SOCW 6361 Walden University Social Worker and Society Discussion Responses
Respond to a colleague with a suggestion about how to address these schisms, both historical situations and current but yet unidentified ones. Does social action need to be separate from social work practice?
Post an analysis of historical divides (such as the schism between Jane Addams and Mary Richmond) and historical influences on current social work practice with respect to policy advocacy and action.
As a Social Worker we are dedicated to fight for social justice, social change, and equal rights in the community. The social Work profession create policies and laws to advocate for these changes in the community. Jane Addams and Mary Richmond are social work pioneers that paved the way for these changes to occur.
Jane Addams was a social liberal who was known for her settlement house and hull houses in Chicago. She worked on a macro level to implement changes in the community, created laws, and policies for social justice (Allen, 2008). She created programs in the community for single mothers, immigrants, African Americans, and juveniles. These programs provided day care services, jobs, and education opportunities in the community (Paul, 2016).
In contrast Mary Richmond was known for her ability to organize communities,development of casework practice, and teaching a variety of social work subjects to educated others on the social work profession (Zaretsky, 1989). Mary Richmond wrote the book social diagnosis where she elaborates on person in environment (Zaretsky, 1989) .
Do such schisms exist in contemporary social work? If you think these divides exist, how do they prevent social workers from fulfilling their ethical obligation(s)? Are they important differentiations?
The social worker profession includes micro, mezzo, and macro practice which still cause a schism in the social work profession today (Hill, Ferguson, & Erickson, 2010).There are individuals who enter the social worker profession who is only interested in clinical setting, casework, or psychotherapy practice. Social workers in this day and time are not interested in social policy, community organizing, or other macro activities (Hill, Ferguson, & Erickson, 2010). This division can prevent social workers from fulfilling their ethical obligations. Social workers ethical principal is to challenge social injustice and address social problems in the community(NASW, 2017). This can be done by creating policies and becoming the voice others needs to fight social injustice. Macro level social work can address poverty, gun laws, discrimination in the workplace or housing, which micro level will address counseling for the family or individual instead of creating policies to help the family and others with the situation to prevent it from happening again. There need to be more training and networking on macro level social work to get individuals involved in policy making and community organizing.
Allen, J. D. (2008). Jane Adams (1860-1935): Social Worker and Peace Builder. Social Worker and Society International Online Journal, 6(2), 1–4. Retrieved from http://www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/68/370
Hill, K., Ferguson, S., & Erickson, C. (2010). Sustaining and Strengthening a Macro Identity: The Association of Macro Practice Social Work. Journal of Community Practice, 18(4), 513–527. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/107…
National Association of Social Workers. (2017). NASW code of ethics. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of…
Paul, C. A. (2016). Jane Addams (1860-1935). Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved from http://socailwelfare.library.vcu.e-du/settlement-h…
Zaretsky E. (1989) Mary Richmond and the Origins of Social Casework in America. In: Close P. (eds) Family Divisions and Inequalities in Modern Society. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-09337-3_10
Jane Addams and Mary Richmond, though different, were important figures in the development of the social work profession we practice today. Jane Addams believed that social conditions were the main factor for poverty and welfare concerns of the people. She thought society was responsible for taking care of its members and advocated for social policies that would help the poor and underserved populations. Mary Richmond believed the opposite; individuals were responsible for their plight. To fix the situation, you needed to rehabilitate the individual. This belief is what led to Mary Richmond being credited with the development and importance of casework. Both of these ladies were advocates for the people, they just approached the situation from different areas. Jane Addams worked more on a macro level by trying to change society while Mary Richmond worked on a micro/mezzo level with individual clients to improve their well-being and life situation.
Schisms in social work practice do still exist today. According to the NASW Code of Ethics (2013), it is a social worker’s ethical responsibility to address social injustice and social problems. Many believe this should be accomplished by advocating for social justice and policy change when necessary. Jacobson (2001)states that it is important that social workers continue to be trained to become clinical practitioners to provide therapy to individuals, but it is also important to remember that therapy does not cure poverty itself. Though providing therapy and working with individuals does fulfill a social worker’s ethical obligation, it does not solve problems on a macro level. Macro-level social work is important because it puts the policies in place that can be used to help our clients.
In today’s society, we are firmly divided into sides. People are making their beliefs known and asking for social change in areas such as racism, gender identification, and same-sex relationships. I believe this makes macro social work the most important area for social workers to focus their efforts. The NASW Code of Ethics (2013) believes this as well when it states that social workers have a responsibility to address societal problems, but it also states that this advocacy should occur” from local to global levels”. This can involve creating public involvement in social change and expanding opportunities and choices available to disadvantaged populations.