Policy Paper Part 2

My topic is Public Assistance

Students are required to submit the following parts of their paper by the above deadline: Description of Policy (Maximum of 3 pages) and Policy Analysis [Goals (Minimum of 2 pages), Political Feasibility (Minimum of 2 pages), Economic Feasibility (Minimum of 2 pages), and Administrative Feasibility.

Description of the Policy

Based on your study of the problem (or need), your critique of past societal policy/program response, and your own criteria for choice, describe clearly and defend your own proposal for a policy response to the issue. Include an explanation of how your proposal is different from or better than past or current policy responses. This should not be simply your hotly argued “opinion.” Refer to research and political arguments that demonstrate that your proposal would better meet certain social goals and values, and/or be more “palatable” to the American public.

How is the policy intended to work?

On what scientific theory and knowledge is the policy based?

What resources or opportunities is the policy expected to provide—e.g., power, cash, economic opportunity, in-kind services, status redistribution, goods and services, etc.?

Who will be covered by the policy and how-i.e., universal versus selective entitlement, means-testing, etc.?

How will the policy be implemented, including means for coordination?

What are the expected short- and long-term goals and outcomes of the policy?

Under what auspices will the policy be administered—i.e., public/private-not-for-profit/private-for-profit, local/state/federal government?

How will the policy be funded in the short- and long-term?

What agencies or organizations will be responsible for overseeing, evaluating and coordinating the policy?

What formal and informal criteria will be used to determine the effectiveness of the policy and its appropriateness?

How long is the policy projected to exist—is it a “sunset law”?

What recommendation for a new or amended position would you propose for consideration by national organizations?

Policy Analysis

This section should go beyond description and engage in systematic, critical analysis considering both values and ethical preferences and practical/technical concerns.


Are the goals of the policy legal? Are the goals just and democratic? Do the goals contribute to greater social equality? Do the goals positively affect the redistribution of income, resources, rights, entitlements, opportunities and status? Does the policy represent the continuation of or a departure

from the status quo? Is the policy intended to foster real social change or merely to placate a potentially insurgent group?

What social vision, if any, does the policy represent? Are the goals of the policy consistent with the values of professional social work—e.g., social justice, dignity and worth of the person, self-determination, client rights, respect for cultural and social diversity, etc.?

What are the hidden ideological suppositions hidden within the policy? How do dominant American values manifest themselves in relationship to this issue? How do competing or minority social values come into play in response to this issue?

How is the target population viewed in the context of the policy? How would the issue be defined or manifested differently if society looked at individual and family strengths, rather than focusing on deficits or deviance from social norms? Does the policy seem to ignore, impede, or strengthen the social functions of families? Do the goals contribute to a better quality of life for the target population? Will the goals adversely affect the quality of life of the target group? Does the policy contribute to positive social relations between the target population and the overall society?

What does research say about effectiveness of reaching stated goals and the actual outcomes of past or current policy approaches?

How is the policy politically feasible? Economically feasible? Administratively feasible?

Politically Feasibility

“Subjective assessment” (?)

Assess which groups will oppose or support a policy

Estimate constituency & power base of each group

Political viability is subject to the public’s perception-for a policy to be feasible it must be perceived feasible (public sentiment)

Economically Feasibility

Refers to direct or indirect funding

Ask on: funding needed for successful implementation

Does adequate funding exist

Estimate future funding needs

What is “Pay-go financing”?

Administratively Feasibility

Refers to the administrative & supervisory personnel, resources, skills & expertise needed to implement policy

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