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For some, 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:
• 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
• 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
• 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
Reflecting as a social worker, what are the benefits to engaging in an act of advocacy? Are there risks associated with being an advocate? Do the risks ever outweigh the need to advocate for what is just? Throughout this term, you
have been asked to engage in an act of advocacy.
For this Discussion, you will reflect on the advocacy in which you engaged and discuss both risks and values related to advocacy.
Post a response to the following:
• Describe the advocacy in which you engaged this term.
• Explain how the concepts from this week’s resources apply to the act of
advocacy in which you engaged.
• Describe potential risks that you considered or that may exist for a social
worker who serves as an advocate.
Respond to two colleagues:
• Explain how social work ethical values relate to advocacy.
• Describe how you might make decisions about when and where to engage in
advocacy based on the risks your colleague identified.
Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2018). Empowerment series: Understanding generalist practice (8th ed.). CENGAGE Learning.
• Chapter 14, “Advocacy” (pp. 544–570)