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Social Work Resources: Policy Information

Advocacy from NASW

Visit the National Association of Social Workers website for analysis of policy and other advocacy resources. 

National Association of Social Workers Advocacy Resources

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Government Publications, Resources, and Statistics

The Federal Government offers a wealth of information for social workers, including statistics, research reports, committee hearing transcripts, and more.  For a complete guide to resources from the Federal Government, go to the guide

Federal Government Resources


Capitol, United States, Washington

Kansas Legislation

Finding pieces of policy passed by the Kansas Legislature takes a bit more digging. Here are a few tips for how to get started: 

1. To Identify appropriate legislation explore:

Kansas Legislature Homepage

includes bills from the current legislative session as well as Kansas Statutes (click on Statute) 

Kansas Legislative Research Department includes briefs and summaries of legislative activity and other topics of interest of Kansans.  Look at "Policy Issues" on the left side of the page.

Government information from the State Library of Kansas includes a link to reference librarians who can help you find answers to your Kansas legislative questions.

2. To read about hearings and congressional discussions explore Kansas newspapers:

Topeka Capital-Journal   

Kansas City Star

Newton Kansan

Wichita Eagle

Hutchinson News

If you find an article behind a paywall fill out the Interlibrary Loan Article Request Form found here to borrow the article from another library. Hit submit on the form and a librarian will be touch by email when the article is ready for use. 

Text of legislation

  • You can learn about policy/legislation, and find full-text versions of official policy, from a variety of sources:
    • Go straight to the source - Legislature records 
    • Google search
      • Keep an eye out for .gov resources!
    • Wikipedia
      • Can provide lots of good background and sources--but don't use Wikipedia as a "formal" source!
    • Social Work publications (i.e. Social Work Speaks)                  

Hammer, Libra, Dish, Justice, Law, Jurisdiction


Try these databases to find background information about policies and how laws are being implemented.
  • Social Work Abstracts
  • Academic Search Premier
  • Nexis Uni
  • Military & Government
  • is the official source for federal legislative information. On the main page, the default search is for current legislation. You can change the pull-down menu on the left to "All Legislation." Enter your keywords, topic, e.g., "mental health," "child nutrition," etc. On the results page, use the facets on the left to limit your search to specific Congresses and legislation type, e.g., "Status of Legislation."
  • Google.  Google searching can be very effective in learning about policies.  You can find the full text of many bills and laws by simply Googling.  You can also find references to committee hearings by simply searching the web.  Be alert for websites ending in .gov, for the information at US government websites is trustworthy and verifiable.

ProQuest Ebook Central (a large collection of electronic academic books) is also useful in finding background information on social welfare policy.  While Ebook Central books are in the library's book catalog (Voyager), it's best to go straight to the ProQuest interface to search for specific laws (because you can search all the text of the books in the ebrary collection.)

Congressional Hearings

Government Analysis/Research Reports

In response to requests from Congress, the Congressional Research Service issues publications that include background studies, pro/con arguments, policy/legislative analysis and legislative histories on subjects of interest to Congress. HINT: For Congressional Research Service reports you can do a Google search.  Type: your topic crs.  For example, homelessness crs

The  4 sites below are also very useful.

Searchable source of CRS reports-click the search link at the top of the page and enter "crs and your topic," Also, many relevant reports will be listed on the "Miscellaneous Topics" page.

Another searchable collection of Congressional Research Service Reports. We also have a microfilm collection of CRS reports-in the Library Catalog, enter the terms "congressional research service and your topic."

Searches of many sites that archive Congressional Research Service reports can be conducted on this site.

Congressional Research Service reports are the best way for anyone to quickly get up to speed on major political issues without having to worry about spin — from the same source Congress uses.

CRS is Congress’ think tank, and its reports are relied upon by academics, businesses, judges, policy advocates, students, librarians, journalists, and policymakers for accurate and timely analysis of important policy issues. The reports are not classified and do not contain individualized advice to any specific member of Congress. (More: What is a CRS report?)

Until today, CRS reports were generally available only to the well-connected.

Now, in partnership with a Republican and a Democratic member of Congress and library partners, we are making these reports available to everyone for free online and in one place.

Other important government resources follow below.

Googling federal legislation