Historical analysis of the implementation of federal policy: A case study of accessing Title IV-E funds to support social work education
AuthorZlotnik, Joan Levy
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AbstractSocial work education programs are currently accessing Title IV-E training funds to prepare social workers for child welfare, but this funding source existed for almost ten years before it was broadly use. Using a retrospective, longitudinal case study methodology, this study developed a multi-dimensional analytical framework to examine the extent to which the enabling legislation, the policy goals and objectives, federal regulations, clearly defined beneficiary population, role of administrators and their technical competence, causal theory, adequacy of resources, organization structure and process, and political issues are factors in the implementation process. The case study included an extensive review of the literature surrounding the passage of the Child Welfare and Adoption Assistance Act of 1980, which includes Title IV-E; interviews with current and former federal staff Congressional staff and national organizations' representatives; and analysis of policy documents. Findings indicate that to understand the implementation of federal policy one should examine the interplay and communication of all of the stakeholders and the changes in political, economic and social forces overtime. When Title IV-E was created little attention was paid to it because other funding sources were available to educate social workers for child welfare careers. The Reagan Administration brought new approaches that resulted in funding cutbacks and limited technical assistance. At the same time national organizations stopped advocating for training. Vague enabling legislation, vague regulations, variations in interpretation of policy, limited support for requirements that child welfare workers should be professionally trained social workers and the lack of expertise of federal and state staff are all interrelated factors that contributed to difficulties in implementation. This research suggests that in order to obtain or maintain federal support for social work education there is an on-going need to study policy implementation; to understand the differences between entitlement and grant programs; to develop partnerships with states; to develop outcome data about the "difference" professionally trained social workers can make; be familiar with all aspects of legislation; to create advocacy collaboratives that extend beyond the social work education community and to provide opportunities for networking and information exchange.
DescriptionUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore. Social Work. Ph.D. 1998
KeywordPolitical Science, General
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Social work education--United States