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Article

Cindy Sousa and Tamarah Moss

As social work continues the ongoing work of developing frameworks for community practice, globalization and the increase in multicultural societies make urgent the need to consult international models. Community practice must center attention on building and sustaining relationships; determining who defines need and who controls the practices within the social work cycle of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation; and maintaining community-centered practices that grapple with power dynamics in terms of status, resources, and culture. A learning approach is needed within international social work collaborations, characterized by an ethics of respect for sovereignty, cultural integrity, and the ways historical, political, cultural, and sociocultural contexts inform practice. Solidarity, authentic collaboration, and a respect for individual and collective autonomy and grassroots power are key features of community practice in international settings. The goal of the comparative perspective is for social workers to be better able to apply an international perspective to the building of theory and practice modalities within community practice.

Article

Priscilla A. Gibson, Janet Ananias, Rachel Freeman, and Namoonga Chilwalo

Social work and social policy are intertwined in the Republic of Namibia and heavily influenced by its complex colonial sociopolitical history, struggle for human rights, and progress toward social development. These factors inform how the social and human needs of Namibians are being met. A human rights lens was adopted in 1990 by a democratic government that guided the delivery of social services to a diverse ethnic population. Namibia has successfully integrated social work into its society, supported by (a) a social justice mandate, (b) a capacity-building framework, and (c) Vision 2030. Social and human service needs are provided naturally by indigenous families and communities, and formal services are provided by governmental and nongovernmental agencies. This article consists of an overview of the socio-historical and political contexts of social work and social policies in this emerging democracy, along with special attention to four challenging and interrelated areas of social work practice including poverty, language and national identity, intergenerational caregiving and the Coronavirus pandemic.

Article

Macro social work practice with immigrant organizations and communities in the United States requires a basic understanding of the underlying values and history of U.S. immigration laws and policy. U.S. immigration policy frequently reflects multiple and conflicting interests and values in labor needs, global politics, family unification, and national security, and policies often shift in response to political leadership, ideology, and public opinion. Some areas of the history of U.S. immigration laws and various macro social work approaches to U.S. immigration policy include (a) advocacy at local, state, and federal levels; (b) anti-immigrant legislation proposed at the state level; and (c) collaboration between grassroots organizations and local leaders to build policies and practices that support immigrants.

Article

Indigenous populations have experienced hundreds of years of historical trauma, systemic racism, and oppression since colonization began in the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Settler colonialism has created and continues to perpetuate historical and ongoing trauma and systemic racism in Indigenous populations. Despite considerable diversity and resilience among Indigenous populations globally, there is a clear pattern of significant disparities and disproportionate burden of disease compared to other non-Indigenous populations, including higher rates of poverty, mortality, substance use, mental health and health issues, suicide, and lower life expectancy at birth. Substantial gaps related to access to healthcare and service utilization exist, particularly in low-income Indigenous communities. Implementation and sustainment of White dominant-culture frameworks of care in Indigenous communities perpetuate these systems of oppression. Development and implementation of culturally informed services that address historical trauma and oppression, and systematically integrate concepts of resiliency, empowerment, and self-determination into care, are issues of policy as well as practice in social work. The co-creation and subsequent implementation, monitoring, and sustainment of effective systems of care with Indigenous populations are essential in addressing health disparities and improving outcomes among Indigenous populations globally.

Article

Silvia M. Chávez-Baray, Eva M. Moya, and Omar Martinez

Reproductive health endeavors in regard to prevention, treatment, and emerging disparities and inequities like lack of access to comprehensive and equitable reproductive health for immigrants and LGBTQ+ populations are discussed. Practice-based approaches for reproductive health justice and access care models, to advance reproductive justice, are included. Implications for macro social work practice and historical perspectives, practices, and social movements of reproductive health justice in the United States to promote reproductive health justice in the context of political, legal, health, and social justice efforts are salient to advance social justice.

Article

Lisa Reyes Mason, Susan P. Kemp, Lawrence A. Palinkas, and Amy Krings

Communities worldwide are facing environmental crises such as air pollution, water shortages, climate change, and other forms of environmental change and degradation. While technical solutions for environmental change are essential, so too are solutions that consider social acceptability, value cultural relevance, and prioritize equity and social justice. Social work has a critical and urgent role in creating and implementing macrolevel social responses to environmental change. The key concepts of environmental change, environmental and ecological justice, social vulnerability, and social responses are discussed. A description of the roles and skills unique to macro social workers for this effort is given, followed by examples of macrolevel strategies and interventions. Opportunities and directions for future social work responses to a changing environment are identified.

Article

Sheila P. Vakharia

Social workers are uniquely qualified to be effective drug policy advocates for effective and equitable policies through their commitment to advancing social welfare and promoting social justice. The prohibitionist antidrug policies that began at the turn of the 20th century have been a key driver for the criminalization of millions of Americans over time, a disproportionate number of whom have been people of color. The period beginning with President Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” in addition to contributing to inequality and marginalization, has exacerbated a number of public health and safety harms, suggesting that past policy approaches have not met their intended aims. The North American opioid overdose crisis in the early 21st century is presented as an illustrative case study because its persistence and mounting death toll exemplify the challenges with the current model of drug prohibition. Areas for macro social work interventions include legislative advocacy through lobbying, provision of expert testimony in legislative hearings, engagement in reform through litigation, involvement in social action, and performing policy analysis and research.

Article

Stephen Edward McMillin

Social innovation is not well understood within the context of macro-social work. Frameworks for understanding social innovation as having dimensions of social entrepreneurship, social intrapreneurship, and social advocacy are elaborated. Challenges to the comprehensive understanding and utility of social innovation for macro social work are discussed, especially an overemphasis on social entrepreneurship as the only typical expression of social innovation as well as a mistargeted, deficit-based approach which assumes that contemporary social work is dysfunctional and can only be made functional through social innovation and entrepreneurship. Global and multidisciplinary insights and applications of social innovation for macro social work are reviewed. Finally, how the macro-social work approach to social innovation builds on and advances business approaches to social innovation is discussed.

Article

Laurie A. Walker and Turquoise Skye Devereaux

Historical trauma originated with the social construction of subordinate group statuses through migration, annexation of land, and colonialism. The consequences of creating subordinate group statuses include genocide, segregation, and assimilation. Settler colonialism takes land with militaristic control, labels local inhabitants as deviant and inferior, then violently confines and oppresses the original occupants of the land. Confinement includes relocation, restriction of movement, settlement of lands required for sustenance, as well as confinement in orphanages, boarding schools, and prisons. Historical trauma includes suppression of language, culture, and religion with the threat of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Original inhabitant abuse often results in issues with health, mental health, substance abuse, and generational emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Culturally safe (engagement that respects identity) and trauma-informed social work practices acknowledge the systemic causes of disparities in groups experiencing marginalization and oppression and focus on healing and addressing systemic causes of disparities.

Article

The International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) is a nonprofit, volunteer membership association that advocates for effective group work education and practice. It was founded in 1979. Previously known as the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, the organization name was changed in 2012 to accurately recognize its global identity. IASWG has 21 chapters and numerous organizational and individual members. Through a series of programs and advocacy, it seeks to promote and support group work practitioners, scholars, academics, and students engaged in group work practice, education, field instruction, research, and publication. Key offerings include an annual 4-day international educational symposium, the creation and dissemination of the IASWG Standards for Social Work Practice with Groups, stimulation and support for innovative group work initiatives, sponsorship of Group Work Camps, and ongoing opportunities for scholarship and publication about group work.