Numerous hidden concerns have dominated the US for decades. They include large economic inequality, racism, resource overconsumption, and exacerbating the health of Americans. Social work can promote social, environmental, economic, and political justice if carried out professionally. This report considers some of the principles and components of social work. It utilizes the information extracted from the Field Education Course and interaction with a drug victim, Patrick, and an Appalachian man, Gary.
Doubtlessly, ethics and professionalism are critical components of any profession. For example, social workers must learn to take into account their own biases while dealing with people of different socio-cultural backgrounds. They must not express arrogancy and judgmental behavior during the process. For example, the moment when Gary talked about his childhood, namely, how his father whipped him, there was no objection to arguments against such a method of upbringing from my side. I understood that it was part of their local culture and how children were brought up in the Appalachian region.
Another essential principle in social work that must be followed is promoting diversity. Social workers need to recognize differences in the ethnic, cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds that people might have. Moreover, it is critical to promote diversity due to the unfair political-economic representation of individuals from minority groups (General Assembly, 2014). The two cases (of Gary and Patrick) allow grasping the problems that the underrepresented people deal with and their opinion on some of the political and social issues in the country. Gary faces frightening material poorness, due to which he is obliged to sell his produce and items on the side.
Advancing human rights is the responsibility of everyone, especially in places where human rights are violated. It includes engaging with marginalized social groups, such as racial, gender, sexual, and religious minorities, as well as the homeless, drug victims, and invalids.
In my Field Education Course, Gary discussed an existing gap between rural and urban life. The economic divide between city and village is striking and is a national issue that has to be tackled (Lichter & Ziliak, 2017). In addition, the man shared that he is delighted to live in such a picturesque place multiple times. Clearly, the nature around him contributes to his happiness and life satisfaction. Hence, as Suárez et al. (2020) demonstrated, the abundance and access to green space in urban and peri-urban areas significantly increase the well-being of communities and diminish environmental injustice experienced by local people.
Social workers must possess sufficient theoretical knowledge to perform practice effectively and responsibly. Crucially, the research that the social worker utilizes should be credible. It has to include information from practice, including details from implementation, insights from the process, and ethical challenges that have occurred (Long, 2018). For example, before starting to communicate with Patrick about crack addiction, the worker needs to complete prior research on this matter. The research would help to comprehend what the main causes of developing the addiction are, how crack affects the mental state and physical body, and what the differences are between this drug and others.
At times, to assist individuals and families with their struggles, social workers need to call for policy changes. As Cummins et al. (2011) point out, challenges in wider socio-economic systems require changes on the policy level. Social workers should learn to plan properly, how intervene, and consider multiple variants of how to improve a group’s wellbeing. For example, in the case of Gary, there is a need for policy intervention regarding pension to make his life easier and more economically abundant. As was already mentioned, he said that the money given by the government is not sufficient for him; therefore, he has to sell on the side.
The involvement of communities and social groups enables the discovery of existing yet hidden social problems at a certain place. Therefore, engaging with families, groups, and local organizations is vital, especially for places that require positive and progressive changes. Field Education Course allowed me to engage with individuals who provided me with unique knowledge of the socio-economic state of their area. Gary shared his childhood memories, particularly how he found himself in an economically disadvantaged area. He received no higher education and was struggling to find a job when he was 18. Patrick, in turn, spoke about the ways how drugs have a detrimental impact on the personal and financial aspects of his life.
The examination of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities should be carried out through appropriate methods and techniques. The assessment is a fundamental part of any social program as it is used to measure the client’s situation. The measurement would then become a basis for devising a support program for him or her. As a rule, a social work assessment is multidimensional and considers the clients’ health, education, relationships, economic state, and other spheres. Gary and Patrick discussed their lives from different angles, which is what is required for a professional assessment to establish the conditions they exist in.
Social workers’ interventions mitigate and eradicate psychological or physical problems that individuals, groups, and communities face. These interventions are predicated on building a plan based on previous observations, assessments, and research to achieve certain goals. The interventions have to be within the professional competency of the workers. If the need for psychological or medical help is evident, then intervention should be made. Overall, interventions are inevitable when dealing with problematic persons, such as those addicted to substances. In Patrick’s case, it is obvious how he destroys his life, ruining his dreams about marriage and forming a family with children. He cannot cope with his problems on his own, admitting that if he is given additional money (as a prize for the interview), he will spend it on drugs.
Evaluation of practice with individuals or groups measures the effectiveness of the practice. There are various methods of evaluation depending on the number of individuals, the practice’s objectives, and the longevity of achieving them (Bloom et al., 2014). The cases of Gary and Patrick, for example, require different types of assessment and intervention. For Patrick, the effectiveness of the intervention can be observed only after a year or several years of being involved in a social support program. For individuals suffering from drug addiction, there is always a chance to lose control and find a way to acquire another dose.
Overall, the examples of Gary and Patrick show some of the hidden social issues. Those problems must be combated, and social workers are professionals that can facilitate social, economic, and environmental justice. Therefore, it is critical for them to be knowledgeable of proper assessment, intervention, and evaluation processes to deliver and track positive changes.
Bloom M., Fischer J., Orme J. G. (2014). Evaluating Practice Guidelines for the Accountable Professional. Pearson Education
Cummins L.K., Byers K.V., Pedrick L.E. (2011). Policy Practice for Social Workers: New Strategies for a New Era. Allyn & Bacon.
General Assembly. (2014). Factors that impede equal political participation and steps to overcome those challenges. United Nations.
Lichter, D. T., & Ziliak, J. P. (2017). The rural-urban interface: New patterns of spatial interdependence and inequality in America. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 672(1), 6-25. Web.
Long, D. D. (2018). Practice-informed research: contemporary challenges and ethical decision-making. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 15(2).
Suárez, M., Barton, D. N., Cimburova, Z., Rusch, G. M., Gómez-Baggethun, E., & Onaindia, M. (2020). Environmental justice and outdoor recreation opportunities: A spatially explicit assessment in Oslo metropolitan area, Norway. Environmental Science & Policy, 108, 133-143. Web.