Week 11:Advocacy

Week 11:Advocacy

Week 11:Advocacy. Sometimes it is the environment, not the individual, that needs to be changed. A core value of social work is social justice, and the code of ethics clearly outlines social workers’ responsibility to the broader society. Ensuring social justice means engaging in advocacy.

What does advocacy mean to you and how would you describe it? How do you perceive social work in terms of advocacy? There are many different ways of describing this term and many views on what actually constitutes advocacy.

Over the past 11 weeks, you have learned about generalist social work practice and have begun developing skills needed to implement the GIM with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The course ends with a Discussion on advocacy because changing a client system may be ineffective when that client exists within an environment that creates barriers to client success.

Learning Objectives

Week 11:Advocacy
Students will:
  • Analyze the importance of advocacy in social work
  • Analyze risk associated with social work advocacy
  • Analyze the role of advocacy in the social work code of ethics

Photo Credit: belenox / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty

Week 11:Advocacy

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2018). Understanding generalist practice (8th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

  • Chapter 14, “Advocacy” (pp. 544–570)

Document: Hoefer, R. (2016). Advocacy practice for social justice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (PDF)

  • Chapter 2, “Social Justice and Advocacy Practice” (pp. 23–42)

Advocacy Practice for Social Justice (3rd Ed.) by Hoefer, R. Copyright 2016 by Oxford University Press-Books (US & UK). Reprinted by Oxford University Press-Books (US & UK via the Copyright Clearance Center.)

Reamer, F. G. (2012). Eye on ethics: The moral imperative of social work advocacy. Social Work Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_012010.shtml

Belluomini, E. (n.d.). Using digital self-advocacy to empower social work populations. The New Social Worker. Retrieved March 17, 2018, from http://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/technology-articles/using-digital-self-advocacy-to-empower-social-work-populatio/

Week 11:Advocacy

Discussion: Advocacy

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.


Week 11:Advocacy

By Day 3


  • 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.


Week 11:Advocacy

By Day 6

Respond to two of your 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.

Submission and Grading Information

Week 11:Advocacy
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 11 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 11 Discussion

Week 11:Advocacy

Looking Ahead—Review and Next Steps

Congratulations! You have reached the end of your first 11-week course in the MSW program. Reflect back on the term. What will you do differently as you progress to the next course and term?

This course has provided foundational practice skills. To build on your learning for future courses, critically reflect on what you have learned in this course. How will you apply this knowledge as you continue in this program and learn about human behavior and the social environment, diversity, policy, and social work research?

When you enter the field and practice your skills within an agency setting, how will you have changed from the student in this course to become the advocate and social change agent your clients need?

Congratulations! After you have finished all of the assignments for this week, you have completed the course. Please submit your Course Evaluation by Day 7.




Week 11:Advocacy

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