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Social Workers as Game Changers

Social Workers as Game Changers
Confronting Complex Social Issues Through Cases

First Edition

February 2017 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Designed to promote active, hands-on learning, this unique book is composed of 11 chapter-length case studies that prepare students to address the types of challenging social issues they will encounter as practicing social workers. The cases—covering topics from immigration, gangs, and education to race, mental health, and end-of-life care—illustrate the interrelationship between the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and facilitate not just recall of facts, but also higher-level learning. Each case allows students to confront realistic scenarios as they evaluate, analyze, and synthesize information, resulting in more engaged and informed classroom discussions.

About the Author
Chapter 1: Understanding the Complexities, Costs, and Benefits Surrounding Immigration Policy: Tough Decisions for Families and Policy Makers
Chapter 2: Community Organizing Concepts and Principles: Rebuilding Holyoke From the Ground Up
Chapter 3: Achieving Racial Equality: Education, Housing, Health, and Justice . . . A Long Way to Go
Chapter 4: End-of-Life Care, Costs, Concerns, and Conflict: Too Much of the Wrong Kind of Care?
Chapter 5: Mental Illness: Community Supports and Community Dilemmas
Chapter 6: Perplexing Challenges in Child Protective Services: Life on the Front Line
Chapter 7: Society’s Evolving Understanding of Chemical Addiction and the Subsequent Changes in Policy and Treatment Approaches: The Struggle to Stay Clean
Chapter 8: Understanding the Draw of Gangs, Consequences for Neighborhoods, and Determining an Effective Response: The North Side Crew
Chapter 9: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and NIMBY: Is There a Win-Win Solution?
Chapter 10: Homelessness and the Housing First Debate: Wrestling With the Issues
Chapter 11: Examining the Elementary and Secondary Education System in the United States and One Family’s Dilemma: Fight or Flight

Social Workers as Game Changers by Laura Lewis is outstanding – I had high expectations and it exceeded all of them. The cases are current and very well developed. I will definitely be using it through all of my Practice courses.

Gayle Mallinger
Western Kentucky University
Key features


  • Realistic cases with engaging fictional stories prepare students for the types of issues and situations they will confront in their social work careers.
  • A foundational section midway through each case provides critical background information needed to better understand relevant social issues so students are prepared to consider the dilemmas from an informed position.
  • Discussion questions challenge students to think critically about vital issues, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of competing solutions, explore policy alternatives, and grapple with realities such as the unintended consequences of any decision.
  • A critical analysis writing assignment accompanying each case requires students to demonstrate an understanding of the issue, take a stand on it, and back up their position with evidence from the case. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

Chapter 7

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