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Article

Oral History and Social Work  

Arlene Bowers Andrews

This article reviews basic skills for conducting and using oral histories, summarizes ethical issues, presents examples relevant to social work, and suggests useful resources. For social workers, oral history can be a way to record the history of social change as well as a means of promoting social change. Oral history can honor, inform, raise consciousness, and motivate action. Oral histories are particularly relevant for historically excluded populations and those with oral traditions. Generating the history requires a thorough awareness of the narrator, the story, and the role of the listener as well as skillful interviewing, use of digital technology, and appropriate archiving.

Article

Historiography  

Leslie Leighninger

This entry discusses some topics in social work and social welfare history. It covers different approaches to that history, such as an emphasis on social control functions of social welfare; a stress on the “ordinary people” involved in historical events; or particular attention to the stories of women, people of color, and other groups who have often been excluded from formal sources of power. It notes the importance of using original sources in writing history, and explains the various steps involved in researching and interpreting these sources.

Article

Intervention Research  

Haluk Soydan

This entry regards intervention research as an essential part of social work as a profession and research discipline. A brief history of intervention research reveals that use of intervention research for the betterment of human conditions is contemporary with the genesis of modern social science. Advances in intervention research are attributed to the comprehensive social programs launched during the 1960s in the United States. A contemporary and generic model of intervention research is described. It is argued that it is ethical to use intervention research and unethical not to use it. Assessment of some of the recent advances in policy making and science gives an optimistic picture of the future of intervention research.

Article

Bisexuality  

Laura S. Abrams

This entry explores past and present social-scientific lenses concerning bisexuality. The author traces the rise of a bisexual movement in the 1970s to present times. The entry concludes by addressing social work's limited contributions to understanding bisexuality and proposes trends and directions for future practice and research with diverse groups of bisexuals.

Article

Family Therapy  

Cynthia Franklin and Laura M. Hopson

Family intervention has become an important tool for social work practitioners. This entry provides a brief history of family intervention and important influences as well as a synopsis of current research. Although these interventions require more research to better understand the populations for whom they are most effective, the evidence supports their usefulness in addressing such issues as aggression, substance use, and depression, among others.

Article

Human Needs: Religion and Spirituality  

Edward R. Canda

This entry provides a brief introduction to social work's approach to spirituality and religion, focusing on definitions, history, current practices, ethical and human-diversity issues, relevance to clients, practice applications, best-practices research, and controversies. Emphasis is given to a spiritually sensitive and culturally competent approach to social work that honors diverse religious and nonreligious spiritual perspectives of clients and their communities. Although American social work is the focus, some international developments are included. References and websites are listed to facilitate identification of resources for addressing spiritual diversity in practice.

Article

Research: History of Research  

Joan Levy Zlotnik

An important attribute of a profession is the systematic study of its practices, to continually advance its service modalities. Throughout its history the social work profession has engaged in research and sought to strengthen connections between research and practice. National social work organizations and federal agencies, especially the National Institute of Mental Health, have all played key roles in stimulating and assessing the research enterprise. International and interdisciplinary research, advanced research methods and research/practitioner/community partnerships provide perspective for future efforts.

Article

Social Policy: History (1900–1950)  

Iris Carlton-LaNey

This entry traces American social welfare development from the 1890s to 1950. It also includes social work's participation and response to need during two critical times in American history: the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Social reformers were instrumental in the development of social legislation, including the establishment of the Children's Bureau as well as the development of a public welfare system at the state level. America's response to human suffering left many groups, such American Indians, African Americans, and Asians, marginalized. In response, African Americans established a parallel system of private relief through organizations such as the National Urban League, unlike the other racial groups.

Article

Social Policy in Canada  

Micheal L. Shier and John R. Graham

The focus and aim of social policy in Canada have in part been determined by the unique sociohistorical and cultural context of the country. This entry provides a brief overview of the leading factors that have contributed to the development of social policy in Canada. Emphasis is placed on the economic, social, and cultural context of the development of the country, along with the system of governance and the ideological framework among the general populace. Following this contextualization, four dominant periods of social policy are described. These include the residual period, the emerging institutional period, the institutional period, and the postinstitutional period. In each era the forces leading to specific social policy outcomes are described. These include aspects of the changing economic system and emerging cultural and social needs among the population. Key social policies in each era are introduced and described. Fundamental to each period of social policy development are the efforts of the voluntary sector. In conclusion, future trends in social policy and social welfare in Canada are discussed.

Article

Nelson, Kristine E.  

Katharine Cahn and Nocona Pewewardy

Dr. Kristine E. Nelson (1943–2012) was a nationally recognized child welfare historian and scholar, as well as a social work educator and administrator. Her early work in child welfare and a deep commitment to social justice informed her scholarship, research, and leadership. Her research focused on family preservation and community-based child welfare practice, with a focus on families entering the child welfare system due to neglect or poverty-related challenges. She was a significant contributor to advancing new frameworks of child welfare practice and had a successful career as a social work educator and administrator, retiring as Dean of the Portland State University School of Social Work in 2011.

