

This activity builds on Workshop Seven. You will continue to identify the social context within which your field agency operates, being mindful of social problems that affect the client population and social policies in the legislative process that may have a positive or negative effect on your clients. You will begin this work by reading Chapter 7 of The Social Work Practicum, followed by reviewing the NASW Code of Ethics to gain a better understanding of social workers’ responsibility to the greater society. Next, you will complete specific research surrounding current policies and proposed legislation that would impact your client population(s) and present your findings to your classmates.


  • Textbook: The Social Work Practicum: A Guide and Workbook for Students
  • Textbook Citing:   

Garthwait, C. (2019). The social work practicum (8th ed.). USA: Pearson Education, INC.

  • Web Article: NASW Code of Ethics
  • Web Article Link: https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Background Information

Through this process, students will be exposed to the diversity of human service agencies, services, clientele, and social policy perspectives. You are also likely to find that you and your classmates differ on some perspectives when it comes to social problems and potential resolutions. Knowing about and empathizing with your practice population and being able to share and describe your population and their experiences are important skills as a social worker. Similarly, skills such as assessing your agency’s services with a critical and innovative thought process; discussing your ideas with colleagues; and garnering your colleagues’ feedback are important in social work practice. Finally, a professional discussion that allows for and encourages different perspectives and ideas is also essential.


  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. In your textbook, The Social Work Practicum: A Guide and Workbook for Students, read Chapter 7, “The Social Policy Context of Practice.”
  3. Review the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, paying particular attention to Section 6.04, which discusses that social workers have a responsibility to the broader society.
  4. On the NASW website, or another reliable source, locate a state or federal policy that is in some stage of the legislative process and may impact the client populations with which you currently work at your practicum.
  5. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following discussion questions:
    1. Which policy or proposed legislation did you identify that impacts or could potentially impact client populations with which you currently work? Select at least one and identify what type of policy it is from Table 7.1 in your textbook.
    2. Also use Table 7.1 in your textbook to evaluate the policy. Identify and describe the policy’s approach to each item listed; goals, value base, assumptions, funding, eligibility, human rights base and social benefits.
    3. Discuss whether you think the policy will be effective in achieving its goals if implemented and explain why or why not.
    4. Explain at least one potential unintended consequence, good or bad that you think this policy might have.
  6. Your initial post is due by the end of the fourth day of the workshop.
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