Jane Hayes, PhD, LMSW, ACSW

2009
The influence of advocacy groups and political opportunity on the passage of social work licensure in Michigan

My dissertation was a case study of the passage of Social Work Licensure in Michigan, MI PA 61 of 2004. The research examined the variables that influenced passage of the policy from 1990-2004. The literature theorized that it was the alignment and activities of advocacy groups coupled with a political opportunity that resulted in the passage of the policy.

Interviews were conducted with 21 representatives of groups in support and opposition as well as public officials. The variables examined for their influence on the passage of the legislation included the election of a new governor, the alignment and activities of groups, organizations and public officials in support and opposition, the event of the transfer of social work regulation from the Michigan Occupational Code to the Michgan Public Health Code, and public understanding of the issue. The study concluded that it was the alignment and the activity of the advocacy groups and the election of a new governor, Jennifer Granholm, which produced its passage.

The research is useful for social workers interested in policy practice and the influence of advocacy groups and political mobilization on policy change. Also, the research provides practical guidelines for other occupations interested in attaining professional licensure.