Social worker: Wikis


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Social work is a profession and a social science committed to the pursuit of social justice, to quality of life, and to the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in a society. Social workers draw on the social sciences to solve social problems. They may work in research, practice, or both. Practitioners will usually possess a degree or registered license in the discipline, dependent on national law. Social work research is often focused in areas such as individuagstl and family therapy, social policy, public administration and development. Social workers are organized into local, national, continental and international Professional bodies to further the aims of the profession.



Social work has its roots in the struggle of society to ameliorate poverty and the resultant problems.

Contemporary professional development

Social Work education begins in a systematised manner in universities, but is also an ongoing process that occurs though research and in the workplace.

International Federation of Social Workers states, of social work today,

"social work bases its methodology on a systematic body of evidence-based knowledge derived from research and practice evaluation, including local and indigenous knowledge specific to its context. It recognizes the complexity of interactions between human beings and their environment, and the capacity of people both to be affected by and to alter the multiple influences upon them including bio-psychosocial factors. The social work profession draws on theories of human development, social theory and social systems to analyse complex situations and to facilitate individual, organizational, social and cultural changes."[1]

A hopeful development for bridging this gap is the compilation, in many practice fields, of collections of "best practices" which attempt to distill research findings and the experience of respected practitioners into effective practice techniques.[citation needed] Although social work has roots in the informatics revolution, an important contemporary development in the profession is overcoming suspicion of technology and taking advantage of the potential of information technology to empower users.[2]


Professional social workers are generally considered those who hold a masters (MSW) in Social Work. Often these practitioners must also obtain a license or be professionally registered.

In some areas of the world, social workers start with a Bachelor of Social Work (BA, BSc or BSW and some university conduct Diploma in Social Work Programme) degree. Some countries offer post-Graduate degrees like the master's degree (MA, MSc or MSW and Post Graduate Diploma in Social work) or the doctoral degree (Ph.D or DSW).

In a number of countries and jurisdictions, registration or licensure of people working as social workers is required and there are mandated qualifications.[3] In other places, a professional association sets academic and experiential requirements for admission to membership. The success of these professional bodies' efforts is demonstrated in the fact that these same requirements are recognized by employers as necessary for employment.[4]


Professional associations

There are a number of professional associations for social workers. The purpose of these associations is to provide ethical guidance, and other forms of support for their members and social workers in general. The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) are among the professional associations that exist to enhance the profession of social work. Network of Professional Social Workers is a fast growing professional network of Social Workers across the globe. Network of Professional Social Workers aims to connect social workers beyond their local and national associations across the globe. Network of Professional Social Workers effectively uses Social networking media such as Linkedin, Face Book etc to network with Social Workers across many countries and initiate discussions on various issues affecting Social Work Profession. Network of Professional Social Workers Group list serve, NPSW.[5] A large, national group in the United States is the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). In addition to providing ethical guidance and support, it also provides accreditation opportunities and a current listing of employment opportunities.[6]

Role of the professional

The main tasks of professional social workers can include a variety of services such as case management (linking clients with agencies and programs that will meet their psychosocial needs), counseling (psychotherapy), human services management, social welfare policy analysis, policy and practice development, community organizing, international, social and community development, advocacy, teaching (in schools of social work), and social science research.

Types of professional intervention

There are three general categories or levels of intervention. The first is "Macro" social work which involves society or communities as a whole. This type of social work practice would include policy forming and advocacy on a national or international scale.

The second level of intervention is described as "Mezzo" social work practice. This level would involve work with agencies, small organizations, and other small groups. This practice would include policy making within a social work agency or developing programs for a particular neighborhood.

The final level is the "Micro" level that involves service to individuals and families.

Currently, there is a great deal of concern among some in the profession that it has left behind its historical roots and is focused overwhelmingly on the practice of micro, primarily psychological, interventions.

There are a wide variety of activities that can be considered social work and professional social workers are employed in many different types of environments. The following list details some of the main fields of social work.

Social Work Perspectives

Perspectives are ways of viewing and thinking about practice. They are used as a framework to assist clients in therapy or other social work settings[7]

In US, there are four main perspectives social workers employ: Ecosystemic/Ecological System, Feminist, Generalist, and Strengths Perspectives.

Ecosystemic/Ecological System - This perspective honors the mutual relationship between individuals and their environment. It looks at the goodness of fit between the individual's capacities and the environment's resources and capacities.[8]

Feminist - This perspective examines the impact of societal beliefs, stereotypes and practices as the related to gender and sex roles. It values the feminine attributes of clients and attempts to address societal patriarchy, androcentrism and sexist practices which seek to oppress and exploit women.[9][10]

Generalist - An approach to practice that involves a holistic understanding of the client on multiple levels - individual, family, community, organizational. This approach integrates various models and theories to help understand the client's situation and uses an eclectic mix of interventions and techniques. Inherent in this perspective is a collaborative process in which the client and the worker have mutual responsibility.[11][12]

Strengths - This perspective focuses on what the client is already doing that is successful. The goal of all interactions is to identify and augment the client's strengths and resources. There is an expectation that strengths exist both in the client and in their larger environment and that the clients know best how to utilize these resources. It also assumes that nobody knows the upper limits of an individual's capacity to grow.[13]

