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Outcome Measures in Human Services  

Bruce Friedman and Rosario Olivera

The field of social work transformed over time from providing relief to less fortunate individuals to a sophisticated profession that looks at evidence-based measures to deliver change. This has been possible by looking at accountability aspects to demonstrate improvement by addressing performance outcomes resulting from interventions. Outcomes operate on all levels from micro to mezzo to macro, and the skills needed include identifying who is being served and the specific goals to be achieved. This article introduces the use of a logic model as a way to explain interventions and outcomes on a short-term, intermediate term, and long-term basis. The section also describes current measures being used to demonstrate how outcomes are used to justify the practice.


Philanthropic Foundations  

Marcus Lam and Helmut K. Anheier

Foundations are private institutions for public benefit. With a long history that reaches back to antiquity, inside the United States and globally, foundations are a growing organizational form that policy makers increasingly view with both potential (as a source of private funds to complement government services) and caution (given their autonomy and low level of accountability). Alongside the rise in commerce and finance, foundations experienced an initial growth period in the late Middle Ages and a second in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, following the Industrial Revolution. Political stability, an increase in demand for social, educational, and cultural services of all kinds, and economic prosperity are certainly significant factors behind this growth. Since the dawn of the 21st century, foundations have remained the primary legal structure through which newly minted and emerging wealthy individuals practice their philanthropy. The foundation form, or some similar iteration, is growing not just in many Western democratic countries but even in communist and other political regimes such as China and Russia. The reason for this growth is the way in which foundations have been envisioned as instruments of welfare state reform in the broadest sense. This growth implies a more important role for foundations as providers of relief to those most in need, protectors of traditional institutions and the status quo, and, to a lesser extent, as change agents. In particular, this is apparent among the “new philanthropists” of the 21st century, drawn from technology entrepreneurs, who are more actively engaged in public policy.


Philanthropic Funding for Human Services  

Kirsten A. Grønbjerg

Of the 1.75 million tax-exempt organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service in April 2020, about one-third are human service nonprofits, including about 267,000 charities with about $371 billion in total combined revenues. In 2019, human service public charities (excluding private foundations) received an estimated $56 billion in charitable contributions. This represents 12% of all charitable contributions, and is about 21% of the combined revenues reported by the almost 270,000 registered human service public charities reporting financial information. While government funding is a major driving force for human service charities, philanthropic funding clearly is important as well. Securing such funding requires solid understanding of the fundraising process and dedicated time and effort. However, competition for donations (and fundraising expertise) appears to be growing across the board, with donations from individuals, United Way, and corporate contributions most at risk for human service charities. These trends in philanthropic funding reflect growing income inequality, which also impacts the scope and types of human services needed and is complicated even further by persistent racial disparities.



Andrew Dobelstein

Privatizing social services has taken a new turn as America enters the 21st century. Although it was once possible to separate private and public social services, the growing trend toward public–private partnerships has made such earlier distinctions meaningless since more and more private social services are supported with public money. There are advantages and disadvantages inherent in the mixing of public and private social services, but perhaps the greatest problem may be the support of a growing trend for all levels of government to dissociate themselves from their longstanding public social service responsibilities.


Program Implementation  

Rosalyn M. Bertram

For more than two decades, academic professional degree programs, as well as behavioral health, education, public health and social services have grappled with how to integrate the emerging science of implementation and evidence-based programs, policies or practices into their organizations and systems. During these initial decades of the 21st century, peer-reviewed journals such as Implementation Science, Implementation Research and Practice, and Global Implementation Research and Applications were established. Concurrently, special issues or sections of other journals are also adding to our knowledge of policy and program implementation as was as of academic program preparation and organizational development of a workforce versed in the implementation of effective, sustainable programs or practices. A recent study of this explosion of peer-reviewed outlets was published in Frontiers in Public Health. Organizations such as the Society of Implementation Research Collaboration and the Global Implementation Society offer international conferences as venues for interdisciplinary exploration and development of the science and practice of sound, sustainable implementation of effective policies, programs, or practices. Registries of evidence-based or supported programs are provided by Blueprints for Health Youth Development, the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse, and others. Guidance on program or practice selection implementation can be found through websites maintained by the Active Implementation Research Network, the Child and Family Evidence-Based Practice Consortium, the Franklin Porter Graham Child Development Institute’s National Implementation Research Network, the University of Maryland School of Social Work’s Institute for Innovation and Implementation and many other organizations.


