Why Choose the Social Work Profession
The pages for this entry were scanned with the cooperation of the Howard both the need and difficulty of classification and correlation in order to arrive . The boundaries of social work have been obscured by the wealth of. Since then, the number of social workers has grown even as the profession's Family Social Work and in to the Family Welfare Association of America. Social work practice is the primary means of achieving the profession's ends. There were also Councils of Social Agencies, which coordinated the efforts of . New approaches that look at social networks and other sets of relationships are.
As a group they had a special set of interlocking and complementary qualities. In these primary human groups, there appeared to be a true unity of well being in which all the complementary and opposing forces seemed to be dynamically integrated. From our modern day planetary perspective, it is interesting to note that Thompson described the four-part structure of hunter behavior in men, but omitted any reference to any kind of similar structure in the consolidator behavior of women in these tribal communities.
Nor, of course, did he describe a holistic structure involving the partnership structure of men and women. When economic surpluses appeared, the early tribal community societies began the transformation process from food-gathering communities to becoming much larger food-producing societies.
The complementarity of the primary group structure gave way to the development of specializations that served to increase the distance between those with different roles. Relationships were no longer immediate, but intermediate. The structure of primary human group relations changed from individuals to institutions. The unity of primary groups changed to a multiplicity of human groups.
The Agriculture Society was the beginning of modern civilization. In this social transformation, the Headman evolved into the institution of the State, the Shaman into the institution of Religion, the Hunter into the Military and the Clown into the institution of Art.
Social distance between the institutions increased, role differentiation became marked and value differences were accentuated. The expansion into an agricultural society and its concomitant growth into an urban society brought about conditions of increased conflict and the maintenance of stability, more or less, at the same time.
The institutions of this new form of collective society had to evolve special values about caring for individuals.
History has recorded numerous attempts by different agricultural societies to deal with individual and social problems through various form of charitable behaviors to others. Some of the earliest attitudes about charity are found in Hammurabi's code of justice in Babylonian times, in Jewish beliefs about what God expected from them, and in records of Christ's teachings.
Unconditional charity toward individuals in times of hardship was the requirement or general expectation in all cases. A form of universal access to charity seemed to be operative in these First Wave cultures. When Christianity was legalized by the Roman emperor, Constantine ADthe Church Religion was sanctioned to use donated funds to aid the poor Barker, Eight hundred years later, the Roman church declared that the rich had a legal and moral obligation to support the poor.
Although charitable attitudes and behaviors were expected of the rich, there were no edicts suggesting a major redistribution of wealth to bring the poor up to the living standards of the rich. The earlier beliefs in the universality of charitable expectations were beginning to erode.
In their place, we saw the emergence of class and caste systems, and the beginnings of discriminatory welfare classes. The institutions of society were beginning to adopt values that divided individuals into the "privileged few" the rich and two types of conditionally deserving masses, the "worthy" and the "unworthy" poor. Pre-Industrialization During the feudal system, which began in Western Europe as far back as the 5th century and lasted well into the 14th century, the provision of social welfare services was tied to the functional interrelationships between landlords and their subordinate serfs.
The main institutions of society assumed no major responsibility for the individual and social well being of its members. Although individual freedoms were virtually nonexistent during the time of the feudal system, the lord's household or the local parish generally provided individuals and families with the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and care in times of sickness and old age Turner, J,p.
Rudimentary social security was guaranteed. The bubonic plague in the s, killing nearly one-third of the population of Europe, brought an abrupt change to the quasi benevolence of the feudal system's social security system. The consequences of the Plague caused major changes to the non-institutional way charity was viewed and administered. Labor shortages forced the State to intervene.
Laws were passed to compel all able-bodied men to accept employment from any one willing to hire them. Alms to able-bodied beggars were forbidden. This event, along with the transformation form an agricultural society to a industrial civilization, brought about a social condition wherein the basic staples of life could no longer be guaranteed by the food producers. The serf was removed from his bondage to the land.
