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Social Sci LibreTexts

1: Introduction to Social Work

  • Page ID
    24543
  • The History of Social Work in the United States

    Activity:

    Video: Legacies of Social Change https://vimeo.com/104132906

    The inception of the social work profession in the United States can be traced back to the late 1800’s beginning with charity work performed by local churches and communities seeing to meet the needs of the poor. Some of the earliest social work interventions were designed to meet basic human needs of populations and placed great value in providing support, assistance, and resources to families and communities in an attempt to alleviate suffering (Nsonwu, Casey, Cook & Armendariz, 2013). The profession now known as social work ultimately began as a result of a practice originally known as “helping” others to improve the well being of individuals, families, and communities. Throughout the years the social work profession played vital roles in the facilitation of social changes aimed at diminishing inequalities among various populations. Through the practice of “helping,” social workers were able to address many social problems that plagued vulnerable populations through facilitating, advocating, and influencing individuals, communities, politicians, and law makers (Langer & Leitz, 2014).

    Throughout the progressive movement era, many social workers emerged and were identified as key players known to have advanced the profession. These individuals came to be known as pioneers of the social work profession as their careers were devoted to improving the well being of individuals, families, and communities. In an effort to help conceptualize the social work profession, we will look closer at the origin of the social practice, as well as discuss a few pioneers and their contributions to the social work profession (Hansan, 2013).

    In the early 20th century, Robert Hunter’s book Poverty was published. Hunter’s book placed a spotlight on America’s poor and challenged society’s long held belief that poverty signified moral failure (Hansan, 2013). Hunter’s book demonstrated a critical need to implement specific social measures in order to prevent the destruction of the working class population on the verge of poverty. Hunter additionally identified conditions known to breed poverty calling into question the need but also the tolerance for these unjust conditions particularly by a professed Christian population (Hunter, 1904).

    Another known pioneer of the social work profession is Mary Richmond. Throughout her career, Richmond searched for answers surrounding the reasons and causes of poverty while also examining the interactions between individuals and their environments. Richmond believed that interventions and treatment approaches needed to be focused on the person within their environment. As a result of this belief, Richmond developed the circle diagram as a way to help her clients identify sources of power available to them within their own environment. One of Richmond’s biggest contributions to the social work profession was her book Social Diagnosis which was published in 1917. Richmond’s book focused on the practice of casework with individuals and was the first book to identify a systematic and methodological way to document and diagnose clients (Social Welfare History Project, 2011).

    Jane Addams is another well-known pioneer to the social work profession. Addams, along with Ellen Gates Starr, founded Hull-House in 1889. Hull-House was a successful settlement house located in an area of Chicago that was largely populated by immigrants. Residents of Hull-House were provided with multiple services which included daycare and kindergarten facilities for the children of the residents. Throughout her career Addams’ continued to contribute to the social work profession by advocating for the rights and well-being of women and children on several important issues, one of those issues being the implementation of child labor laws (Hansan, 2010).

    Jane Hoey’s career as a social worker began in 1916 when she was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of the Board of Child Welfare in New York City. Throughout the course of her career she would work in multiple social welfare agencies: serving as the Director of Field Service for the Atlanta Division of the American Red Cross, the Secretary of the Bronx Committee of the New York TB and Health Association, the Director of the Welfare Council of New York City, and ultimately as the Director of the Bureau of Public Assistance. Hoey is best known for her role in the enactment of the Social Security Public Assistance Act which became law in 1935. Following the law’s enactment, Hoey became the Director of the Bureau of Public Assistance within the Social Security Administration and was responsible for organizing and implementing the distribution of the public welfare provisions (Social Welfare History Project, 2011).

    Additional Reading Material

    Mary Richmond’s Social Diagnosis

    https://archive.org/details/socialdiagnosis00richiala

    Robert Hunter’s Poverty

    https://archive.org/details/povertypoor00huntuoft

    Social Work: What is it?

