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Four policy practice roles you might take on include testifying in court, lobbying, campaigning, or running for office.
Policy can be defined as making things happen. While you might think of social work as only advocacy, social workers can also engage in policy practice, which is essentially the practice of advocating for change on a larger level. Policy practice means proposing and working for social change. It might mean lobbying for new laws, or local policies, because as a social worker you are in a unique position with feet on the ground to see how laws affect the people. In other words, you can fight for social justice. Sometimes advocacy means moving beyond helping an individual. It can mean helping an entire group of people at once, by working for change in the form of new law. Laws can be made at the local, state, and federal level. If you run for office, you might even find yourself writing legislation someday.
As a social worker, you will find that you will get to see the same problems over and over again. You will start to see that these problems are systemic, and not unique to the individual. You will wonder what society can do to stop these problems. As you get older, you might even see the children, or the grandchildren, of people you have helped come through the system. Rather than get jaded and wonder where it will end, you can go beyond your role as an advocacy for one, and become an advocate for many. You can become a lobbyist and lobby the politicians for new laws to help those you work with. You can also campaign for laws or political candidates you think can help. Finally, you might even run for office yourself, to make the biggest difference possible.
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