Areas of social work

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of Social Work". IFSW General Meeting in Montreal, Canada, July 2000. International Federation of Social Workers. 04/10/2005. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  2. ^ Parker-Oliver, Debra; Demiris, George (April 2006). "Social Work Informatics: A New Specialty". Social Work (National Association of Social Workers) 51 (2): 127–134. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  3. ^ The National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 2005). NASW Fact Sheet. Retrieved November 15, 2006 from
  4. ^ "Catholic Social Workers National Association". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 2005). Retrieved March 1, 2010 from
  7. ^ Direct Human Services Practice by Sarah Bradley
  8. ^ Germain, C. & Gitterman, A. (1996). The life model of social work practice. (2nd ed.). New York: Columbia Univ. Press.
  9. ^ Saulnier, C. (1996). Feminist theories and social work. Binghamton, NY: Haworth
  10. ^ Valentich, M. (1976). Feminist theory and social work practice. in F. Turner (Ed.), Social work treatment, (4th ed.). New York: Free Press.
  11. ^ Kirst-Ashman, K & Hull, G. (2001). Generalist practice with organizations and communities, (2nd ed.).Belmont, CA: Brooks-Cole.
  12. ^ Derezotes, D. (2000). Advanced generalist practice, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
  13. ^ Saleeby, D. (1997). The strengths perspective in social work. (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

External links

Further reading

  • Agnew, Elizabeth N. (2004). From Charity to Social Work: Mary E. Richmond and the Creation of an American Profession. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252028759. OCLC 51848398. 
  • Axinn, June and Mark J. Stern (2008). Social Welfare: A History of the American Response to Need (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 9780205522156. OCLC 86038254. 
  • Balgopal, Pallassana R. (2000). Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231108567. OCLC 43323656. 
  • Barker, Richard (2009). Making Sense of Every Child Matters - multi professional practice guidance (1st ed.). Bristol, UK: Policy Press. ISBN 1847420117. 
  • Barker, Robert L. (2003). Social Work Dictionary (5th ed.). Silver Spring, MD: NASW Press. ISBN 087101355X. OCLC 52341511. 
  • Butler, Ian and Gwenda Roberts (2004). Social Work with Children and Families: Getting into Practice (2nd ed.). London, England; New York, NY: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1417501030. OCLC 54768636. 
  • Davies, Martin (2002). The Blackwell Companion of Social Work (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Blackwell. ISBN 0631223916. OCLC 49044512. 
  • Fischer, Joel and Kevin J. Corcoran (2007). Measures for Clinical Practice and Research: A Sourcebook (4th ed.). Oxford, UK; New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195181906. OCLC 68980742. 
  • Greene, Roberta R. (2008). Social Work with the Aged and their Families (3rd ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9780202361826. OCLC 182573540. 
  • Grinnell, Richard M. and Yvonne A Unrau (2008). Social Work Research and Evaluation: Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice (8th ed.). Oxford, UK; New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195301526. OCLC 82772632. 
  • Mizrahi, Terry and Larry E. Davis (2008). Encyclopedia of Social Work (20th ed.). Washington, DC; Oxford, UK; New York, NY: NASW Press and Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195306613. OCLC 156816850. 
  • Popple, Philip R. and Leslie Leighninger (2008). The Policy-Based Profession: An Introduction to Social Welfare Policy Analysis for Social Workers (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0205485928. OCLC 70708056. 
  • Reamer, Frederic G. (2006). Ethical Standards in Social Work: A Review of the NASW Code of Ethics (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press. ISBN 9780871013712. OCLC 63187493. 
  • Richardson, Virginia E. and Amanda Smith Barusch (2006). Gerontological Practice for the Twenty-First Ccentury: A Social Work Perspective. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN 023110748X. OCLC 60373501. 
  • Sowers, Karen M. and Catherine N. Dulmus and others. (2008). Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471752223. OCLC 155755265. 
  • Specht, Harry; Courtney, Mark E. (1994). Unfaithful angels : how social work has abandoned its mission. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0029303559. 
  • Statham, Daphne (2004). Managing Front Line Practice in Social Work. New York, NY: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1417501278. OCLC 54768593. 
  • Thyer, Bruce A. and John S. Wodarski (2007). Social Work in Mental Health: An Evidence-Based Approach. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. ISBN 0471693049. OCLC 65197928. 
  • Turner, Francis J. (2005). Canadian Encyclopedia of Social Work. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 0889204365. OCLC 57354998. 
  • Wittenberg, Renee (2003). Opportunities in Social Work Careers (Revised ed.). Chicago, IL: VGM Career Books. ISBN 0071390480. OCLC 49959266. 

Simple English

A social worker is a government employee that helps people who cannot help themselves including physically disabled people, people addicted to alcohol, and people with addictions to drugs like cocaine and marijuana. This person helps the disadvantaged person acquire a normal life (job, home, money, etc.) If a child is being abused then a social worker could help by either taking the child away to live in a home or to be fostered. Social workers are provided by the government.


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