Advocacy Be Not Forsaken! Retrospective Lessons from Welfare Reform

Lens, Vicki A.; Gibelman, Margaret

This article reviews the often uneven and sometimes peripheral role of advocacy as a social work function and explores its current relevancy in regard to agency practices, ethical mandates, and the "person-in-environment" orientation of social work practice. Welfare reform (in which Aid to Families with Dependent Children [AFDC] was abolished in 1996 and replaced with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF]) is presented as a case example of both a failed opportunity to influence the course of public debate, and a means to provide the potential benefits of advocacy when it is systematically applied and integrated as part of an overall organizational approach to services. Generalized principles are then drawn from the case study as they apply to advocacy practice with vulnerable populations.


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Families in Society

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Academic Units
Social Work
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October 16, 2012