Integrated Social Work Process and Assessment Today Assessment

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¶ … Integrated Social Work Process and Assessment

Today, social workers are confronted with a flood of guidance from governmental agencies concerning how to conduct assessments using various checklists for different types of healthcare consumers with little overall attention being paid to a set of best practices that can be followed (Milner & O'Bryne 2002). Many practitioners are also concerned about increasing government control of family life and worry about the effect of such governmental standardisation on the relationship between social workers and their clientele (Parton & O'Byrne 2000). Moreover, rather than being a static, one-time affair, accurate clinical assessment remains an ongoing requirement that may not be routinely satisfied by many social workers (Milner & O'Bryne 2002).

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Social workers run the risk of overlooking important but highly individualized issues that may be interfering with clients' lifestyles when the assessment process is not ongoing (Parton & O'Bryne 2000). In this regard, Parton and O'Byrne's constructive social work provides a useful alternative to evidence-based practice for social workers by emphasizing "process; plurality of both knowledge and voice; possibility; and the relational quality of knowledge" (Parton & O'Bryne 2000, p. 13). Likewise, according to Corcoran and Walsh (2006), there is a fundamental need for an ongoing assessment of clients is essential to help avoid pigeonholing them in some diagnostic category early on that ignores changes in behavior or newly identified information in the treatment process. Depending on the type of case and setting that is involved, accurate and timely social worker assessments can make the difference between successful and unsuccessful interventions and outcomes with clients as well as in the courts (Anderson, Weston, Doueck & Krause 2002).

Topic 7 Discrimination and inequalities

Assessment on Integrated Social Work Process and Assessment Today, Assignment

As a basic detractor from quality of life and equality in society, social workers are vitally concerned about discrimination and inequalities they encounter in their professional practice. For instance, Weiss, Gal and Cnaan (2005) report that, "It is generally agreed that one of the central and indeed unique characteristics of social work continues to be its commitment to the furthering of social justice, construed as ensuring more equal access to economic and social resources for all members of society" (p. 29). The commitment to principles of social justice, such as redistribution and the upholding of social rights and to social and political advocacy by social workers has been codified in a number of documents, including:

1. The International Federation of Social Workers' recently adopted definition of the profession;

2. The codes of ethics of social worker associations including the code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (1999) which states that: "Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for change in policy and legislation to improve conditions ... And promote social justice."

3. Likewise, the Israel Association of Social Workers' (1994) code of ethics emphasizes that: "The social worker is committed to supporting policies and legislation that seek to improve social conditions and further social justice" (quoted in Weiss et al. 2005 at p. 30).

In Australia, such discriminatory practices and social inequalities have long characterized the plight of indigenous peoples (Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into Protection of Aboriginal Children: Little Children are Sacred 2007) and significant disparities exist with respect to this population and the larger mainstream Australian population in terms of school drop out rates, job skills, chronic unemployment, involvement with the criminal justice system and institutionalization (Vinson 2007). In response to these inequalities, some social workers advocate anti-oppressive practices. According to Healy (2005), anti-oppressive social work practice is:

1. The latest wave of critical social work, like radical, feminist, anti-racist and structural social worker.

2. All social workers understand that original causes of oppression lay within social structures and are committed to transforming these structures.

3. The duty of social workers is to raise consciousness because they believe that the true origin of oppression in not in their clients but resides in unjust social structures.

4. Social workers reflect on access to power and develop strategies to share power with clients.

Topic 8 Social welfare states and social policy

The type of social welfare state that is in place will have an overriding effect on how public resources are distributed and what types of mechanisms are used to achieve this distribution (Goldberg & Rosenthal 2002). By taking into account relevant cultural traits and causal determinants, it is possible to gain valuable insights into the current body of welfare state theories (Aspalter 2008). One of the clear applications of social policy in modern Australia is the effort to address the marginalization and victimization patterns evident in indigenous population groups. In this regard, Bryant (2009) recently noted that, "It is not a new observation that indigenous people in Australia experience violence at a higher rate than the general population. Identifying who is at risk, and the circumstances that increase those risks, is important for the implementation of targeted preventative strategies, such as night patrols and family counselling, and other services, including hospitals and child protection" (p. 1). These initiatives are administered and funded through different governmental channels, including the criminal justice system, healthcare providers and social workers (Bryant 2009). This broad-based approach is required because addressing victimization patterns in indigenous populations in Australia demands a multidisciplinary approach that frequently includes treatment for substance abuse problems, unemployment, housing as well as immediate relief from violent environments (Bryant 2009).

Information concerning selected international organisations involved in trade and development is provided in Table 1 below.

Table 1

International Organisations Involved in Trade and Development

Organization

Description

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world's trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business (What is the WTO? 2011).

GATT

1. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) covers international trade in goods. The workings of the GATT agreement are the responsibility of the Council for Trade in Goods (Goods Council) which is made up of representatives from all WTO member countries.

2. The Goods Council has 10 committees dealing with specific subjects (such as agriculture, market access, subsidies, anti-dumping measures and so on). Again, these committees consist of all member countries.

3. Also reporting to the Goods Council are a working party on state trading enterprises, and the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Committee (GATT and the Goods Council 2011).

IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world (About the IMF 2011).

World Bank

Not a bank in the common sense; the World Bank is comprised of two unique development institutions owned by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but collaborative role in advancing the vision of inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses on the world's poorest countries (About the World Bank 2011).

OECD

The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems (About the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2011).

Topic 9 International social work

As Westernized approaches to social work practise are exported to other countries where cultural values and norms may be substantively different, the importance of cross-cultural sensitivity and respect for other cultures have assumed new relevance in recent years. In this regard, in their journal article, 'International social work: nature, scope and practice issues,' Conway and Pawar ask whether it is possible to practise social work cross-culturally in a nonimperialistic manner. At first blush, the answer to this question would appear to be intuitive and straightforward. After all, anything is possible if the circumstances are right and efficacious cross-cultural social work is certainly no exception. The research to date has largely supported this straightforward answer, but with some caveats. Even under the best of circumstances, social work can only accomplish so much and when constraints are introduced at any stage of the delivery of services, the corresponding outcomes will also be diminished in their effectiveness. This is the case with cross-cultural social work where Western worldviews may preclude practitioners from thoroughly understanding the effects of sometimes-powerful social institutions that influence behavior (Williams, Soydan &… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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