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Article

Mary C. Nienow, Emi Sogabe, and Amanda Duffy Randall

Social work regulation in the United States emerged during the early 1930s, and now every state in the country has some form of social work licensing. The primary purpose of such regulation is to protect the public from incompetent or unethical practitioners by ensuring a minimal level of competence. Each state determines the qualifications a social worker must possess and defines what constitutes social work practice. Regulatory boards are also established through state authority as a means of holding professionals accountable. Boards provide an accessible system for the public to file complaints of wrong-doing by social workers. Despite regulation in every state, very few states have established a separate category of regulation for social workers engaging in macro practice. Macro practice social work activities may be found in state statute, but do not comprise the common understanding of regulated social work practice. The impact of regulation on macro practice social workers is an area needing further exploration and attention within the field.

Article

Charles E. Lewis Jr.

The Congressional Social Work Caucus is a bicameral authorized Congressional Member Organization (CMO) founded by former Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns in November 2010 during the 110th Congress. The mission of the caucus is to provide a platform in Congress that will allow social workers and allies to engage the federal government. The Social Work Caucus consists of members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who are professional social workers or who generally support the ideals, principles, and policies germane to the social work profession. Because of House Ethics rules, CMOs are prohibited from possessing resources of their own and must depend on the office budgets of their members. Consequently, the Social Work Caucus has participated in a number of congressional briefings and seminars in conjunction with other social work organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, and the Society for Social Work and Research. These public events covered a wide range of topics such as social workers’ roles in the Affordable Care Act, military social work, funding for mental health research, and trauma-based practice in child welfare.

Article

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

Denise M. Green and Samantha M. Ellis

Macro social work research may be defined as an in-depth, systematic investigation into a subject pertaining to macro systems that requires gathering data, information, and facts to advance knowledge within communities, organizations, social networks, policy, social structures, and the determination of the efficacy of macro practice interventions. Macro social work research is unique because it provides an exceptional opportunity to pursue a particular interest in a specific area of study. While the process of research is seated in a long history of propriety, modern macro research is seen as the quintessential essence of engaged learning that can be theory-driven or atheoretical while maintaining rigor. Additionally, macro research increases innovation, organization, communication, critical thinking, time and project management, and problem-solving skills. Finally, macro research can often lead to determinations as to the merit and worth of the researched entity. With the intent to progress knowledge that is consistent with scientific inquiry, the types of research and their application to macro social work research are outlined: (a) descriptive research, (b) exploratory research, (c) explanatory (cause and effect) research, and (d) evaluative (program evaluation) research. Particular emphasis will be placed on evaluative (program evaluation) research due to its extensive use in macro social work.

Article

Tanya Smith Brice, Denise McLane-Davison, and Tyler A. Brice

Civil rights is the protection of citizens from infringement by governmental entities and the extension of basic rights. Civil rights are based on citizenship status. The 14th Amendment establishes U.S. citizenship that has been extended throughout history to different groups. Civil rights legislation is grounded in this question of citizenship. As social workers, it is important that we understand this relationship and advocate to continue broadening the constitutional promise of “equal protection under the laws” to all who reside within the United States.

Article

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

Maria Rodriguez and Jama Shelton

Social media are defined as applications and websites that allows users to share content, usually of their own making. More than just a teenage pastime, social media users include individuals and organizations, across a broad range of social positionalities. Key social work organizations, such as the NASW and AWSB, have begun noting the proliferation of social media usage in education and practice and have begun developing guidelines to govern their use. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), in their Grand Challenges of Social Work initiative, has also highlighted social media as an important area of growth for research and education. Despite the field’s nascent enthusiasm, practical and ethical concerns persist.

Article

Social workers possess several 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 become essential for social workers to continue creating social value and good. The article defines these strategies, describes the rationale for social workers to practice in a socially innovative, intrapreneurial, or entrepreneurial fashion, draws parallels between these strategies and social work practice, and builds a case for the social work curriculum to include contents related to these strategies to assist graduates in creating and sustaining change.

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

James Midgley, Elise Verdooner, and Murali Nair

The term international social welfare is used to refer both to social welfare policies and programs around the world and to the academic study of international social welfare activities. The entry focuses on the latter meaning and provides an overview of the evolution of scholarly inquiry into international social welfare, the key topics that have been identified and discussed by international social welfare scholars, opportunities for diverse global social welfare opportunities, the likely future development of the field and annotated web-based information about organizations active in this area.

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

Rocío Calvo and Victor Figuereo

The United States is in the midst of a profound ethnic and racial demographic transformation. Latinx are a main driver of this transformation, having led the American population growth for the last few decades, and contributed to our nation’s economy and culture for generations. Unfortunately, the significance of Latinx’s contributions are not always recognized. Many still experience barriers for advancement associated with inadequate access to health, education, employment and discrimination. We use a variety of sociodemographic indicators to argue how entrenched systems of inequity impact the lived experiences of different Latinx communities and prevent them from contributing to the future of our nation. We conclude with a set of recommendations for policy, practice, research, and education.