Individual freedoms were promised and basic social security was lost. Problems of dependence, however, were given low priority, leaving only the Church to look after charity. The State, in general, was happy to accept this arrangement, which gave the institution of Religion the role of administering to the poor and disadvantaged.
The wealth of the Church was confiscated by the State leaving it without means to carry out its charity and relief roles. Reluctantly, the State was forced to take greater responsibility for dependency problems. A plan for state organized relief was first introduced by a Spaniard in northern Europe. This plan had several elements connected to current social welfare services.
It proposed registration of the poor a forerunner of 20th century central registries, information clearinghouses, and special case registries. Private funds should be raised to help the poor the principle behind United Way and other voluntary fund raising campaigns. Employment should be created for the able-bodied poor earliest beginnings of work for relief, workfare, and subsidized job creation schemes that were still evident late in the 20th century Barker, p.
These proposals eventually culminated in a set of policies, later formalized into the series of English Poor Laws of the late 16 and early 17th centuries. The punitive attitudes inherent in these conditional provision policies were entrenched by reforms to the Elizabethan Poor Law in the s.
The denigrating principles of "less eligibility" and "perception of need" were imbedded in society's attitudes toward the poor and the less able during this period. Social policies of the day required that the amount of social assistance for people in need had to leave them in a condition that was "less than" the lowest-paid laborer who was not receiving relief. Need was determined on the basis of how those alleged to be in need were viewed by others.
Centuries later, we were still dividing the poor and unfortunate into dichotomous groups. Those who fell upon hard times through no fault of their own were favorably looked upon as the "deserving" sick, disabled, widows, orphans and thrifty aged. Others who experienced similar hard time were blamed for the situation they were in and negatively viewed as "undeserving" offenders, unmarried mothers, vagrants, unemployed, and the aged without savings.
The Poor Law policies evolved before and during the emergence of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth century England. This revolution marked the final transformation of an agricultural society into an industrial culture. The church lost its dominant ideological power to the new emerging universities. The institution of religion in pre-industrialized society became the industrial institution of education.
The scientific discoveries of Copernicus dismissal of the flat-earth theorydating back to the 16th century, Galileo empirical support of Copernicus' work and Newton laws of gravity sharpened the value differences and increased the conflicts between religion and education i. Art changed to become the Media institution and took on a new prominence. The literary specialists of the day became the new priests of secular society.
From a Marxian point of view, in a society of corporate systems, the alienation of the individual is extreme Thompson, p. The Roots of Social Work The roots of social welfare services and the discipline of social work are easily traced to those who fought against the harsh attitudes and policies of Industrial Civilization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Reform workers in England supported a theory of humanitarianism that considered persons to be in need outside of their control. These reformers worked for the abolition of illiteracy, preventable diseases, sweated labor, slums and overcrowding, unemployment and poverty Younghusband,pp. These societies introduced the policy of doing detailed investigation studies of individual cases in distress pp. Volunteers were recruited to befriend applicants, make individual assessments, and help correct their problems this was the earliest form of a three part systematic method of intervention model: Out of these movements it was shown that "pauper conditions make paupers and that social reform, education and personal service, based on a belief in the goodness and the strengths in human nature, can cure some social ills that ruin individual lives" pp.
Unfortunately, mistaken moral judgments about the "worthiness" and "unworthiness" of those less able remained prevalent throughout the industrialization of the Western world. Two influential, but inaccurate 17th and 18th century theories had reinforced these attitudes. One was the Malthusian theory supported by supposedly irrefutable empirical evidence of " a fundamental inadequacy of life support on our planet meaning that poverty and misery for millions of human beings must be accepted as normal and unavoidable " Fuller,p.
Economic data from around the world led Malthus, an economist with the British East India Company, to the conclusion that people were multiplying their numbers faster than they were producing goods to supply their needs. This theory coincided with the second one, the Darwinian theory of evolution and the hypothesis that evolution was based on the survival of the fittest Fuller,p.
