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Article

Ageism in the Workplace  

Patricia Brownell

Older workers make important contributions to the workplace, its productivity, and its culture. Work remains important for older adults for financial security, to give meaning to later life, to maintain social networks, and to promote lifelong learning. However, ageist beliefs about the capacity of older adults to remain productive and contributing workers in the workforce can create barriers for older workers. Understanding how older workers experience ageist behavior in the workplace can help employers, policy makers, and social workers learn more about how to address this social problem. Organizations can become more age friendly through enabling workplace programs, supportive management, and proactive human resource managers. Social workers serving older adults in employee assistance programs and in private practice can help them to challenge ageism in the workplace. Finally, legislation such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects the rights of older workers; however, more legislation is needed to address bullying and harassment of older adults in the workplace.

Article

Agencies and Organizations in Nonprofit Settings  

Jennifer E. Mosley, Jade Wong, and Jan Ivery

Nonprofit organizations play a dominant role in providing social services in the United States. This entry begins by exploring the roles and origins of the nonprofit sector, reporting on its current scope and scale, and reviewing federal regulations governing nonprofit organizations. Special attention is then given to understanding human service organizations and their financing, including the implications of changing government–nonprofit relationships. Also discussed are four additional issues facing the sector—accountability, marketization, political participation, and nonprofit growth around the world—as well as recommendations for meeting future challenges.

Article

Community: Practice Interventions  

Anne Williford and Marie Villescas Zamzow

This article offers an introduction to macro social work practice interventions. Specifically, it seeks to: (a) identify the difference between direct service (micro) and macro practice; (b) describe historical and contemporary foundations for macro practice; (c) establish a connection between macro practice and core social work values; (d) describe specific examples of macro social work practice using 21st-century social justice issues as exemplars; and (e) identify roles needed for macro social work practice. This article emphasizes the need for macro social work practice to create much needed change in the areas of social, environmental, and economic justice. It will examine the trend in social work that has increasingly placed emphasis and value on micro practice, which has marginalized macro-level social work as a result. Society continues to confront seemingly intractable social justice issues and is, in the early 21st century, experiencing a critical reckoning of how systems of oppression continue to exact violence against vulnerable populations. This article uses examples of social, environmental, and economic justice issues with specific recommendations on how to adopt an anti-oppressive macro practice framework.

Article

Complex Systems Science and Social Work  

John Halloran and Fred Wulczyn

Extending social work’s familiarity with the metaphorical use of systems concepts, formal systems science enables macro social workers pathways of understanding and description of system-level behavior. Systems, in a formal sense, are coherently organized and interconnected sets of parts that, when operating together, perform a function. The behaviors of complex systems are not reducible to the behavior of individual components, and behaviors of systems are unique to the system as a whole. We introduce a formal approach to systems thinking, provide an overview of central concepts in complex systems analysis, and conclude with an in-depth example of an agent-based simulation model, which puts complex systems thinking into action in a research and practice context.

Article

Contexts/Settings: Interorganizational Contexts  

Jan Ivery

As environmental and organizational influences drive coalitions, shared service agreements, mergers, and other interorganizational alliances among health and human service organizations, social workers are frequently vital contributors. Interorganizational work is contextualized by reviewing its theoretical underpinnings, describing historical development, and discussing issues of language and definition. The wide range of relationships and corresponding structural options being implemented are explored. Sector-wide trends and their implications for interorganizational work are considered along with key factors for success and the growing role evaluation plays in promoting positive impact.

Article

Contracting Out of Social Services  

Hillel Schmid and Yeheskel “Zeke” Hasenfeld

Contracting out of social services is defined as the purchase of services by government agencies from for-profit and nonprofit organizations. It has a long history beginning with the English Poor Law of 1723 and becoming a major policy during Reagan's administration. Both the advantages and shortcomings of contracting out are described and analyzed. The effects on providers' accountability to government and clients and the implications for social work practice and ethics are discussed. Special emphasis is given to the social workers' dilemma facing a dual loyalty to contractor–employer on the one hand and to clients on the other.

Article

Environmental Justice  

Christina L. Erickson

Environmental justice in social work is the study and practice of assuring all people are protected from environmental burdens and are able to live, work, learn, and play in safe and healthy communities. Reducing the burdens and increasing the benefits of nature and human-made infrastructures are important social work efforts toward environmental justice. Awareness of environmental injustices followed the social movements of Civil Rights, recognition of environmental degradations, and efforts to save large swaths of land and endangered species in the Wilderness Act. Environmental justice is intertwined with social and economic justice, and the pursuit engages social workers in local to international struggles for access to nature’s benefits, and freedom from hazards that are shielded from people who are economically wealthy. Moreover, environmental justice calls wealthy individuals and communities to realign resource consumption to reduce environmental degradation and increase environmental sustainability.

Article

Foster Care  

Joyce E. Everett

Social work has long been involved in child foster care. Though its initial involvement de-emphasized the importance of infant–caregiver attachment, Bowlby’s theory of attachment is particularly relevant for child-welfare practice. This entry chronicles the history of child foster care and describes the evolution of legislation most pertinent for the provision of foster care. The characteristics of children in foster care since 2000 and the dynamic flow of children entering and exiting care are described. A brief account of foster care services and future trends in the field are highlighted.

Article

International Social Welfare: Organizations and Activities  

Doreen Elliott

The major international governmental and nongovernmental organizations and their activities are discussed with reference to their global co-coordinating, advocacy, service, and research functions. Attention is also given to the work of international professional associations.

Article

Macro Social Work Practice  

F. Ellen Netting, M. Lori Thomas, and Jan Ivery

Macro social work practice includes those activities performed in organizational, community, and policy arenas. Macro practice has a diverse history that reveals conflicting ideologies and draws from interdisciplinary perspectives within the United States and around the world. Much has been written about how to balance macro and micro roles and how social work education can inform this balance. Organization and community theories, as well as theories of power, politics, and change inform macro practice. Macro practice models and methods include organization and community practice; community organizing, development, and planning; and policy practice, all of which underscore the social work profession’s emphasis on using a person-in-environment perspective. Underlying issues and future opportunities for macro practitioners include, but are not limited to, addressing equity, inclusion, and human rights; leading sustainability and environmental justice efforts; recognizing the importance of data, evidence, and accountability; and keeping up-to-date on technology and innovation.

Article

Medicaid and Medicare  

Victoria M. Rizzo, Sojeong Lee, and Rebekah Kukowski

In 1965, Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act were passed, creating Medicare and Medicaid and laying the foundation for U.S. healthcare policy. Originally, Medicare was created to meet the specific medical needs of adults aged 65 and older. In 2022, individuals with end-stage renal disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other disabilities may also receive Medicare, regardless of age. Medicaid was established to provide a basic level of medical care to specific categories of people who are poor, including pregnant women, children, and the aged. As of 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are provided with the opportunity to expand Medicaid to close the coverage gap for public health insurance. This entry provides explanations of Medicaid and Medicare and associated social healthcare programs in the United States. An overview of significant programming developments and trends, future directions, challenges, and controversies as of 2021 are also provided.

Article

Organizational Governance  

Mindy R. Wertheimer

Most human service organizations are identified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as charitable nonprofits, designated as 501c3 organizations. They are overseen by governing boards, which ensure that all the activities of the organization contribute to advancing its mission while it remains accountable to stakeholders.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

Privatization  

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.