Quality Assurance  

Karun K. Singh

Quality assurance (QA) is a widely accepted management function that is intended to ensure that services provided to consumers meet agreed-upon standards. Standards come from professional organizations, evidence-based practices, and public policies that specify outcomes for consumers. QA systems consist of measurement, comparison of findings to standards, and feedback to practitioners and managers. There is emerging, but limited, research that indicates QA can be an effective strategy for improving outcomes for consumers.


Social Enterprise  

Rukshan Fernando

Social enterprise is a management practice that integrates principles of private enterprise with social sector goals and objectives. Social enterprise is a relatively new type of social work macro practice and includes a variety of sustainable economic activities designed to yield social impact for individuals, families, and communities. Despite the increased popularity of social enterprise scholarship, social work is visibly absent from it. Social enterprise is a field that promises to harness the energy and enthusiasm of commercial entrepreneurship combined with macro practice to address many long-standing social issues. Despite being a popular practice phenomenon, empirical research on social enterprise is still quite nascent, indeed: only a few empirical articles on the subject have thus far appeared in academic journals, and even fewer in social work journals. This article provides an overview of social enterprise, and the potential for synergy between social enterprise, the social work profession, and education.


Social Entrepreneurship  

Cherése Novelle Godwin and Judith Crocker-Billingsley

Social entrepreneurship has emerged as a powerful catalyst in the contemporary era, marked by complex social dilemmas and pressing global issues. By transcending conventional business paradigms, social entrepreneurship redefines the entrepreneurial landscape, offering innovative and sustainable solutions to significant social, racial, and environmental challenges. Social entrepreneurs blend entrepreneurial principles with a steadfast commitment to beneficence, striving for profound, positive, equitable, anddeliberate social impact while achieving both professional and financial success. Adaptability, innovation, and resilience are key attributes that enable social entrepreneurs to navigate complex challenges, seeking transformative, systemic change to address and reshape societal issues. Collaborations across sectors amplify their impact, inspiring a new generation of changemakers to leverage business for positive, equitable, and sustainable social change in a world filled with both challenges and opportunities. Real-world case studies and empirical evidence help unravel the interplay between these pivotal components, illuminating their collective impact on driving transformative social change.


Social Innovation  

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.


Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Macro Social Work  

Monica Nandan and Gokul Mandayam

Social workers possess skills, values, and perspectives that enable them to practice as social innovators, intrapreneurs, and entrepreneurs. Given the complex, dynamic, and challenging contexts for social work practice, these strategies have become essential for social workers to continue creating social value and social good. The article Herein are described strategies, rationale for social workers to practice in a socially innovative, intrapreneurial, or entrepreneurial fashion; parallels between these strategies and social work practice; and a case is built for the social work curriculum to include content related to these strategies.


Social Planning  

Larry M. Gant and Lorraine Gutiérrez

Social planning emphasizes the application of rational problem-solving techniques and data-driven approaches to identify, determine, and help coordinate services for target populations. Social planning is carried out by a myriad of organizations—from federal agencies to community organizations—attempting to solve problems ranging from child welfare to aging.


Social Services  

Philip R. Popple

Formal or institutional social services began in the United States in the late 19th century as a response to problems that were rapidly increasing as a result of modernization. These services were almost entirely private until the Great Depression in the 1930s when the government became involved via provisions of the Social Security Act. Services expanded greatly, beginning in the 1960s when the federal government developed a system wherein services were supported by public funds but provided through contracts with private agencies. This trend has continued and expanded, resulting in a uniquely American system wherein private agencies serve as vehicles for government social service policy.


