Respond to at least two colleagues with a description of whether you see social workers as being proactive or reactive in the policy arena. Describe what steps could be taken to enhance the influence of the social work profession in defining social problems and creating social policy. Provide two suggestions on how social workers can make the recommended changes to the policy that your colleague described.
Colleague 1: Ieshia
The event I chose was the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school. In December of 2012 20 children and 6 educators were gunned down inside the school. Our nation was heartbroken over this horrific event on our children. Gun safety advocates fought with the state to create stricter gun laws. After this incident, “there have been 210 laws enacted to strengthen gun safety” (Keneally, 2017, p. 1). Many of those changes included requiring background checks in some states and expanding the level of those checks in order states. There are people still fighting for federal legislation to create stricter gun policies.
As a mother of a young child I fear that this may happen again even after the new gun policies. I believe that there should be some type of mental evaluation done before a person is allowed to own a firearm. My reasoning being is a person can have a clean record but have ill intent or untreated mental illnesses. Which that has been the case for multiple terrorist attacks. Checking for criminal activities is not enough when it comes to own lethal weapons. As a social worker I believe mental evaluations would be beneficial. I’ve seen people who appear to have their life in order fall apart in therapy. People who are on the edge of doing something irreversible. Appearances and background checks are not enough when someone is fighting mental illnesses. When it comes to the safety of our children, I would rather be safe than sorry.
Keneally, M. (2017) How gun laws have changed in the 5 years since Sandy Hook. ABC NEWS.
Colleague 2: Chantea
Event: On September 11. 2001, 9/11 was an event that shaped the United States in many ways. On that day, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; this unfortunate attack cause almost 3,000 people to be killed (www.history.com).
Changes in the policies: This attack caused a lot to rethink on the safety and process of travel within the nation and internationally. Every September 11 anniversary prompts an examination of what has—or hasn’t—happened in the ongoing quest to make air travel safer (www.cnntraveler.com). Transportation Security Administration or TSA was created months after 9/11 to increase security and the safety of others while in the airport or traveling via airplane (www.farecompare.com). I agree with the changes that TSA has made and continue to make. Many changes have required travelers to remove pieces of clothing when going through security or put restrictions on what to bring or what to put in a carry on and personal bag. Although when traveling long lines and routine check ups can cause a headache, the safety of others is a priority.
Role of a Social Worker: As a Social Worker it is important to be knowledgeable on organizations that support and advocate for those individuals who need it. The September 11th Families’ Association supports victims of terrorism through communication, representation, and peer support (9/11families.org). This association is important because it allows the individual or families affected by 9/11 to meet others like them and allow them to be able to advocate for their families. As a Social Worker working alongside with this associations is important because of the mission and affect that they have on families that have been affected. Referring an individual to this association or to an organization similar, can make a huge impact on an individuals life and has the potential to cause improvement or change because of the positive relationships built.