Topic 8 Assignment: Develop a Policy Brief

Assessment Description

Use the attached “Topic 8 Benchmark Assignment” document to complete this assignment.

Refer to Social Work Disposition #12: Standard: Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society when completing the Propose Policy Change section of your Policy Brief.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.

GCU Benchmark Information

This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competency and professional standards:


3.1: Use knowledge of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels. [EPAS 3]

This assignment is informed by the following EPAS Standards:

3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

5: Engage in Policy Practice

SWK-520: Topic 8 Benchmark Assignment

Topic 8 Assignment: Develop a Policy Brief

What is a Policy Brief? Within the context of this course, a Policy Brief is defined as a concise summary of a particular social welfare policy, programmatic or service delivery issue. Policy Briefs vary in purpose, scope and length, and are typically aimed at government policymakers or others interested in reformulating or influencing a policy, program, or service delivery system. 


Using a template approved by your instructor, create a single-spaced, 2-page (double-sided) Policy Brief. Before preparing the brief, read the ICPA “Essential Guide to Writing a Policy Brief,” located in Class Resources. 

The Policy Brief is to be based on a concise, systematic analysis of a social welfare policy/program issue, covering eight analytic areas: 

  • Identify an important social welfare problem or policy issue in a local context
  • Articulate a vision of social change and states aims/objectives to achieve the vision of change
  •  Summarize historical context, current conditions, and key stakeholder needs/interests
  •  Summarize relevant policy or research trends on what has/hasn’t worked
  •  Critique current policy/program and projects future developments
  • Propose a policy or program alternative (or strategic direction) to achieve the envisioned change. Explain why this is the best of available options. Explain how the policy change can advocate for human rights and advance social, economic or environmental justice on behalf of individuals and communities affected by the policy/program.
  • Explain the purpose and potential benefits of conducting a formative and/or summative evaluation study or set of studies focused on the proposed policy alternative/option
  •  Provide recommendations for moving forward and a call for action 

The Policy Brief is to include three main components:

  • Executive summary
  • Main analytic content (as noted above)
  • Citations and list of references in APA format

The Policy Brief should be designed for a specific audience and call attention to the importance of addressing the identified social problem or policy issue. It should provide enough relevant material for the reader to understand the issue and feel compelled to take productive and meaningful action to achieve outcomes intended to benefit the specified target service population. 

The Policy Brief is to be written in clear, concise, audience-friendly language, with no grammatical, word choice, or spelling errors. 

The Policy Brief is to be engaging, visually appealing, and include relevant photos or visual images, cases or illustrative examples, data tables or charts, graphics, and/or sidebar summaries.

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