Policymaking Opportunities for Direct Practice Social Workers in Mental Health and Addiction Services

Thomas J. Powell, Eve Garrow, Michael R. Woodford, Brian Perron


Direct practice social workers have potentially significant policymaking opportunities as mediators of top-down policy and as creators of policy where none exists. The power they possess stems from their ‘on the ground’ expertise and the discretion available to them in making practice decisions. By understanding their power as “street-level bureaucrats” they can significantly improve policy. Drawing on policy issues in mental health and addictions services, this article illustrates how social workers can use their power in an ethically sensitive manner to enhance policy outcomes for clients.


Policymaking, social policy, direct practice, mental health services, addiction services, social work education

Full Text:


Copyright (c)


Indiana University School of Social Work
902 West New York Street
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 46202
Voice: 317.274.6705
FAX: 317.274.8630
TDD/TTY: 317.278-2050

Indiana University - Quality Education. Lifetime Opportunities.
Last updated: November 20, 2007
Comments: iussw@iupui.edu
Copyright 2007, The Trustees of Indiana University
Content ©2007 IUSSW