Malthus's data seemed to validate Darwin's theory as a scientific law. The influence of these theories was fuelled by Herbert Spencer's thesis that "survival of the fittest" should apply to human society; that poverty was part of natural selection; and therefore, he contended that helping the poor would only serve to make them lazy and non-industrious Barker, p.
Spencer's philosophy was easily supported by followers of the Protestant Ethic arising out of the theological doctrines of Calvin and Lutherwhich had gained influence throughout England, parts of Europe and in the North American colonies. Followers of the Protestant Ethic believed in self-discipline, frugality and hard work, and encouraged all who would listen to disapprove of those who were dependent on others. These attitudes relied heavily on the belief that one's right to human existence and heavenly reward was predicated on the requirement of "earning a living" in order to qualify.
Out of these theories and philosophies emerged an elitist principle of "you or me" - survival for the privileged few, which became the mainspring of world political policy and action. Humans in all regions of the world exploited and abused the rights of other humans in often unscrupulous efforts as found in sexism, racism, nationalism to legitimize themselves as deserving members of the privileged few.
Ideologies competed with ideologies to dominate the societal norms of human social functioning as found between capitalism, socialism, and communism. Military armaments dominated human strategies to gain the ultimate edge over others. Independence and self-reliance were expected at individual and societal levels. Failure to achieve these expectations was seen as evidence of moral bankruptcy, singly and collectively.
Despite this moral certainty approach, rational inquiry based theories in which events outside of individual responsibilities explained the cause of poverty was gradually gaining some prominence. From England, we saw the rise of "new liberalism.
In Canada, the same philosophical differences were evident in early efforts to provide for the less able. Humanitarian groups in Quebec in the middle of eighteenth century established centers for the relief of the poor that was early evidence of a growing social responsibility toward the worthy poor by colonial society Turner, p.
Nova Scotia, on the other hand, adopted the English Poor Laws much earlier in the same century. When the British North America Act was passed in the following century, social welfare responsibilities were assigned to the provinces. However, the general welfare of citizens was not seen as a major function of government responsibility, provincially or federally. Reform Foundations of the 20th Century By the turn of the last century, a number of reform activities were in place or evolving which occupied most of the social reform efforts throughout the greater part of the whole century.
Inthe Speemhamland system was introduced which established the "poverty line" as a bench mark for determining who were living below minimally accepted standards. The idea was to be helpful by making it possible for workers to be eligible for subsidization whenever their wages dipped below the poverty line. Over the years, our 20th century colleagues engaged in many studies and debates around the issues of subsidizing the working poor, establishing minimum wages for all employees, and providing a guaranteed annual income for all members of society, regardless of their capacity or ability to "earn-a-living.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, feminists in America convened to declare the goal of equal rights for women. These women set down the philosophy and objectives of the women's movement, including suffrage, equal opportunities in education and jobs, and legal rights. Social workers were fully supportive of this movement, but their practice commitment to feminist methods and reforms was not well defined or articulated until well into the s. The progress toward equal rights for women was disappointedly slow.
In Canada, for example, it wasn't until with the famous ruling in the Persons Case that women were recognized under law as meeting the definition of a person. The first sign of social welfare being other than a local government responsibility was established in when Chancellor Bismarck of a newly united Germany introduced the first national health insurance system.
The legislation establishing this system became a model for social security programs world-around during the last century. The National Insurances Act of Great Britain introduced in was the first to follow Bismarck's lead, providing a national health and compensation program paid for by tripartite contributions from workers, employers and the public.
At the turn of the last century, consumer's leagues were established, first in England and then in North America. Their aim was to obtain better conditions in the work environment and safer products for the public. Social worker-lawyer, Florence Kelly of America, led the first successful campaign to abolish child labor practices and to achieve minimum wages and shorter working hours.
The Emergence of an Organized Profession The discipline of social work emerged with a dual-purpose philosophy that was fostered by conflicting social welfare perspectives in previous centuries. The duality of these perspectives was identified as the need for specialized attention to social reform of the environment and the provision of individualized personal social services. In the early development of the profession and emergence of formal social welfare organizations, the comprehensive and interconnected nature of this duality was never fully explored or firmly rooted into a broad-based philosophical domain and practice orientation.
