Social Work with Minorities

social work

social work, organized effort to help individuals and families to adjust themselves to the community, as well as to adapt the community to the needs of such persons and families.

Modern Social Work

Modern social work employs three methods of assistance: case work, group work, and community organization. Case work is the method by which individual persons and families are assisted. The person in need of case work may be physically, mentally, or socially handicapped. Among those regarded as socially handicapped are: the unemployed, the homeless, members of broken families, alcoholics, drug addicts, and neglected or problem children. To determine the cause of maladjustment, the social worker must understand individual psychology as well as the sociology of the community. Physicians, psychiatrists, and other specialists may be required to help diagnose the difficulty.

Social group work is exemplified by the social settlement, the supervised playground and gymnasium, and the classroom, where handicrafts may be learned. The community may be called upon to provide the buildings and grounds for such activities; often the services of volunteers and of public groups are utilized; in recent years people living in poverty areas have been employed to work in and direct poverty projects in their own communities.

Through community organization the welfare work of single agencies as well as of whole communities is directed, cooperation between public and private agencies is secured, and funds are raised and administered. The funds required by private agencies are often pooled in a community chest, from which each agency receives a share. Community welfare councils are organized to map programs of rehabilitation, to eliminate duplication of services, and to discover and meet overlooked needs.

The Development of Social Work

Social work emerged as a profession out of the early efforts of churches and philanthropic groups to relieve the effects of poverty, to bring the comforts of religion to the poor, to promote temperance and encourage thrift, to care for children, the sick, and the aged, and to correct the delinquent. Orphanages and homes for the elderly were typical results of these activities. The word charity best describes the early activities, which were aimed at the piecemeal alleviation of particular maladjustments. In such charitable work the principal criterion in determining aid to families was worthiness, while the emphasis in later social work was on restoring individuals to normal life both for their own sake and for the sake of the community.

The first attempts to solve the problem of poverty in a modern scientific way was made by P. G. F. Le Play, who in the 1850s made a detailed study of the budgets of hundreds of French workers' families. Forty years later Charles Booth investigated wages and prices, working conditions, housing and health, standards of living, and leisure activities among the poor of London and revealed the extreme poverty of a third of the population. Booth's social survey became a method for determining the extent of social maladjustment, and through surveys in other cities in Europe and the United States a vast number of facts were accumulated, and methods were developed that provided the basis for modern social work.

In 1874 the National Conference of Charities and Correction (now called the National Conference on Social Welfare) was organized in the United States. Public relief and private philanthropic effort remained largely matters of local and state concern until after 1930, when the federal government entered the field of social work on a large scale to cope with the effects of the Great Depression. Resources were made available, the number of social workers was greatly increased, and it became necessary to coordinate public and private activities. Social work has been steadily professionalized, and special graduate schools as well as departments in universities have been established to train social workers. By 1999 there were 377 accredited undergraduate schools of social work in the United States.

Bibliography

See I. A. Spergel, Community Problem Solving (1969); R. E. Smith and D. Zietz, American Social Welfare Institutions (1970); W. C. Richan and A. R. Mendelsohn, Social Work (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Counseling Multicultural and Diverse Populations: Strategies for Practitioners
Nicolas A. Vacc; Susan B. Devaney; Johnston M. Brendel.
Brunner-Routledge, 2003 (4th edition)
Culturally Diverse Parent-Child and Family Relationships: A Guide for Social Workers and Other Practitioners
Nancy Boyd Webb.
Columbia University Press, 2001
Social Work Practice with Latinos: Key Issues for Social Workers
Furman, Rich; Negi, Nalini Junko; Iwamoto, Derek Kenji; Rowan, Diana; Shukraft, Allison; Gragg, Jennifer.
Social Work, Vol. 54, No. 2, April 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Culturally Competent Social Work Research: Methodological Considerations for Research with Language Minorities
Casado, Banghwa Lee; Negi, Nalini Junko; Hong, Michin.
Social Work, Vol. 57, No. 1, January 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
New Practice Model for Latinos in Need of Social Work Services
Organista, Kurt C.
Social Work, Vol. 54, No. 4, October 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Factors Leading African Americans and Black Caribbeans to Use Social Work Services for Treating Mental and Substance Use Disorders
Cheng, Tyrone C.; Robinson, Michael A.
Health and Social Work, Vol. 38, No. 2, May 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Advancing the Africentric Paradigm Shift Discourse: Building toward Evidence-Based Africentric Interventions in Social Work Practice with African Americans
Gilbert, Dorie J.; Harvey, Aminifu R.; Belgrave, Faye Z.
Social Work, Vol. 54, No. 3, July 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Defining Culturally Competent Practice with Sexual Minorities: Implications for Social Work Education and Practice
Van Den Bergh, Nan; Crisp, Catherine.
Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 40, No. 2, Spring-Summer 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Multiculturalism in Social Work Ethics
Walker, Robert; Staton, Michele.
Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 36, No. 3, Fall 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Revisiting Multiculturalism in Social Work
Fellin, Phillip.
Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 36, No. 2, Spring 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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