    For over a century the answer to this question has been not only varied but also debated among members of the general public as well as in the professional social work community. The definition of “social work” may not be as clear as one may think when attempting to understand the meaning of social work. Embedded within these definitions of “social work” are common themes which can help to conceptualize social work. Although there are many varying definitions used to describe social work, what matters the most is the purpose of social work and what guides and directs social work practice. According to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the purpose of the social work profession is to “promote human and community well-being”; which can be achieved through promoting social and economic justice and preventing conditions that limit human rights for all people.

    Even after defining social work and identifying the purpose of the social work profession, there continues to be some misalignment among the profession with the overall mission of social work. This is not surprising considering the increasingly diverse populations being served by the profession. What is becoming increasing clear as the diversity of client systems continues to expand, is the critical importance of professional competence in order to meet the unique needs of individuals as well as emerging social issues. In an effort to better prepare new social workers to respond to these new challenges and social issues, the CSWE adopted a competency-based education framework, Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, which gives students the opportunity to demonstrate and integrate social work knowledge and skills in various practice settings. More than ever social work requires a broad knowledge base in order to effectively meet the needs of others but also to help clients find hope in the process. Finding hope is essential to the social work practice as hope helps to empower diverse populations facing unique challenges (Clark & Hoffler, 2014).

    The feelings associated with a sense of hope are considered to be fundamental to the social work practice. Hope is essential to social work as it allows those facing challenges to believe in a positive outcome and hope can play a major role in how the challenges/circumstances are viewed. A sense of hope is as essential to clients as it is for social workers who are helping clients. Social workers struggling to feel hope may communicate this verbally and non-verbally in their approach with their clients, ultimately impacting the effectiveness of the intervention. This is one of several reasons individuals wishing to pursue a career in social work should explore their personal values, overall worldview, beliefs, abilities, skills, and priorities as well as personal and career goals. This type of exploration is essential to determining whether or not a career in the social work field will be a good fit. In addition, individuals should also consider the demands, stressors, and challenges common to the social work practice giving serious consideration to whether helping the most vulnerable populations will negatively impact their own physical and/or mental health and overall quality of life (Sheafor, Horejsi, & Horejsi, 2000).

    Additional Activities:

    When in Doubt, Give Hope. (Speech starts at 2:20)

    Allison Brunner a newly graduated MSW talks about her anxieties and doubts that recent graduates feel with their professional responsibility to hold hope for their clients. She describes her own doubts as a social worker, relates those to her personal moments of doubt and shares how she drew from those experiences to help her client. Using our experiences to benefit our clients rather than ourselves, is what we call “professional use of self.” And as Carl Rogers demonstrated many years ago, bringing our genuine self to the clinical relationship is one of the most important things we can do to help our clients.

    Retrieved from: http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/GraduationSpeech2009.mp3

    Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) versus Masters of Social Work (MSW)

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum pre-requisite needed to gain employment in the social work profession is a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW). However, those with specific career goals may be required to obtain a higher level of education. Therefore, some may wish to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW).

    Social workers may serve in all of these different roles in varying degrees at any time in their career.

    There are some similarities between the two degrees which include the expectation that both BSW and MSW students complete supervised field placements within a social service type agency. The requirements related to the length of placement, expected tasks, and/or hours may vary based on degree. Common social service agency placements for both BSW and MSW students include places such as hospitals, schools, or mental health or substance abuse clinics. In addition to this requirement, both BSW and MSW graduates must be granted a license in the state they wish to practice. Licensure for an MSW requires a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience following graduation and a passing score on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) licensing examination.

    There are several key differences between BSW and MSW degrees. One of the first differences is the pre-requisite for entrance into the programs. Typically the only requirement needed to enter into an accredited BSW program at a college or university is that the candidate has declared social work as their major. This differs from an MSW program as MSW candidates apply for entrance into the program after already having obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in which the graduate has likely earned credits in coursework areas related to psychology and sociology.

