The Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW), initiated by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW), sets an agenda for social innovation by identifying and charting a course to address 13 Grand Challenges dominating the current social context in the United States. This agenda builds upon the past century’s grand accomplishments in Social Work.
CSD has broad ties to the AASWSW and Grand Challenges Initiative. The center is collaborating on policy development and administrative leadership. CSD has also provided editorial and communications support, facilitating the development of concept papers, policy briefs, op-eds and other strategic messaging efforts.
In 2016, CSD organized Social Innovation for America’s Renewal, a conference to develop innovative policies for addressing the Grand Challenges.
Michael Sherraden, CSD’s founding director, is a member of the Grand Challenges Leadership Board and a former member of the Grand Challenges Executive Committee and the AASWSW Board of Directors. CSD faculty directors lead several of the networks formed to address the Grand Challenges, and many faculty associates are also engaged in the initiative.
Several bodies of CSD work parallel and are fueling efforts to address the Grand Challenges:
- Child and Youth Well-Being
- Environment and Social Development
- Financial Capability & Asset Building
- Voter Access and Engagement
- Inclusive Housing
- Productive Aging
- The Livable Lives Initiative
- The Race and Opportunity Lab
- The SEED for Oklahoma Kids experiment
- The Smart Decarceration Initiative
Since the 2016 conference, Grand Challenges networks have been developing specific policy action statements. The first set was released in March 2017:
- “Ensure healthy development for all youth.” Actions target family-focused preventive interventions to children and families through primary health care.
- “Stop family violence.” Actions target improvements in the use of data to protect children and support families.
- “Advance long and productive lives.” Actions target expansion of paid family and medical leave.
- “Create social responses to a changing environment.” Actions urge development of policies targeting environmentally induced displacement in the United States.
- “Promote smart decarceration.” Actions target reversal of civic and legal exclusions for people with criminal charges and convictions.
- “Build financial capability and assets for all” and “Reduce extreme economic inequality.” Actions target universal and progressive Child Development Accounts as a policy vehicle for lifelong asset building.
- “Reduce extreme economic inequality.” Actions target converting the Child Tax Credit into a universal child allowance.