Social Welfare Expenditures  

Richard Hoefer

Understanding both public and private welfare expenditures is necessary to appreciate the full scope of a social welfare system. This entry examines spending in four major areas of social welfare policy (health, medical, and nutrition; retirement and disability insurance; income maintenance and welfare; and education), comparing the public and private sectors. While expenditures for both sectors are increasing, private expenditures are not increasing as a percentage of total costs, despite efforts to privatize social welfare. This may change in the future if military costs continue to siphon governmental costs away from social welfare expenditures.


Social Work Professional Organizations and Associations  

Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi, Michael M. Sinclair, Bradford W. Sheafor, and Puafisi Tupola

Professions are developed and maintained through various professional organizations and associations. As social work has evolved in terms of context and content, the professional membership and professional education organizations have periodically unified, separated, and later reunified in the attempt to maintain an identity as a single profession, yet respond to the needs and interests of different practice specialties, educational levels, special interest groups within social work, and diverse cultures and communities. There are approximately 40 known social work organizations and associations across the country, which recognizes the continuous important contributions of emerging groups and entities that represent the diversity that exists in the profession and the diverse critical issues that warrant a timely response. Some of these organizations and associations experience sustained growth and national presence, while others remain on the local level or are no longer active. A few examples of these major social work organizations and associations are described herein.


Strategic Planning  

Mark Chupp, Jennifer R. Madden, and John A. Yankey

Strategic planning is a key management process for nonprofit organizations and is a collaborative methodology for addressing complex community needs. With its increased use and popularity, variations in approaches have emerged that contribute to confusion and skepticism about the value of strategic planning. Social workers practice in increasingly complex and constantly changing environments. Such environments require a well-designed and facilitated strategic planning process to manage the inevitable change.



Lawrence Shulman

The article addresses the four major content areas of supervision, including direct practice, professional impact, job management, and continued learning. It also examines supervision models and current challenges including the adoption of evidenced-based practices, a movement away from process supervision, supervision of social workers by other professionals, advances in technology, inter and intra-cultural issues, and changes in the NASW Code of Ethics.


Technology: Technology in Micro Practice  

Jerry Finn

Online therapy is the delivery of supportive and therapeutic services over the Internet. Online therapy offers the advantages of convenience and increased access to services. Service delivery may be problematic due to ethical concerns and legal liability. Limited research supports the efficacy of online therapy for a variety of health and social concerns. Increased use of the Internet by consumers and human service agencies will likely see growing use of online therapy and require training for workers and development of new policies and procedures for online service delivery.


Technology in Macro Social Work Practice  

John G. McNutt and Lauri Goldkind

Information and communication technology has become a major force in society, the social welfare system, and the social work profession. This entry examines the growth of technology and its application to social work and society. It looks at the role of technology and places an emphasis on administrative/organizational, community, and policy practice. It also considers the larger context of the global information society. It additionally explores the impact of technology on the profession and professional education.


Vocational Services  

Lauren B. Gates

Vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, provided through a jointly funded state–federal rehabilitation system and available in each state, help people with disabilities prepare for, secure, and sustain employment. Since 1920, VR Programs have helped 10 million individuals with disabilities reach employment. Anyone with a mental or physical disability is eligible for VR services. While a range of services is provided, the services most consistent with VR goals are those, such as supported employment, that promote full integration into community life. Social workers are essential to community-based VR services; however, a challenge for the profession is to assume new roles to meet best practice vocational standards.


Volunteer Management  

Eleanor L. Brilliant

Social work in the United States emerged out of the work of organized volunteers in the late 19th century. However, the search for professionalization, together with an emphasis on publicly funded social welfare after the 1930s, led social workers to devaluate volunteer activity. Since the 1970s volunteer activity has greatly increased in the United States, and now plays a significant part in American cultural life as well as in the delivery of human services. In recent years volunteerism has been recognized for its demonstrable contribution to the American economy in addition to its fundamental role in a democratic society. Social workers are involved in many ways with volunteers in a multitude of roles and diverse settings and need to understand how to manage and work with a wide range of volunteers.