    Another difference is the coursework required based on the desired degree. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits U.S. social work programs, designates BSW undergraduate programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy, and ethics in social work. Additionally, students are required to complete a supervised field placement at a social service agency. Baccalaureate social workers have the ability to obtain specialty certification in certain areas through their state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), which offers specialty certification available in child, youth and family social work, gerontology, casework, and hospice, and palliative care. Master’s degree programs focus on developing clinical assessment and management skills and prepare students for work in a more targeted areas depending on the student’s interest.

    The other important differences between the two degrees involves the type of employment each degree holder is eligible for and the earning potential based on the degree. MSW graduates typically earn a significantly higher salaries than BSW graduates. Individuals with a BSW degree tend to be employed in entry level jobs as caseworkers and are expected to provide direct services to clients through assessing, coordinating, and referring to area resources. The Michigan Board of Social Workers outlines the scope of practice/expected duties for social workers based on education and designated practice area (see chart below).

    MSW graduates are often employed in clinical settings such as a hospital or a private practice setting and also in various administrative positions. MSW graduates can obtain either a Macro or Clinical license. The scope of practice differs depending on the type of MSW license. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), a licensed Master Social Worker with macro designation can expect to be involved in administration, management, and supervision of human service organizations and perform functions that seek to improve the overall population’s quality of life through a policy/administrative perspective. These tasks range from collaboration, coordination, mediation, and consultation within organizations and/or communities, community organizing and development, research and evaluation, and advocacy/social justice work through involvement in the legislative process. A licensed Master Social Worker with a clinical designation (micro) typically work directly with individuals, families, and/or groups in an effort to improve the client’s overall quality of life. Social workers can expect to perform the following tasks/functions: advocating for care, protecting the vulnerable, providing psychotherapy as defined as “assessment, diagnosis, or treatment of mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders, conditions, addictions, or other biopsychosocial problems.”

    image-1-1.png
    Social Work Scope of Practice, created by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). For a pdf of this chart, please see: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/mdch_sw_swgridforscopeofpractice_216194_7.pdf

    What is a client? What’s in a name?

    It is important that the social work profession accurately define and describe the relationship that exists between those who receive services and those who provide services (social workers). Over the years many terms have been used to describe the service-recipient relationship. Many of these terms have been scrutinized as failing to accurately describe the relationship that exists between the social worker and the service recipient. McLaughlin (2008) identified four terms commonly used to describe the social worker-service user relationship as patients, consumers, and service users. It is important to explore the language used to conceptualize this relationship because the social work profession seeks to empower the most disadvantaged and vulnerable of the population the language we use matters.

    Client is the most widely used term used to describe the social work relationship.

    The meaning and implications of the term “client” have been questioned as it gives the impression that the social worker is in a position of power over the client. In this instance a client would be viewed as someone who needs help but does not have the ability to help themselves, due to some deficiency either a lack of skills or ability, and therefore requires the knowledge of a social worker (McLaughlin, 2008).

    The term “consumer” has been used to describe the relationship of those who use services the state offers. The meaning and implications of using the term “consumer” suggests that those receiving services has options and choices and the social worker is acting as a manager or a monitor of services and/or resources (McLaughlin, 2008).

    The term “service user” has also been used in various social work settings. However “service user” may not be appropriate for use in all types of social work practice. For example social workers working in the arena of children’s protective services are mandated to respond to child abuse and neglect based on agency and state law. In this situation the service user would most likely object to the social worker’s response, therefore the service user would not be officially involved in the decision making process. Over the years social workers have been given a major role in the assessment of needs and risks over client groups and this role is often associated with a policing or surveillance role. In this way the relationship that exists between the client and social worker may get confusing and ambiguous (McLaughlin, 2008).

    Common Roles of Social Workers

    Over the course of their career, a social worker at any one time may perform multiple roles to varying degrees. The difficulty for many social workers is that over time the roles that involve direct case work have lessened; often social workers will find themselves in a position that involves little client involvement. One of the most difficult situations social workers will experience in their careers is the conflict they face while fulfilling some of the following roles often expected of a social worker at one time.

