A policy brief is synthesized advocacy document that is used to highlight a problem and opportunities to address the issue. It is written to advance a set of policy solutions and/or specific legislation to address the issue. Policy briefs concisely describe a social problem, the impact on society, action taken to date to address the problem, key factors in decision-making, and recommended solutions. The recommended policy solutions may include passage of a particular piece of legislation or may outline factors to include in a new drive to create legislation. The audience for your policy brief is a group of social workers and social service organization executive directors attending a NASW conference.
Submit your final policy brief of 5 single-spaced pages or no more than 2,500 words (not including the reference page) on a piece of legislation or proposed legislation. Legislation may be related to any area of interest the social work profession including healthcare, veteran support, LGBTQIA+ rights, child welfare, climate change, etc. Your brief should be thoroughly researched, well-written, contain substantial information on the policy issue and your recommendations for addressing the issue, and be formatted for print distribution. Please use APA headings and sub-headings to distinguish sections in your brief. This assignment will serve as the foundation for the Advocacy Campaign assignment.
Be sure to write your brief in third person. Not in first person.
Title the policy brief in a way that relates to the content
Use 7th edition APA formatting of in-text citations, Title Page and References Page
Single-spaced 12-point font in the style of Times New Roman, Georgia, or Garamond
Use a professional narrative format (i.e. paragraphs with full sentences, no bullet points unless in the Executive Summary, no questions to the reader, avoid jargon language that is not translatable across audiences).
Stay within the page limit (5 pages) or no more than 2,500 words. The Executive Summary and References page(s) do not count toward the page and word limit guidelines.
Use a minimum of six peer-reviewed references outside your assigned reading, and four reputable “grey literature” sources. Ten total sources.
Submit the draft paper on Canvas by the due date as a .doc or .docx Microsoft Word document. Do not submit via Google Docs.
Address the following:
Executive Summary: Describe the brief in a 1-page executive summary (ES). The ES should include the elements described in the main body of your brief: A basic overview of the problem, recommended action, and key factors of your policy solutions. The ES should also include the title of your brief that takes up no more than 1/4 of your page.
Introduction: Define the main problem the brief is trying to address through policy change. The introduction should include the prevalence and characteristics of the population impacted. Set the scope of the issue and provide facts and figures about the problem using peer-reviewed research, government reporting, public polling, etc.
Background: Explain major historical policy precedents. For example, a policy to address food insecurity for children should address SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and free and reduced lunch school nutrition policies. What was successful or unsuccessful about those approaches, or describe how the problem has changed and requires a new approach.
Policy Options (if advocating for an issue) or Legislative Discussion (if advocating for a specific bill): PO: Provide detailed descriptions of macro intervention options that can be taken to address the problem through social policy initiatives. Address the anticipated impact of these options for the population impacted by the problem. Include a discussion of funding recommendations. LD: Detail major components of the bill, how it is funded, who will be tasked with implementation, and a timeline for implementation once passed.
Recommendations: Outline next steps for passage (i.e. pass a bill, draft a bill, amend a bill). Please include a discussion of stakeholders who should be involved in the process. State why this approach to the problem is the best approach.
Conclusion: Include a concluding paragraph or “call to action” for social workers.
Preparing a Policy Issue Brief https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/policy-briefs/ (Links to an external site.)
Writing Position Papers https://www.studygs.net/wrtstr9.htm (Links to an external site.)
Policy Briefs (UNC Chapel Hill) https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/policy-briefs/ (Links to an external site.)
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