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

History and Development of School Social Work Within Professional Organizations  

Randy A. Fisher

Professional associations have been present since the birth of the visiting teacher/school social work movement in 1906. The five major associations—National Association of School Social Workers, National Association of Social Workers, the Midwest School Social Work Council, State School Social Work Associations (both individually and as a group), and the School Social Work Association of America—collectively provide vital services such as conferences and publications that form the foundation of the profession. Their decisions have shaped the history of school social work as well as maintain the current level of services to the school social work community. The practice of school social work today is based in large part on the decisions made by the professional associations in the past and now.

Article

Carlton, Thomas Owen  

Hans S. Falck

Thomas Owen Carlton (1937–1992) was an expert in curriculum development in social work education as well as an author, an editor, and a scholar in health social work and social policy. He believed history influences social welfare planning.

Article

Immigrant Communities in the United States and Macro Practice  

Laura Folkwein

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

Integrating Macro–Micro Practice  

Jason A. Ostrander, Kerry Kelly, and Patricia Carl-Stannard

Social work sets itself apart in the “helping professions” in recognizing the significance of its students and practitioners engaging with the theoretical knowledge and practice experiences sufficient for fluency across macro to micro settings. This practice integration assures comprehensive understanding of person-in-environment, from casework to complex systems work, and is raised to an ethical standard in the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics and in the International Federation of Social Work Principles. Yet macro-oriented scholars have accused social work educators and professionals of abandoning their obligation to social justice and policy participation and of focusing their energy instead on micro practice. This literature is helpful in addressing how integrated practice can be achieved and informs the development of social workers who solidly embrace a commitment to macro knowledge and participation.

Article

Social Policy: History (1980 to Present)  

P. Nelson Reid

With the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980 the United States entered an era of social policy development shaped in large measure by themes associated with political conservatism: privatization, federalism, work-linked benefits, personal responsibility, and “family values.” These themes have resulted in changes to the basic structure of American social welfare that will persist into the 21st century.

Article

Social Work Practice: History and Evolution  

John G. McNutt

Social work is a profession that began its life as a call to help the poor, the destitute and the disenfranchised of a rapidly changing social order. It continues today still pursuing that quest, perhaps with some occasional deviations of direction from the original spirit. Social work practice is the primary means of achieving the profession's ends. It is impossible to overstate the centrality or the importance of social work practice to the profession of social work. Much of what is important about the history of the profession is the history of social work practice. We must consider both social work practice per se (the knowledge base, practice theories and techniques) and the context for social work practice. The context of practice includes the agency setting, the policy framework and the large social system in which practice takes place. Social work practice is created within a political, social, cultural and economic matrix that shapes the assumptions of practice, the problems that practice must deal with and the preferred outcomes of practice. Over time, the base forces that create practice and create the context for practice, change. Midgley (1981) correctly notes that practice created in one social order is often inappropriate for work in another social order. Since the social order changes over time, practice created at one point in time may no longer be appropriate in the future.

Article

Social Work Profession  

June Gary Hopps and Tony B. Lowe

The social work profession addressed a panoply of social problems that grew larger in an ever-expanding geopolitical environment, where social equity or justice was often a remedial value. Social welfare institutions and programs, initially private and later both public and private, filled the societal void, bringing social care to the disadvantaged. Lay caregivers formed the foundation for a nascent, but now over 100-year-old, profession. Growth was sustained for over 50 years from the 1930s to 1980s, when progressive thought was challenged with conservative ideology. The challenge for contemporary social welfare and a maturing social work profession is how to navigate a changing milieu highlighted by complex human conditions in the face of real and contrived shortages, increasing class stratification, political polarization, and heightened judicial scrutiny.

Article

Locating School Social Work in the Reconstruction Period  

Samantha Guz

The origin of school social work in the United States is frequently traced back to the early 20th century’s visiting teachers movement. To expand on previous scholarship, school social work can be situated in the 19th century by focusing on the organizing impact of Black communities on public education during Reconstruction. First, history provides context for public education during chattel slavery and for the formation of racialized politics in education. This historical context primarily focuses on how access to education was used as a tool to stratify citizenship in the South. Next, the work of Southern Black communities, the Freedmen’s Bureau, and Northern abolition organizations advanced efforts during Reconstruction, specifically the coalition-building to establish Freedmen’s Schools and the advocacy to make education a publicly funded institution. Thus, coalition-building and policy advocacy within school social work’s practice history have the potential to impact contemporary school social work practice.

Article

Sayles, Odessa  

David Cory and Catheleen Jordan

Odessa Sayles, MSW, was a leading advocate for adoption of Black children by Black families in Houston, Texas, during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. She was well known for dedicating her life to children and to uplifting the Black community. Serving as lead program director for foster care and adoptions for Harris County Protective Services for Children, she was steadfast in seeking culturally appropriate homes for children facing adoption.