    Broker

    A social worker acting as a broker assists and links people with services or resources. In this role social workers assess the needs of the individual while also taking into account the client’s overall capacity and motivation to use available resources. Once the needs are assessed and potential services identified, the broker assists the client in choosing the most appropriate service option. The social worker as a broker role is also concerned with the quality, quantity, and accessibility of services. This role is expected to be up-to-date on current services and programs available, as well as familiar with the process for accessing those resources and programs (Zastrow, 2016).

    Case Manager

    A social worker acting as a case manager identifies the needs as well as the barriers of their clients. Occasionally case managers may also provide direct service to their clients. Case managers often engage with clients who require multiple services from a variety of agencies and work with the client to develop goals and implement interventions based on the identified goals. Social workers acting as case managers remain actively engaged with clients throughout the process by identifying and coordinating services, monitoring identified services and providing support when necessary, and finally providing follow-ups to ensure services are being utilized (Zastrow, 2016).

    Advocate

    A social worker as an advocate seeks to protect client’s rights and ensure access and utilization of services they are entitled to receive. Social workers may perform advocacy work by advocating for a single client or by representing groups of clients with a common problem or identified need. Social workers may advocate with other organizations/providers and encourage their clients to advocate for themselves in order to address a need or obtain a service. Advocacy is an integral and fundamental role in the social work profession as it is necessary to promote overall wellbeing. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2015) “has specified social workers’ responsibility to the community and broader society since its adoption in 1960, and in 1996, strengthened its call to require all social workers to “engage in social and political action” to “expand choice and opportunity” and “equity and social justice for all people” (p. 27). Social workers acting in this capacity may advocate in varying capacities but often times may find themselves in a position of educating the public in order to garner support to seek changes in laws that are harming and impacting the wellbeing of clients. Social workers acting as advocates should always consider whether they are acting and advocating in a way that maximizes client self-determination (Zastrow, 2016).

    Educator

    Social workers acting as a teacher or educator often help in times of crisis for many clients. In this role social workers help clients develop insight into their behaviors through providing education aimed at helping clients learn skills to handle difficult situations and identify alternative life choices. In this role social workers aim to increase their client’s knowledge of various skills some of which include: budgeting, parenting, effective communication, and/or violence prevention (Zastrow, 2016).

    Counselor

    A social worker acting as a counselor helps clients express their needs, clarify their problems, explore resolution strategies, and applies intervention strategies to develop and expand the capacities of clients to deal with their problems more effectively. A key function of this role is to empower people by affirming their personal strengths and their capacities to deal with their problems more effectively (Zastrow, 2016).

    Risk Assessor

    Social workers acting as risk assessors have been given a major role in the assessment of needs and risks over a variety of client groups. Assessment is a primary role for social workers and often times is what dictates the services and resources identified as needs for clients. Often time’s social workers acting in this role find themselves in precarious situations as the relationship between the client and social worker may be conflicting, especially when working in the mental health field. While working as a risk assessor in the mental health field the social worker may experience conflict between encouraging client self-determination and addressing safety risks.

    Mediator

    It is common that social workers act as mediators and negotiators as conflict is the root of many areas of social work. Social workers acting in these roles are required to take a neutral stance in order to find compromises between divided parties. In this role social workers seek to empower the parties to arrive and their own solutions in order to reconcile differences and reach a mutually satisfying agreement (Stoesen, 2006).

    R esearcher

    A social worker in the role of researcher or program evaluator uses their practice experience to inform future research. The social worker is aware of current research and able to integrate their knowledge with the current research. Social workers acting in this capacity are able to utilize the knowledge they have obtained through gathering and examining the research to inform their practice interventions (Grinnell & Unrau, 2010).

