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Article

Sustainable Development  

Sudershan Pasupuleti, Susheelabai R. Srinivasa, and Ram Shepherd Bheenaveni

The World Commission on Environment and Development’s report, “Our Common Future,” explicitly outlines social and ecological justice as vital and inherent parts of the idea of sustainable development. The global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offers social workers the chance to reframe their position in the areas of people empowerment, socioeconomic development, human rights, and environmental protection. Social work practices are based on social justice conceptual framework. Social workers who follow social justice concepts examine all their assisting efforts through the lenses of equality, fairness, and egalitarianism. In general, social work problem-solving techniques are not only compatible with ecological approaches to sustainability, but also provide much-needed social justice awareness. The article attempts to analyze and correlate the imperative aspects of “idea of ecological justice” and “concept of sustainability” to frame and offer appropriate and progressive social work interventions for common future for all within the framework of SDGs.

Article

Technology Transfer  

Pranab Chatterjee, Heehyul Moon, and Derrick Kranke

The term technology transfer was first used widely during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations when the role of the United States in relation to developing countries was being formed. At that time, it meant knowledge transfer from the rich countries to the poor countries. In social work, the idea is important in efforts of community organization, community development, and social development. It is also an important idea in direct practice. Technology in these practice settings means the application of a basic social science toward facilitating one or more given ends that benefit human beings. Technology transfer means the passing on of such applied knowledge from one discipline or specialty to another. The application of technology transfer also requires understanding of the cultural setting where it originates as well as of the setting where it is imported for local use.

Article

The Juvenile Legal System  

Jeffrey Shook and Sara Goodkind

This article is intended to describe the juvenile court and highlight key challenges facing the court and the juvenile legal system today. Social workers were instrumental in the creation and implementation of the juvenile court at the beginning of the 20th century and remain highly involved today. Understanding the juvenile court and its role in society is essential for the field. The article begins with an overview of the history of the juvenile court, focusing on its early decades and then three subsequent periods—1960–1980, 1980–2000, and 2000–2020. It then turns to the structure of the court and provides a brief description of its caseload before ending with a number of challenges facing the court.

Article

Torture  

S. Megan Berthold

Although state-sponsored torture violates human rights and international law, it is a widespread practice worldwide. The effects are profound and extend beyond the targeted individual. This entry will explore the debate surrounding different definitions of torture and examine who is targeted for torture and why, as well as the wide range of effects of torture on individuals, families, and communities. Factors that contribute to the resilience of torture survivors will be identified. The various roles that social workers can play with this population will be outlined and common assessment and intervention approaches utilized by social workers with torture survivors will be discussed.

Article

Transgender People  

M. J. Gilbert

In this entry, transgender is defined in the context of ethnomethodology and social construction of gender. A history of the role of transgender people in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights movement is presented, including tensions concerning the role of transgender people in this movement. Issues regarding social work practice related to transgender issues on the micro, mezzo, macro, and meta levels are discussed.

Article

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors and Migrant Youth: Policy and Practices in the United States  

Robert G. Hasson III, Jodi Berger Cardoso, and Thomas M. Crea

Children and adolescents fleeing war, hardship, or natural disasters sometimes migrate to the United States without a parent or caregiver present. These children, classified by the U.S. Government as unaccompanied alien children (UAC), present unique needs based on previous exposure to trauma, including family separation. UAC who are not able to be reunited with family members are typically placed in the federally sponsored Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) foster care program. However, a majority of unaccompanied migrant youth are not served by the URM foster care program. An overview of the defining characteristics of unaccompanied refugee minors and unaccompanied migrant youth (UMY) is given along with the history of legislation and policies related to URM and UMY, the pathways in the U.S. immigration system URM and UMY encounter upon their arrival, mental health, legal, and education implications, and challenges with family reunification. Implications for the social work field are presented.

Article

Undocumented Migrants and Detention Facilities  

Jelka Zorn

Being undocumented does not mean being without ties to one’s host society: undocumented immigrants might work and have family and friends; they might be active in community life, etc. However, due to a lack of formal status, they are vulnerable to detention and deportation. Instead of vilifying migrants for their irregular situation, the article sees immigration controls as a source of unjust policies and practices. Immigrant detention means administrative imprisonment without the normal due process safeguards commonly demanded in liberal democracies. Its consequences are separated families and broken individuals. Social work is seen as a profession developing ethical considerations and arguments to advocate for the right to belong to an organized political community, the right to social security, and the right to personal liberties being applicable to all people, regardless of their immigration status.

