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Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS)
Social Work Competencies
The nine Social Work Competencies are listed below. Programs may
add competencies that are consistent with their mission and goals
and respond to their context. Each competency describes the knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that comprise
the competency at the generalist level of practice, followed by a set of
practice behaviors that integrate these components. Practice behaviors represent
observable components of the competencies, while the preceding statements represent the underlying content and processes that inform the behaviors.
Competency 1–Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
Social workers understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulations that may impact practice at the
micro and macro levels. Social workers understand frameworks of ethical decisionmaking and how to apply principles of critical thinking to those frameworks in
practice, research, and policy arenas. Social workers recognize personal values and
the distinction between personal and professional values. They also understand
how their personal experiences and affective reactions influence their professional
judgment and behavior. Social workers understand the profession’s history, its mission, and the roles and responsibilities of the profession. Social workers recognize
the importance of life-long learning and are committed to continually updating
their skills to ensure they are relevant and effective. Social workers also understand emerging forms of technology and the ethical use of technology in social
work practice. Social workers:
1a. make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of
Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making,
ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to
context;
1b. use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations;
1c. demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written,
and electronic communication;
1d. use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and
1e. use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.
Competency 2–Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
Social workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the
human experience and are critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of
diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including but not
limited to age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression,
immigration status, marital status, physical and mental ability, political ideology, race,
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status. Social workers
understand that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may
include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege,
power, and acclaim. Social workers also understand the forms and mechanisms of
oppression and discrimination and recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures
and values, including social, economic, political, and cultural exclusions, may oppress,
marginalize, alienate, or create privilege and power. Social workers:
2a. apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro and macro levels;
2b. present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as
experts of their own experiences; and
2c. apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal
biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.
Competency 3–Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and
Environmental Justice
Social workers understand that every person regardless of position in society has
fundamental human rights such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard
of living, health care, and education. Social workers understand the global interconnections of oppression and human rights violations, and are knowledgeable
about theories of justice and strategies to promote social and economic justice
and human rights. Social workers understand strategies designed to eliminate
oppressive structural barriers to ensure that social goods and responsibilities are
distributed equitably and that civil, political, environmental, economic, social, and
cultural human rights are protected. Social workers:
3a. apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to
advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and
3b. engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.
Competency 4–Engage in Practice-Informed Research and ResearchInformed Practice
Social workers understand quantitative and qualitative research methods and their
respective roles in advancing a science of social work. Social workers know the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social
workers understand that evidence that informs practice derives from multi-disciplinary
sources. They also understand the processes for translating research findings into
effective practice. Social workers:
4a. use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research;
4b. engage in critical analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and
research findings; and
4c. use and translate research findings to inform and improve practice, policy, and
service delivery.
(Continued)
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AN INTRODUCTION TO
THE PROFESSION OF
SOCIAL
WORK
Becoming A Change Agent
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Empowerment Series
AN INTRODUCTION TO
THE PROFESSION OF
SOCIAL
WORK
Becoming A Change Agent
5TH EDITION
Elizabeth A. Segal
Arizona State University
Karen E. Gerdes
Arizona State University
Sue Steiner
California State University Chico
Australia • Brazil • Mexico • Singapore • United Kingdom • United States
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Empowerment Series: An Introduction to
the Profession of Social Work: Becoming
A Change Agent, Fifth Edition
Elizabeth A. Segal, Karen E. Gerdes, and
Sue Steiner
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© 2016, 2013, 2010 Cengage Learning
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Printed in the United States of America
Print Number: 01
Print Year: 2014
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Contents
Preface
CHAPTER 1
xvii
What Is Social Work?
1
Social Work as a Profession
Who Are Social Workers?
2
3
BOX 1.1: More About … Social Work
Social Work Education
5
6
BOX 1.2: More About … Social Work Education Criteria
BOX 1.3: What Do You Think? 6
Central Concepts and Theories
6
7
Person in Environment Concept 7
Theoretical Basis for Social Work Practice
7
BOX 1.4: What Do You Think? 11
BOX 1.5: More About … NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice
The Power of Language
BOX 1.6: Point of View 16
BOX 1.7: What Do You Think?
13
17
Social Work Values and Ethics
18
Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibilities
19
BOX 1.8: Ethical Practice … Helping Clients 20
BOX 1.9: From the Field: Herman’s Rights or Worker Safety?
BOX 1.10: What Do You Think? 21
Social Work Careers
13
20
21
Child Welfare: Working with Children and Their Families
People Who Are Older 22
Health Care/Medical Social Work 22
Mental Health 22
School Social Work 23
Substance Abuse 23
Violence, Victims, and Criminal Justice 23
Crisis, Trauma, and Disasters 24
Military Social Work 24
Public Welfare 24
Community Organization 24
Policy Practice 25
21
v
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
vi
CONTENTS
Management/Administration 25
Rural Social Work 25
International Social Work 25
Is Social Work for You?
