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Seminar 2 Defining Social Work, Core Principles of Social Work and the Training You Need To Become a Social

Social workers give advice, support and counselling to people who are facing difficulties in their lives, such as depression, disability, homelessness or alcoholism. There was no unanimity as to what social work is. We may conclude that: • There are competing definitions of social work • Social work has a number of wider social functions • The function of social work is highly contested • Social work plays an important function in social integration • Social work may fulfil a social control function • Social work is expected to address the failure of social policies” As a social worker you would usually specialise in either working with children and families, or working to support adults. If you work with young people and families, you may be based in the community or in a children’s care home. Your work would involve: • helping parents who cannot cope with bringing up their child • protecting children believed to be at risk • arranging foster homes or adoption for children who cannot be cared for by their own families • settling children into their new home • working with young offenders in the community • supporting young people leaving care • helping families stay together, perhaps by giving advice on parenting, or drug and alcohol abuse. The activities of a social worker supporting adults can include:
• • • • •

visiting hospitals and care facilities to asses the social and emotional needs of patients and their families helping clients adjust to living with an illness or disability assessing needs of people in the community creating care plans to help people remain living safely and independently at home working with other health professionals to decide how best to care for people with mental health problems.

For both types of social work your main aim would be to help people overcome barriers to communication and achieve their goals. You would also need to decide whether it was best for people to remain in their own home, or move into a care setting. Core Principles Of Social Work A number of core principles have been identified as underpinning social work, but are in reality easily reclassified as definitions: • It is a problem-solving activity • The focus is on the whole of a person’s/family’s life, their social support network, their neighbourhood and community • The value system is based on human and civil rights 1

when this is not possible. Seven Core Components a) Understanding the dynamic between the individual and the social b) Social work and social justice c) The transformatory significance of the relationship d) The enabling role of social work e) The therapeutic role of social work f) The management of risk to both the community and the individual g) The evidence base for social work practice 2 . All these selective. expertise and experience to maximise their capacities. 2005) concluded that social work has been seen to incorporate all of the following tasks: • counsellor or caseworker. rights and choices. including participation in education. social work has always sought to adapt to the social and individual needs of a rapidly changing demographic. employment. families or groups are facing a major and often life changing problem or challenge. and. • assessor of risk and of need. These are now briefly described and discussed. Social work is a problem-solving activity. family and community. • agent of social control. but typical examples illustrate the impossibility of reaching one comprehensive. A recent review of The tasks and roles of social workers carried out for the Scottish Executive. and promoting the exercise of their rights and responsibilities as citizens One common characteristic of all the above examples is an explicit acknowledgement of the interrelationship between social work and the context in which the task of social work is carried out. We have summarised below the key characteristics of conceptualisations of the social task into seven core components. Social work is usually needed when individuals.• The social model is the framework for practice • Social workers work with individuals. Social work has a specific focus on: • promoting people’s ability to maximize their own capabilities and life options. families. • helping people to create and maintain independence. uncontested definition of social work. economic and social structure. • advocate. social and leisure activities. training. However social work’s capacity for adaptability and responsiveness can be seen as a powerful strength. • care manager. In contrast to many other professional groups. and • protecting people’s human rights. groups or communities to define together the outcomes they are seeking • The process and the relationship are a core part of the service and can represent a service in itself • The purpose of social work is to increase the life chances and opportunities of people using services by building on their strengths. • developing people’s ability to form positive relationships within their family and their social network. ( Asquith et al. Social workers help individuals and families to achieve the outcomes they want in the ways they prefer. carried out by the worker through relationships with the individual. to benefit from alternative forms of support that protect their dignity.

The Social Work Profession True or False 1.S. distance learning social work degree courses are also usually only open to those already in a social work setting. military. True | False 3. Social work as a profession is of a steady size. On an approved course. Not all counselors are social workers. Part-time social work degree courses are often only available to you if you are working in a relevant job. Computers have changed social work. True | False 2. True | False 5. True | False 3 . However. Working within a local authority social services department. True | False 4. People who pursue social work careers should plan on being happy but poor all their lives. you should check with course providers as entry criteria may vary. which gives you the flexibility and skills to meet employers' needs. or with a charity or voluntary organisation. Working within the private sector. and reflect on your own practice. you will study areas such as: • • • • • • principles of equality and social justice understanding discrimination and oppression social structure and social policy legal framework of social work human growth and development communication skills and partnership working. develop your skills with clients. just as many are being created. Many approved courses train you to work with all service user groups. or adults. you can specialise in working with children and families. the highest paid social workers are those who work for the federal government and in the U. but many social workers are counselors. Social work is one of the smallest professions in the United States. As a qualified social worker. According to some surveys.The Training you need to become a social worker During social work training you will divide your time between university and supervised work placements. your work is likely to be more specialised and focused on supporting a specific group. True | False 6. You will also have the opportunity to observe qualified social workers. In a similar way. who have the support of their employer. Although some positions are being eliminated. Social work degrees usually take three years' full-time to complete. you are likely to have the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients from a variety of backgrounds.