Article

Unemployment Insurance  

Larry Nackerud and Lauren Ricciardelli

This entry addresses unemployment insurance as the cornerstone of the Social Security Act of 1935 and, accordingly, as a cornerstone of the modern U.S. social welfare system. After providing a brief historical background of the Unemployment Insurance program, including key ties to the social work profession, this entry provides information about underlying ideological perspectives, and about program design and implementation. Key considerations are discussed with regard to the impact of the economic downturn and the global COVID-19 pandemic on unemployment insurance using a Keynesian framework. Finally, a discussion is offered pertaining to the legacy and possible reform of the Unemployment Insurance program.

Article

Urban Planning and Social Work  

Laurie A. Walker

Urban neighborhood disinvestment in the United States resulted in deferred maintenance of buildings and common social problems experienced by residents. Strategies to redevelop neighborhoods include collaboration among many subsystems seeking to collectively invest in places and people. Contemporary federal initiatives focus on incentivizing coordinated investments between existing local community-based organizations, local and federal government, and private investors. Public–private partnerships include anchor institutions with commitments to the long-term success of place-based initiatives who invest their financial, intellectual, social, and political capital. Social workers are embedded in local community-based organizations and relationships with residents in neighborhoods experiencing redevelopment. Social workers can help guide top-down and bottom-up approaches to neighborhood revitalization toward more equitable and inclusive processes and outcomes. Resident engagement in redeveloping neighborhoods takes many forms and requires differing skill sets for social workers. Urban redevelopment is a global trend with common critiques regarding relying on gentrification and market-driven strategies with private investors.

Article

Veteran Services in Macro Practice  

Leora Shudofsky and Amanda Matteson

This article presents an overview of veteran services, including the definition of a veteran as it relates to eligibility for services and a range of veteran services are described. Background information includes a brief history of social workers in the military and in veteran services. Social workers practice in many macrolevel areas where social justice issues in veteran services are addressed, such as administration and management, community practice, and policy. Social workers who understand the challenges and trends in veteran services are better positioned to make an impact. Future implications for macro social work practice include integrating curriculum into schools of social work, building transition programs, collaborating in community health, normalizing mental health treatment, and working on policy enactment along with many other areas where social workers can make an impact on the well-being of veteran communities.

Article

Violence  

Sheara A. Williams

Violence is a serious social issue that affects millions of individuals, families, and communities every year. It transcends across racial, age, gender, and socioeconomic groups, and is considered a significant public health burden in the United States. The purpose of this entry is to provide an overview of violence as a broad yet complicated concept. Definitional issues are discussed. Additional prevalence rates of select types of violence are presented in addition to risk and protective factors associated with violent behavior. The entry concludes with a summary of approaches to address violence in the context of prevention and intervention strategies.

Article

Voter Participation  

Lorraine C. Minnite and Frances Fox Piven

Compared to other rich, capitalist democracies in the contemporary era, the United States has a record of low voter turnout. Even as the right to vote was finally won by African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement a century after racial discrimination in voting was formally banned by the Civil War Amendments, voter turnout has failed to reach levels achieved in the late nineteenth century. Scholars offer two strong explanations for this. Some argue that the voting process has been encumbered by procedures that make actual voting difficult. Others favor an alternative explanation that voters must be mobilized by political parties and other activist groups. The dynamic interplay of electoral rules and political action have mobilized and demobilized the American electorate since the 1970s. Recent collective initiatives of social work faculty and practitioners in promoting nonpartisan voter registration campaigns are central to social work’s core values and social justice mission.

Article

Welfare Rights  

David Stoesz and Catherine Born

American social and economic justice advocates, social workers included, have struggled to establish a national mindset that welfare is a right, a duty owed to the people by government, not a privilege that can be revoked at will. Industrialized nations with a universalistic, rights-based philosophy have strived to provide citizens with some measure of a basic, minimum income; the United States has not, yet. The United States has been hobbled by ideology; a two-tier system consisting of assistance and insurance; and cultural misgivings about direct, ongoing public payments (welfare) to the poor. Revitalization of a national welfare rights movement, early signals from the Biden administration, and awareness that major social policy changes most often happen at times of crisis offer reasons for a degree of optimism. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath are a moment in time—an inflection point—when social workers, because of their training, ethical codes, skill sets, and appreciation of the lessons of social welfare history, could play a key role in charting a new course of action suited to 21st-century needs and realities.

Article

White Supremacy  

Tracy Whitaker, Lauren Alfrey, Alice B. Gates, and Anita R. Gooding

The concept of White supremacy is introduced and its impact on society and the social work profession is examined. The ideological and historical foundations of Whiteness in the United States are summarized, and an overview is provided of the legal supports that codified White supremacist ideas into structural racism. White supremacy’s influence on social work is discussed, with an emphasis on language and concepts, history, pedagogy, and organizations. Critical theory and practice frameworks are explored as responses to White supremacy. The limitations of social work’s responses and specific implications for macro social work are discussed.

