Sociology Policy Assignment

Select a recent federal or state bill or policy that addresses child welfare, health care, public assistance, mental health services, services to people with disabilities, aging, immigration, or another social welfare issue of interest to you. Identify legislators, organizations, groups, and committees that have worked on the bill or issue or are currently working on the issue(s) or in the field the bill addresses. Become familiar with the bill and related proposals to modify/amend the bill or replace it with other legislation. Investigate the bill’s background and legislative history. Conduct a literature review and identify scholarly references and other reports or studies that address the bill and provide evidence about potential consequences of the bill. Seek the opinions or positions of those with various views on the issue and determine which groups and individuals (e.g., state legislators, professional groups, citizen advocacy groups) support, oppose, or are neutral on the issue and their rationale, including any evidence they believe supports their position.

It may help to approach this project by thinking of yourself as a policy analyst employed by a social welfare agency (governmental or private) or a think tank, an aide working for a state legislator, or a staff member of a legislative committee. In any case, your job is to educate others about the bill and the issue it addresses and provide reasons for supporting, opposing, or remaining neutral on the bill.

Written Analysis (15 points) – Students will write a 4-page policy brief. The policy brief should be a clear and easy-to-read description of the identified problem and social policy solution. It should aim to convince a specific audience of the urgency of the problem and will propose a policy alternative or recommendation. Sample policy briefs are available in the Canvas folder Files, under Policy Analysis Project.

The brief should include the following components:

· Statement of the problem
· Overview/description of bill or policy – aim, background, status
· Analysis of potential impacts of the bill/policy
· Policy recommendations
· References/citations of sources
The following questions may help you lay out the framework and basic content of your policy brief:

1. What is the aim of the policy brief? This may include a statement of the problem the policy attempts to address.
2. Who is your audience? What is the best hook for the audience?
3. What background information does the audience need?
4. What data are most important to include for your audience? How will you present the data so it best conveys its message (e.g., in text, bar graph, line graph)?
5. What are the policy options?
6. Who are the relevant stakeholders and what are their perspectives on the bill/policy?
7. What recommendations will you make?
Format: The goal of a policy brief is to engage an audience and inform and/or persuade that audience to take a specific stance or action. Given that, the strict APA paper format may not be the most appropriate format. For this policy brief, you have more freedom in terms of how you present the information. Please see the policy brief samples in Canvas for ideas about how others have presented information. You will still need to cite resources you draw from, and you can do this using endnotes or footnotes to save space. You can still use APA in that endnote list.

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