    Group Leader

    Social workers who play the role of group leader or facilitator can do so with groups of people gathering for purposes including; task groups, psychoeducational groups, counseling groups, and psychotherapy groups. Task groups are like the name infers task oriented and social workers facilitate that process by understanding group dynamics. Psychoeducational groups are led by social workers who focus on developing members’ cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills in an area group members are deficient through integrating and providing factual information to participants. Social workers who facilitate counseling groups help participants resolve problems in various areas that can include: personal, social, educational, or career concerns. In psychotherapy groups social worker address psychological and interpersonal problems that are negatively impacting member’s lives (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2014).

    Additional Suggested Readings

    Kerson, T. S., & McCoyd, J. (2013). In response to need: An analysis of social work roles over time. Social work, 58(4), 333-343. doi: 10.1093/sw/swt035

    Gibelman, Margaret (1999). The search for identity: defining social work – past, present, future. Social Work, 44(4), 298-310. doi: 10.1093/sw/44.4.298

    Characteristics and Skills of Effective Social Workers

    Much like the definition of the term “social work,” the characteristics and skills required to become an effective social worker are also hard to define and require versatility in this complex and constantly changing environment. Competent and effective social workers are expected to have knowledge in varying intervention strategies and skills in order to enhance functioning and empower others. Effective social workers also must be willing to consider the needs of those being served when designing interventions seeking to enhance the wellbeing of others. In doing so many social workers may adopt specific roles or a combination of roles in order to effectively and efficiently meet the identified need(s). Some common elements and skills have been identified as effective across micro and macro practice settings. It is important to remember that when we are discussing effective social workers it is not just about what they do, it is also about how they do it (Sheafor, Horejsi & Horejsi, 2000).

    Self-Awareness

    One of the most important skills necessary for becoming a competent and effective social worker is self-awareness. Self-awareness starts with getting to know yourself and requires clarifying one’s own values and assumptions. Every day we are learning and changing as a result of our experiences, therefore self-awareness is a lifelong process that cannot be acquired through education and readings alone. This process requires understanding of past experiences and reflecting on the impacts of those experiences in relation to your world view and view of yourself. People who practice self-awareness can recognize, understand, and regulate their emotions. Self-awareness allows individuals to maximize their strengths by acknowledging their weaknesses. By recognizing areas of both strength and weakness, self-aware people can take proactive steps to manage their weakness and avoid setbacks (Sheafor, Horejsi & Horejsi, 2000).

    Competence

    Competence is essential in the social work world as there are numerous treatment approaches and intervention strategies available for clients. That being said, it is impossible for a social worker to be competent in every intervention strategy or treatment option. Social workers are expected to be knowledgeable in areas and intervention strategies they will be utilizing with their clients. According to Sheafor, Horejsi, and Horejsi (2000), generalist practice social workers need to be prepared to treat a diverse population of clients, which requires knowledge in a variety of assessment and intervention techniques.

    Effective social workers can identify personal values, political beliefs and assumptions but also are willing to develop knowledge of other cultures through formal education and interaction. Professional development allows social workers to develop skills that will enable them to implement successful interventions. Cultural competence is also an area that should be considered when determining effectiveness. All social workers should continually seek cultural knowledge; through education and direct interaction. Culture is an area that is constantly changing and social workers should be prepared to engage in life-long learning in order to seek competence.

    Empathy

    One of the most critical elements is the relationship between the social worker and the client. Specifically whether or not the client feels the social worker is genuine, supportive and empathetic towards them. A sense of empathy from the social worker increases the chances of building a therapeutic relationship with the client. Because of this, ability to empathize is essential for social workers. Dr. Brown (2013) suggests that empathy is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering and is the skill that fuels connections. Empathy is a choice that requires individuals to acknowledge their own vulnerabilities which is often why the ability to empathize is considered a difficult skill to develop.

    Critical thinking

    The ability to critically think is crucial to the social work profession. Social workers use critical thinking skills on a daily basis to problem solve issues. Critical thinking skills include the ability to ask thoughtful and appropriate questions aimed at empowering others to find their own solutions. It is by applying critical thinking skills that social workers are able to make accurate observations, evaluate client abilities/limitation and/or agencies abilities/limitations. Critical thinking skills can also help social workers generate possible solutions and identify appropriate interventions to implement based of their critical evaluation of the issues and known barriers. Critical thinking skills also aid in the social worker’s ability to examine and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions (Sheafor, Horejsi & Horejsi, 2000).