26
Personal Characteristics Suited to Social Work Practice
Social Workers as Change Agents 28
BOX 1.11: Becoming a Change Agent
BOX 1.12: What Do You Think? 29
29
Choosing Social Work as a Career
Conclusion
CHAPTER 2
26
29
30
The History of the Social Welfare System and the Social Work
Profession 37
How the Social Welfare System Helps People
BOX 2.1: What Do You Think?
The History of U.S. Social Welfare
Colonial Period
39
41
41
42
Values Reflecting the Colonial Period
Pre–Civil War Period
42
43
Values Reflecting the Pre–Civil War Period
The Civil War and Post–Civil War Period
43
43
Values Reflecting the Civil War and Post–Civil War Period
The Progressive Era
44
44
Values Reflecting the Progressive Era 45
The Great Depression and the New Deal
45
Values Reflecting the Great Depression and the New Deal
World War II and the Postwar Economy
Values Reflecting World War II and the Postwar Economy
The Social Reform Years
48
48
Values Reflecting the Social Reform Years
The Retrenchment Years
47
47
49
49
Values Reflecting the Retrenchment Years
50
Social Welfare in the New Millennium: Terrorism, War, Financial Struggles,
and Recovery 50
Values Influencing the New Millennium
BOX 2.2: Becoming a Change Agent 52
Major Social Welfare Programs
Cash Assistance Programs
In-Kind Benefit Programs
BOX 2.3: What Do You Think?
51
52
54
55
56
The History of the Social Work Profession
57
Charity Organization Societies 57
BOX 2.4: More About … Mary Richmond 58
Settlement Movement 58
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
CONTENTS
BOX 2.5: More About … Jane Addams
vii
59
Values, Social Welfare, and Social Work
62
Are Recipients Worthy or Unworthy? 62
Religious Values or Separation of Church and State
BOX 2.6: Ethical Practice … Abortion
63
63
Should We Change the Person or the System? 64
Impartial Professional or Advocate 64
Helping People We Know or Helping Strangers 64
Crisis or Ongoing Need 64
BOX 2.7: What Do You Think?
Conclusion
CHAPTER 3
65
65
Poverty and Economic Disparity
Defining Poverty
69
70
BOX 3.1: What Do You Think?
71
The Official Definition of Poverty
Who Is Poor in America? 72
The Causes of Poverty
71
73
Values and Blaming the Victim
74
BOX 3.2: From the Field: The Faces of Poverty
BOX 3.3: What Do You Think? 76
Employment and Income Levels
Jobs 76
Income Distribution
Race
75
76
77
78
The Costs of Poverty
79
Homelessness and Housing
Personal Costs 81
79
The Roles of Social Workers
81
BOX 3.4: Becoming a Change Agent
Social Welfare Programs
82
83
Supplemental Security Income 83
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 83
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 86
Psychosocial Interventions
Advocacy 87
86
BOX 3.5: Ethical Practice … Self-Sufficiency or Neglect?
Conclusion
CHAPTER 4
88
88
Human Rights and Social and Economic Justice
What Is Social Justice?
95
97
Social Work’s Mandate for Social Justice
Barriers to Social Justice 98
98
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
viii
CONTENTS
BOX
BOX
BOX
BOX
4.1:
4.2:
4.3:
4.4:
More About … Oppression and Violence 100
What Do You Think? 101
Becoming a Change Agent 102
From the Field: Doing My Civic Duty 105
Explanations of Social Injustice
106
Biological Determinism 106
The Socialization Process 107
Psychological Perspectives 107
Sociological Perspectives 108
Models of Intergroup Relations
Overcoming Social Injustice
108
110
Civil Rights 110
Protection from Discrimination 110
Civil Rights for Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, and Transgender Persons
Hate Crimes Prevention Act 113
Affirmative Action 113
Immigration Rights 115
Social Work Roles in Fighting Social Injustice
112
116
BOX 4.5: More About … Social Work’s Commitment to Social Justice 116
BOX 4.6: Ethical Practice … Social Justice 117
Social Justice and Civil Rights in the Twenty-First Century
Conclusion
CHAPTER 5
117
118
Dimensions of Diversity
123
Social Construction of Differences
Diversity in the United States
Historical Background
124
126
128
Exploration and Colonization 128
Forced Relocation and Enslavement 129
Expansion into Mexico 129
Immigration 129
Refugee Status 130
Undocumented or Unauthorized Immigrants
Implications for Social Work …
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