About the Library
SW 440: Social Work Policy Analysis
Federal and State Government Resources for Social Work Policies
Are you a Distance Learner? Distance learners are those students registered for at least one NMU course which meets online-only or co-location or hybrid or off-campus/off-site, AND who are not residents of the NMU campus. This definition includes students registered for clinic, directed study, field experience, internship, practicum, study abroad, or graduate thesis/project/Continuous Enrollment Credit, AND who are not residents of the NMU campus. Register here.
Two publications that NMU subscribes to, both by Congressional Quarterly. CQ Weekly in particular, will get at the background of issues:
CQ Weekly. Covers every act of Congress. Follow bills, people, actions, etc. Archived back to 1983. Journal website allows for keyword, topic, or date search. A companion to CQ Researcher (which delves into the background of an issue).
Federal Government Resources
USA.gov The U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal. Searches more than just the federal govermnet--state, tribal, and local: any government entity that has a web presence. Searching can be limited to a specific domain.
Catalog of Government Publications. Much like a library catalog, but only for government publications. Committee websites (linked down the this page) often leave out large parts of hearings. The published versions will eventually appear here in their entirety.
FDSys Online resource from the Government Publishing Office. Many resources are available from this site.
Congress.gov Provided by the Library of Congress, this resource offers access to legislative information including bills (and their history), public laws, the Congressional Record, House and Senate Committee reports, proposed legislation, roll call votes, etc. Look for bills by subject.
Regulations.gov. A resource created in 2003 for the public to easily search for proposed regulations and comment on them. You can sign up for alerts about a specific regulation and subscribe to RSS feeds by agency of newly posted Federal Register notices.
The Unified Agenda "The Unified Agenda provides uniform reporting of data on regulatory and deregulatory activities under development throughout the Federal Government, covering approximately 60 departments, agencies, and commissions. Each edition of the Unified Agenda includes regulatory agendas from all Federal entities that currently have regulations under development or review. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included. Fall editions of the Unified Agenda include The The Regulatory Plan, which presents agency statements of regulatory priorities and additional information about the most significant regulatory activities planned for the coming year."
Legislative Tracking via GovTrack, Scout, and LegiScan (these also track state legislation), and OpenCongress.org. Similar to Congress.gov in that you can track current legislation, but contains additional commentary, and links. Additional tracking resources can be found here via LLRX.com.
Contacting the Congress. Nicely done website--links to web forms (if available), the physical address, telephone numbers, and district offices.
What district (in Michigan) do you live in? Find out here.
Social Work Organisations: The National Association of Social Workers has a page on current issues in Congress.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs (over currently 2000) available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals. After you find the program you want (search by program or agency), contact the office that administers the program and find out how to apply.
Green Book: Overview of Entitlement Programs The official title is Background Material and Data on Major Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means, but it's commonly referred to as the "Green Book". It provides program descriptions and historical data on a wide variety of social and economic topics, including Social Security, employment, earnings, welfare, child support, health insurance, the elderly, families with children, poverty and taxation. It has become a standard reference work for those interested in the direction of social policy in the United States. It is compiled by the staff of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives. FDSys contains the Green Book for 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004 under "Additional Government Publications".
Census Bureau Not a publication, but the entire webite. Locate and download detailed population data for specific locations or find quick summaries of cities or states. Electronic versions of The Statistical Abstract of the United States (from 1878 to 2011) are available here as are additional data sources (under "data" at the top of the webpage).
Congressional & Executive Branch Resources
Congressional Budget Office The Congressional Budget Office provides objective, nonpartisan economic analyses of pending legislation. Reports are listed by subject area under “Publications”.
Government Accountability Office The Government Accountability Office, also known as the “Congressional Watchdog”, is an independent and nonpartisan office that studies how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Reports (such as Welfare Reform or Foster Youth) can be searched by date, topic, or agency. Look under "Reports and Testimony" .
House Committee on Education & the Workforce. This Committee, and its 5 sub-committees, oversees education and workforce programs. Publications and legislative issues related to education and labor can be found at this website, as well as bills sent to this committee for review. The Senate has the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
House Ways & Means Committee. Among their responsibilities is health care. More specifically, aspects "that relate to programs providing payments (from any source) for health care, health delivery systems, or health research. More specifically, the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Health shall include bills and matters that relate to the health care programs of the Social Security Act (including titles V, XI (Part B), XVIII, and XIX thereof) and, concurrent with the full Committee, tax credit and deduction provisions of the Internal Revenue Code dealing with health insurance premiums and health care costs."