    Communication skills

    Communication in the social work profession encompasses a wide-range of activities beyond the ability to communicate effectively with their clients and other professionals. Determining the best approach to utilize when communicating with clients and other professionals will require the use of critical thinking skills. Many social workers are often working in the role of helping others who are seeking to make changes. Therefore, effective social workers will use a combination of different strategies to help move clients towards change. Social workers with effective communication skills avoid directly telling other’s what to do and rely heavily of their ability to communicate in order to empower clients to identify their own solutions. Developing and utilizing effective communication skills help clients establish trust and promotes rapport building between the social worker and the client which increases the chances of a successful intervention.

    It is important to understand that effective communication skills go beyond one’s ability to communicate verbally and includes the ability to communicate through written reports as well as non-verbally while displaying active listening skills. Effective non-verbal communication requires the social worker to portray and display an empathetic, non-judgmental attitude when listening and engaging with clients. Effective written communication skills include the ability to communicate concisely, professionally, and honestly in various written formats as there are multiple mediums in which a social worker must be able to communicate. Because of this, competency in using word processors, email systems, spreadsheets, databases and knowledge of grammar and spelling are an important communication skill. These tasks may seem simple and appear obvious, however may prove challenging. Over time communication skills can be learned with practice, regular reflection, and self-assessment (Sheafor, Horejsi & Horejsi, 2000).

    Additional readings

    D’Aprix, A. S., Dunlap, K. M., Abel, E., & Edwards, R. L. (2004). Goodness of fit: Career goals of MSW students and the aims of the social work profession in the United States. Social Work Education23(3), 265-280. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0261547042000224029

    S upplemental Activities

    Brené Brown’s TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability

    https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

    Brené Brown on Empathy (2:53)

    https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw

    Challenges Ahead

    Rothman and Mizrahi (2014) identified a need to rectify an imbalance that exists between micro and macro social work practice to not only strengthen the profession, but to overcome the multitude of problems facing society. Historically the social work profession has addressed the needs of the population with a dual approach, encompasses both macro and micro practice social workers to achieve social progress. This approach requires involvement from social workers at every level of practice to bring about social reform as well as meet the needs of individuals and families.

    Currently, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) is pioneering an innovative approach to achieving social progress powered by science called “The Grand Challenges of Social Work.” The AASWSW identifies 12 challenges and major social problems impacting today’s society. Today’s social workers will need to address and implement effective approaches known to improve individual and family wellbeing in order to begin strengthening the social fabric of America.

    The 12 challenges are as follows:

    The challenge to ensure healthy development for all youth: The AASWSW has identified the need to prevent behavioral health problems emerging in over six million young people yearly. Evidence has identified several effective prevention based approaches to address the severe mental, emotional, and behavior problems affecting today’s youth.

    The challenge to close the health gap: More than 60 million Americans have inadequate access to basic health care. Even more disturbing – the majority of people with inadequate access also experience discrimination and poverty. There is an extreme need to develop new strategies targeted at improving the health of our society.

    The challenge to stop family violence: Assaults by parents, partners, and adult children are common American tragedies that often result in serious injury, including death. This type of violence impacts society through various arenas. Effective intervention strategies have been identified and if implemented could help break the cycle of violence for many families.

    The challenge to advance long and productive lives: Through identifying and engaging individuals with healthy and productive activities, overall health and well-being can be improved.

    The challenge to eradicate social isolation: Social workers can help with this challenge by educating the public about the impacts of social isolation as well as, promote effective ways to make social connections.

    The challenge to end homelessness: Over 1.5 million American’s experience homelessness at least one night a year. Homelessness affects health and well-being and often has lasting impacts on personal development. The challenge will be to implement and expand on proven approaches as well as, implement policies that promote affordable housing.

