This week, you read about the start of the formal U.S. welfare system in the post-Civil War era, as the U.S. government took on more and more responsibility for aid. That government responsibility continues today in current public welfare programs, and it is often debated at public meetings.
As a social work student, you can learn a great deal from how these meetings are conducted, specifically: What kinds of policy issues are being discussed today, and how do governmental bodies resolve these issues? How are these issues presented and advocated by the populace? For this Assignment, you will be a “fly on the wall” observing the proceedings of a meeting in your area.
Attend a public meeting that addresses a social welfare-related issue. Examples include school boards, local government council meetings, Congressional hearing, or public hearings. If you are unsure if your choice is appropriate, check with your Instructor.
- State the title of the meeting and its date, time, and location. Attach the agenda of the meeting.
- Explain the purpose of the meeting, and describe the attendees (for example, a school board meeting on bullying policies with parents, teachers, and counselors in attendance).
- Explain the policy or policies discussed at the meeting. What social injustices or discrimination did you observe? What problems and solutions were discussed?
- Describe the overall discussion in the meeting. Were the leaders willing to work with the attendees in resolving the problems? Did the attendees feel heard? What were the communication styles of the leaders and the attendees?
- Describe how the meeting ended. Were the attendees satisfied with the meeting?
- What are the advocacy needs of this group? Did they stay after the meeting to discuss among themselves?
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