Manohar Pawar

Publication Date



By summarizing the social challenges in the contemporary Australian context, this article aims to discuss policy innovations by Australian social workers. Acknowledging that the concept of policy innovation is broad and sometimes ambiguous, it looks at four examples by social workers. Drawing on secondary data analysis, it discusses how social workers played an important role in introducing legislative changes/amendments to protect children in difficult circumstances, resisted a refugee policy that incarcerates innocent children, challenged and changed procedures and policies within an organization, and influenced policymakers to revert budgetary decisions to enhance access to services. These examples show the social workers’ commitment, passion, and vision and their experiences with policy innovation. Given the nature and extent of social challenges, this paper raises questions about the limited policy innovation by social workers. The analysis has significant implications for social workers’ obligation to contribute to policy innovation in their chosen area of practice.

Document Type

Working Paper


Civic Engagement and Service


Community and National Service

Original Citation

Pawar, M. (2014).Social challenges and policy innovations by social workers in Australia (CSD Working Paper 14-10). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


policy, social policy, children