    The challenge to create social responses to a changing environment: Climate change and urban development exacerbate the already existing social and environmental inequalities of marginalized communities. The challenge will be to develop improved social responses based on this knowledge as well as, helping those impacted by the changing environment through developing policies specific to helping those in need.

    The challenge to harness technology for social good: A unique opportunity to access and target various populations and social problems exists because of advances to technology. The challenge will be for social workers to find ways to use technology to not only access knowledge, but to gain expertise for the advancement of the social work profession.

    The challenge to promote “smart decarceration”: With the United States having the world’s largest percentage of its population behind bars this could prove to truly be a grand challenge. “Smart Decarceration” calls for a reduction in the number of people imprisoned, as well as the willingness of a nation to embrace a new and proactive way of addressing safety.

    The challenge to reduce extreme inequality:  One out of every five children live in poverty, while the top 1% owns almost half of the wealth in the U.S. Poor health outcomes and decreased overall well-being have been documented results of living in poverty. Inequality can be reduced through increased access to education, wages, tax benefits, and/or home ownership. Social workers should seek to adopt policies that promote equality.

    The challenge to build financial capability for all: Nearly half of all American households are financially insecure, which means they do not have adequate savings to meet their basic living expense for three months. By adopting policies that support security in retirement accounts as well as, access to financial services that provide for financial literacy there can be a significant reduction in the economic hardships faced by families.

    The challenge toachieve equal opportunity and justice: Historic and current prejudice and injustice in the United States impacts several groups of people by impeding and excluding access to education and employment. In order to overcome this challenge social workers must embrace and appreciate diversity and begin shedding light onto unfair practices.

    Additional Reading/ Activities

    Bent-Goodley, T.B. (2017). Readying the profession for changing times. Social Work, 62(2), 101-103. doi: 10.1093/sw/swx014

    Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2016, March 28). #103 – The Grand Challenges for Social Work: Interview with Dr. Richard P. Barth [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2016/03/grand-challenges.html

    Activities for Chapter One

    Activity #1

    25 questions to help you get to know yourself

    http://www.mistysansom.com/know-who-you-are-with-these-25-questions

    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • What did you want to be when you were younger?
    • Who are you most inspired by? Why?
    • Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?
    • What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?
    • Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?
    • How do you like to relax?
    • When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?
    • What are you most proud of?
    • What are you most afraid of?
    • If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?
    • Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?
    • What qualities do you admire in others?
    • What practical skills do you wish you had?
    • Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?
    • What is your favorite book/movie/song? Why?
    • If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?
    • What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object – something from you personally)?
    • What excites you?
    • What do you wish you did more of?
    • Pretend money is no object. What would you do?
    • What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel the worst? Why?
    • Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year?
    • What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?
    • How do you want to be remembered in life?

    Activity #2:

    The Five Minute Personality Test

    http://www.sagestrategies.biz/documents/FiveMinutePersonalityTestforclass.pdf

    Activity #3:

    Character Strengths Survey

    https://www.viacharacter.org/www/Cha r acter-Strengths-Survey

    PODCASTS

    Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2014, July 8). #87 – Beginnings, middles, and ends: Stories about social work from Ogden Rogers, Ph.D. [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://socialworkpodcast.blogspot.com/2014/07/ogden.html

    Brunner, Allison (2009). When In doubt, give hope.” Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/GraduationSpeech2009.mp3

    Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2016, March 28). #103 – The Grand Challenges for Social Work: Interview with Dr. Richard P. Barth [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2016/03/grand-challenges.html


    References

    American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. (2017). Grand challenges for social work. Retrieved from http://aaswsw.org/grand-challenges-initiative./

    Asquith, S., Clark, C. L., & Waterhouse, L. (2005). The role of the social worker in the 21st century: A literature review. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Education Department. Retrieved from http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2005/12/1994633/46334

    Bent-Goodley, T.B. (2017). Readying the profession for changing times. Social Work, 62(2), 101-103. doi: 10.1093/sw/swx014

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