Social Work Policy Institute Publications


The Social Work Policy Institute examines issues that relate to the work of social workers, including how to serve people who have multiple or complex needs and how public agencies and other structures deliver health and human services. Current issues such as health care reform, health care disparities, and the relevance of the global economy to the social work profession, as well as issues relating to how evidence­-informed practices will be investigated. SWPI calls upon researchers, practitioners, consumers, providers, and payers to help fill a gap in the profession by examining important issues and asserting social work’s contributions. 

Featured SWPI Publication:  Maximizing Social Work's Policy Impact In A Changing Political Landscape

A Policy Practice Summit, Maximizing Social Work’s Impact in a Changing Political Landscape, hosted by the NASW Social Work Policy Institute and sponsored by the Coalition for Policy Education and Practice, took place at NASW national headquarters in April 2017. The goals of the summit were to strengthen attention to the role of social workers as policy practitioners, to highlight opportunities for partnerships between advocacy organizations and social work education programs, and to identify action steps for sustaining greater attention to policy and policy practice into the future.

Provided here are:

Representatives from local, state, and national advocacy organizations and think tanks, social work education programs and NASW Chapters joined with leaders of social work organizations to pursue the summit goals through presentations and small group discussions. The Action Steps focus on what NASW, the Council On Social Work Education (CSWE) and other social work organizations can do; what advocacy organizations and think tanks can do; and what social work education leaders, faculty, and students can do.  We hope that social work leaders, practitioners, policy makers, educators, and students will work together to achieve the recommendations, and enhance the influence, and the policy savvy of the social work profession.

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The Social Work Policy Institute works to strengthen social work’s voice in public policy deliberations, inform policymakers through the collection and dissemination of information on social work effectiveness. For comprehensive information about its publications and activities please visit the SWPI website.


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The Social Work Ethics and Law Institute (SWELI) is a center within the NASW Foundation. SWELI was created by the NASW Legal Defense Fund to enhance social workers’ understanding and knowledge of legal and ethical issues affecting the social work profession.  Please visit SWELI on the NASW website.


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In Episode 6, NASW Social Work Talks Podcast features Joan Levy Zlotnik, PhD, ACSW, Social Work Policy Institute Director from 2009-2018. Tune in for a discussion about how public policy is an important part of social work and how social workers are working to shape policy.