House and Senate Committees A listing of House and Senate Committees and their materials from FDSys. It is obvious from some committee titles that work is conducted on issues of social welfare, while for others it is not so obvious. More resources can be found on the committee websites themselves: Senate committee websites and House committee websites.
White House Office of Management and Budget. Within this office, which "assists the President in the preparation of the Federal budget and in managing its execution by the agencies", lies the Office of Regulatory and Information Affairs. Among their responsibilities is to review federal regulations.
Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress. These reports provide a background for upcoming legislation or a current topic of interest. There is no one, public source for them. The University of North Texas CRS collection, the Federation of American Scientists (go to Miscellaneous Topics), and the Thurgood Marshall Law Library are three of the organizations that gather and host these reports. Another list is from the Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School.
Department, Agency and Bureau Resources (selected)
Department of Health and Human Services The United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of Americans and providing essential human services. This is the big one; many government agencies related to social work listed below fall under this department.
Administration on Aging Falling under the Department of Health and Human Services, the AoA is one of the nation’s largest providers of home and community based care for older persons.
Administration for Children and Families “Federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families”. Part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality This is the lead agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of healthcare, reduce its cost, improve patient safety, decrease medical errors, and broaden access to essential services.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services This is the federal agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Health Resources and Services Administration Among the goals of this agency are improving public health and health care systems, the elimination of health disparities, and improve health outcomes.
MedlinePLUS Bringing together authoritative information from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States Pharmacopeia Drug Information, and the A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Also falling under the NIH umbrella, this agency offers information on a variety of alcohol-related issues and work.
National Institute on Drug Abuse Since 1974, this agency’s mission is to “lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction”.
National Institute of Mental Health Another agency falling under the National Institute of Health (NIH). Since 1946, this agency offers information on clinical trials, funding opportunities and current research, and is tailored to both consumers and practitioners in the field of mental health.
Office of Human Services Policy This agency focuses on welfare, poverty, service delivery issues, data for research, policies affecting children, youth, and families, and economic matters affecting the Department of Health and Human Services.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration This agency was created in 1993 to focus attention, programs, and funding on improving the lives of people with or at risk for mental and substance abuse disorders.
Social Security Online The Social Security Administration.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development This department’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.
State of Michigan Resources
The Michigan Legislature websites allows you to search for specific bills in the currrent session. RSS feeds are available for updates on those you are interested in. There are links to the House and Senate and the committees therein.
The State of Michigan's Official Website. The state Executive Branch contains the bulk of the agencies concerning Social Work, including the Department of Community Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Michigan Rehabilitation Services.
Michigan Administrative Code. From the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).This office has four primary focuses: (1) Licensing and Regulatory; (2) The Michigan Administrative Hearing System; (3) Employment Security and Workplace Safety; and (4) The Office of Regulatory Reinvention (ORR).. The rulemaking process is described as well as links to recent and pending rule changes and latest rule activity.
The Michigan Register contains copies of all proposed administrative rules, notices of public hearings on proposed administrative rules, and administrative rules filed with the secretary of state as submitted by Michigan departments and agencies.
Michigan County Social Services Association A "statewide organization whose members are county Department of Human Services board members, directors, district managers, and supervisors." Maintains a watch on proposed legislation in Michigan of a social work nature.
Three think tanks in Michigan: The Mackinac Center "A nonpartisan research and educational institute devoted to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions", the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) "applies research to pressing public policy issues and builds problem-solving relationships between the academic and policymaker communities", and the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which for over 90 years has provided "factual, unbiased independent information on significant issues concerning state and local government organization and finance".
Gongwer News Service. Michigan state government news and political information since 1906. NMU doesn not have a subscription, but you can get a hint at what's happening.
MLive.com--Politics. The political section of "Michigan's Leading Web Site for News, Information and Community Interaction".
And finally, what happens when you find a topic and do some research on the Internet and find a website that also talks about your topic? Who are these people? What is this group? What are they saying? Give the website a closer look with these in mind. There are organizations that are known for fact checking, but arguably there are no unbiased opinions or evaluations:
Need further assistance?