Article

With a growing emphasis on improving human rights and alleviating social inequalities and human suffering in a world that is enduring massive environmental, demographic, technological, and geopolitical shifts, social work educators, scholars, and practitioners must determine how to prepare generalist and advanced generalist social work practitioners to engage in macro social work practice within their respective levels of competency. Steeped in ecological systems, person-in-environment, strengths, and empowerment perspectives, macro social work practice among general and advanced generalist practitioners have focused primarily on the communication, interaction, and transactional processes occurring between and among organizations, communities, and other systems. While beneficial, these perspectives do not account for differences in power, values, attitudes, beliefs, behavior, status, or roles between and among powerful and privileged entities in the system. By operating according to a humanistic perspective that accounts for differences in power, status, and roles of diverse entities in the system, generalist and advanced generalist practitioners engaged in macro social work practice may begin to alleviate social inequalities and human suffering occurring in the United States and abroad.

Article

Sunny Harris Rome and Sabrina Gillan Kiser

Lobbying is the process of influencing public policy. It involves developing and implementing strategies to persuade those in power. Consistent with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and the Global Social Statement of Ethical Principles, many social workers participate in lobbying campaigns to advance the well-being of their clients and to promote social justice. Some social workers become professional lobbyists, focusing their careers on government relations work. Successful lobbying involves forming and nurturing relationships with decision-makers and generating and sharing information. Key elements of a lobbying campaign include agenda setting, meeting with policymakers, coalition building, field organizing, testifying, and the strategic use of media. Social work education provides opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for engaging in lobbying efforts. Lobbying activity is regulated by government entities; although social workers and their employers should understand and comply with these rules, social workers are encouraged to remain as active as possible within these parameters. Future challenges include the demand for evidence to support policy recommendations and the inadequate numbers of social workers pursuing lobbying careers. While social workers can apply these concepts to international practice, this entry predominantly focuses on lobbying within the United States.

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

A growing subset of place-based foundations in the United States have adopted an embedded philanthropic approach, in which funders “dig in” and “dig deeper” into the life of communities. Embedded philanthropy and embedded funders may change the landscape of community-building efforts in significant ways. Funding approaches and innovative efforts include the use of a “bottom up” approach to social change, a focus on helping communities to build capacity, and the building of community assets through grants that are more strategically focused. As these approaches continue to evolve and more evaluations take place, greater understanding will develop regarding the way forward for foundations in the United States to enhance effectiveness.

Article

Kendra P. DeLoach McCutcheon

Social workers have a responsibility to challenge discrimination and promote social and economic justice. To fulfill this responsibility, it must be understood how discrimination exists and the detrimental affect it has on both the psychosocial functioning and well-being of individuals who are marginalized, disenfranchised, and disempowered (targeted groups) and individuals who have privilege, resources, and power (advantaged groups).

Article

Debora Ortega and Jessica Rodriguez-JenKins

Empowerment practices are rooted in empowerment theory and fundamentally focus on power as a source of equity and inequity. Based on transformation ideology, empowerment is a counter to perceived and objective powerlessness. Amelioration of client problems contain both personal and structural dimensions and are accomplished through multilevel interventions. In this approach to practice, the professional is not the central power figure who assesses, designs, implements, and intervenes on behalf of the client. Rather, historically marginalized people, families, and communities are considered experts in their experience of problems. Empowerment practices are rooted in an understanding of power (personal, social, and structural), consciousness transformation, interactive systems, importance of relationships, and the long history of societal dehumanization of marginalized communities. In this model, social work research is characterized as a form of practice that is influenced by larger social inequities and can be used to reproduce inequity or create partnerships for change with marginalized communities.

Article

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

Sangeun Lee

A pandemic contains three key components: extensiveness, novelty, and severity. For the past century, humankind experienced the Spanish flu in 1918 and COVID-19 in 2020 as major pandemics. The global impact has been extensive in terms of their origin, international transmission, and mortality rates. Public health measures to slow and stop pandemics have been implemented. During the COVID-19 pandemic, disparate impacts on health in different populations have been witnessed due to existing social inequalities, detriments of health, and structured racism. The interests of social workers have been adversely impacted in those pandemic times. Spanish flu bolstered social work with a professional presence. COVID-19 has confirmed the need for community engagement and community development to follow large-scale social policy reforms as a response to the disproportionate impact on diverse marginalized communities, which is the core of macro social work practice and would be more strongly called on to prepare for future pandemics.