It is a contradiction for a social worker to be a political conservative. work and community life. TRUE Social work agencies almost all use computers to keep their records. Social workers enhance individuals' mental health by helping them participate more fully in relationships. 4. True | False 11. True | False 13. they are solidly in the middle. and over $30. there are over one half million people who are called social workers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Social welfare history can be traced for at least four hundred years. social welfare services have existed for as long as human society. True | False 17. 5. Most social workers are employed by one agency throughout their careers.TRUE A survey of National Association of Social Workers members shows that social workers who are employed by the federal government and the military are the highest paid in the profession. plan their work with clients. Social workers play a vital role in addressing the many forms of violence in society. True | False 8.000 per year with bachelor's degrees. For many social workers. It is not important for American social workers to learn foreign languages. those that become social workers should expect to live at very low levels because social work salaries are extremely low compared to fields such as teaching.000 per year after several years of experience and work in a field that is relatively high paying. True | False Answers: 1. True | False 14. Although social work is an enjoyable and rewarding profession.7. such as social administration. 3. True | False 12. Computer literacy is an important qualification for social work students. Beginning social workers can expect to earn over $20. FALSE Although social work jobs are not the highest paying in the United States. True | False 15. employers and colleagues in other fields of practice. Probably. in some instances. which range from bullying to physical and emotional abuse through to torture and war. Professional liability insurance of some kind is important for all social workers to have.000 by 2000. who are also often social workers. law enforcement. social workers do not ordinarily have the ability to earn extremely large amounts of money through business efforts. to conduct interviews through automated systems. Many social workers earn over $100. True | False 16. the important part of the job is organizing people to solve larger social problems. That number is expected to grow by another 100. True | False 9. social work salaries are comparable to those of professionals in similar fields. social work is one of the most rapidly growing of all professions. and psychology.000 per year with master's degrees. However. 2. The net increase between now and 2005 is likely to be about 25 percent.FALSE Actually. many more social work jobs are created. Of course. 4 . as some entrepreneurs may. and. FALSE According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. True | False 10. There are also hundreds of other people in fields such as human services work. Anyone who has a kind heart can be a social worker. Each year. The role of social work is well understood and does not need to be promoted with members of the public.

if one is sued for professionally improper work or behavior. Many social workers qualify for membership in counseling and therapy organizations such as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. 7. 5 . 17. FALSE Social work salaries are solidly in the middle range of payment for those who work with people. Some kind of coverage--malpractice insurance. TRUE Professional liability insurance provides legal representation and help in paying damages. False. TRUE Grassroots organizing is often an important role for social workers. 8. therefore. TRUE. 9. However. liability coverage with one's automobile or homeowner's policy. FALSE Many social work clients speak Spanish.FALSE Most social workers usually change jobs at least once or twice--and many more often than that--during their social work careers. TRUE 15. The role of social work is generally not well understood. TRUE The 1601 Elizabethan Poor Laws are clear forerunners of modern-day social welfare programs. 11. FALSE. 16. traces of much earlier social welfare programs can be found in the history of England and most other nations and societies. A social worker who can use languages other than English may be qualified for more specialized employment than other social workers might be. 10. social work is not identified with any political party or ideology. Sometimes they are lower and sometimes higher but social work salaries are competitive with the salaries in similar kinds of work for people with similar credentials and educations. master's or doctoral level. and various Asian languages. FALSE Social workers believe in helping people overcome their problems. and couples. 13. all kinds of solutions to several problems can work and. there are many ways to do so and conservative political thinkers propose ways that are different than liberal thinkers. groups. families. TRUE Social workers all learn some principles of counseling or direct practice with individuals. 14. However. 12. Social welfare is a natural outgrowth of human society.6. are all important for a social worker in any field of practice. Social workers are highly skilled professionals who have a university degree in social work at the bachelor's. especially those who are working for social improvement. or some other kind of support. as a profession. However. Helping people organize to help themselves is part of the basic tradition of social work. French.