Article

Womanism and Domestic Violence  

Selena T. Rodgers

Domestic violence is a public health problem shown to inflict severe mental and physical injury on millions of individuals and has considerable social costs. Absent from the literature is an examination of womanism ideologies, which provide a greater understanding of the full praxis that black women who experience domestic violence engage. Drawing from initial conceptualizations of womanism and later contributions of Africana womanism, this article brings into focus pervasive acts of violence perpetrated against black women, their racial loyalty to protect black men, and the limitations of existing domestic violence models and interventions. This entry addresses how these three interconnected areas are treated within the conceptual framework of womanism. An overview of violence against black women reveals the historical and contemporary forms of knowledge and praxis that have sought to overcome the social problem of intimate partner abuse, including the social construction of controlling images and the Power and Control Wheel (The Duluth Model). This entry also examines the prevalence of violence perpetrated against black women and compounding factors. In addition, this author considers the Violence Against Women Act and its consequences on laws and policies that affect the race, gender, and class experiences of black women coping with domestic violence. Also analyzed is the quintessential role of demographics, the culture of domestic violence, and international debates about womanism, including how black women intellectuals are prioritizing race-empowerment perspectives and a reference point to articulate healthy black relationships are prioritized. The article also reviews social work practice with black women victims/survivors of domestic violence and their families.

Article

Women, Development, and Gender Inequality  

Lena Dominelli

Women have a lengthy history of fighting their oppression as women and the inequalities associated with this to claim their place on the world stage, in their countries, and within their families. This article focuses on women’s struggles to be recognized as having legitimate concerns about development initiatives at all levels of society and valuable contributions to make to social development. Crucial to their endeavors were: (1) upholding gender equality and insisting that women be included in all deliberations about sustainable development and (2) seeing that their daily life needs, including their human rights, be treated with respect and dignity and their right to and need for education, health, housing, and all other public goods are realized. The role of the United Nations in these endeavors is also considered. Its policies on gender and development, on poverty alleviation strategies—including the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals—are discussed and critiqued. Women’s rights are human rights, but their realization remains a challenge for policymakers and practitioners everywhere. Social workers have a vital role to play in advocating for gender equality and mobilizing women to take action in support of their right to social justice. Our struggle for equality has a long and courageous history.

Article

Women: Overview  

Ruth A. Brandwein

This overview article introduces the topic of women, beginning with general demographic information. The section on poverty and inequality, which follows, describes the gender differences and delineates some reasons why women are poor and unequal. Issues of child care, welfare, and education are explored. Interpersonal violence and sexual trafficking are discussed, followed by a discussion of health and mental health issues affecting women, including access to health care. The role of women as well as women social workers in politics is briefly explored. Throughout, attention is paid to intersectionality. The article concludes with a discussion of current trends and challenges, with a brief examination of changes in policies affecting women from the Obama presidency to the end of the Trump administration in 2020, including implications for social justice, as well as implications for social work.

Article

Worker Centers  

Alice B. Gates

This article describes worker centers as new sites for macro social work practice. Incorporating elements of community, policy, and organizational practice, worker centers are community-based organizations focused on the needs of low-wage and otherwise vulnerable groups of workers. This new type of worker organization emerged most prominently in the United States in the mid-1990s, largely in response to concerns about workplace abuses in low-wage and informal sectors dominated by immigrant workers and workers of color. Since then, the impact and reach of worker centers has grown through their dispersion across the United States and the growth of national worker center networks. Drawing on multiple traditions, including labor unions, settlement houses, and ethnic agencies, worker centers offer a hybrid approach to planned change. They support workers organizing for collective action, provide direct services, and advocate for policy change at the local, state, and federal level. Since their emergence, worker centers have led the efforts to pass legislation protecting domestic workers and helped low-wage workers win millions of dollars in lost or stolen wages from employers. These and other notable examples of U.S. worker centers’ contributions to macro practice will be discussed.

Article

Worker Justice Campaigns  

Fred Brooks and Amanda Gutwirth

If one of the goals of macro social work in the United States is to decrease poverty and inequality, by most measures it has largely failed that mission over the past 40 years. After briefly documenting the four-decade rise in inequality and extreme poverty in the United States, three organizing campaigns are highlighted—living wage, Fight for $15, and strikes by public school educators—that fought hard to reverse such trends. A strategy, “bargaining for the common good,” which was implemented across those campaigns, is analyzed as a key ingredient to their success.

Article

Workers' Compensation  

Paul Terrell

Workers' Compensation is a form of social insurance financed and administered by each of the 50 states, the federal government (for federal workers), and the District of Columbia that protects workers and their families from some of the economic consequences of workplace-related accidents and illnesses.