Instead, the fundamental separateness of independent entities that underlies the concept of duality produced a divisive dichotomy between those who supported individual change and those who supported social reform methods. Charity Organization Societies and Settlement Houses Believers in moral certainty felt that "poverty could be avoided by anyone who really wanted to" Carniol,p.
A strong follower of this belief was Mary Richmond. She was a pioneer charity worker involved in the early development of Charity Organization Services in North America.
These organizations were founded in England by believers in voluntary philanthropy, before they crossed the Atlantic, locating first in Buffalo, N. COS organizations, run predominantly by volunteers, coordinated various charities in attempts to abolish public relief and replace the chaotic organization of almsgiving with a more scientific administration of charity.
The objective was to achieve social harmony the emphasis being on improved social functioning of the poor "from the mutual respect that would develop as the well-to-do initiated reciprocal relations of friendship with poor families" Lewis,p. Dependency problems were to be cured by personal rehabilitation of the poor, not by distribution of relief.
The leaders of these organizations advocated a thorough investigation and study of the character of each applicant for charity. The investigation of a family was completed by a COS "agent" usually a man and then assigned a "family visitor" usually a woman.
Lewis states, "It was expected that the relationship of friendly visitor to family would be one of 'honest, simple friendship' and would provide a basis for the task of 'uplifting' the family" p.
This arrangement was grounded in the theory that the superior position of the visitor was the key to the relationship. Essentially, COS agents and volunteer tried to weed out those with fraudulent intentions and to keep the amount of material assistance provided to a minimum. In place of material relief, they would offer moral guidance to the poor. The preventative side of these organizations and an emphasis on social reform surfaced near the end of the 19th century.
Despite their firm beliefs that moral defects were the cause of poverty, COS workers couldn't deny the evidence of families with good moral character being overwhelmed by inescapable social environment problems beyond their control.
Followers of the rational inquiry school believed social reform could be achieved by convincing politicians through quantitative research that the cause of dependency problems was socially rooted and could be relieved through environmental improvements. This type of reform work, which began in Victorian England, became known as the Settlement Movement. The original idea was to preserve "human and spiritual values in an age of urbanization and industrialization" Davis,p. The original settlements were called "university settlements" because the movement was founded on the idea of university men living in the worst parishes of London.
Jane Addams was the most noted American social work pioneer associated with this movement. They believed that people lived in poverty because of their social conditions, not because they were lazy and lacking in moral character.
With the influx of large numbers of ethnic group immigration to North America at the turn of the last century, settlement houses had difficulty promoting a stable neighborhood spirit akin to their British predecessors.
Social research and reform became the priority concern compared to the cohesive neighbor priority in England. Nonetheless, Settlement houses were organized with the requirement that their volunteers had to take up residence in a poor section of a city. They were known as "live-in-neighbors" in contrast to the friendly visitors of the COS movement.
Another important contrast was obvious. COS groups directed their work to the poor and unemployed. Settlement house supporters believed that it was best to work with the working class above the poverty line. These early settlement houses were exciting places for volunteers from the educated classes as clubs, classes, and lectures for all ages were ongoing, as well as, regular "dinner table" meetings with visiting writers or politicians or planning sessions for upcoming reform campaigns.
Social work's Mission Social work has always dealt with problems of dependency Popplep. The earliest social workers were philanthropic volunteers, but by the beginning of the 20th century, there was a growing awareness of the wide scope of dependency problems and a realization that the social functioning work of these volunteers was fulfilling a fundamental need in society. The concept of socialization was evolving as central to the mission of social work.
Socialization work involved a process by which humans in different life stages of development learn to participate in the organized social contexts of their lives, over time Specht,p.
The Rise of Professionalism The orientation struggle, described earlier, between individual rehabilitation and social reform continued into the 20th century as charity and settlement work shifted from a base of voluntary philanthropy, largely associated with the institution of religion, to scientific philanthropy, which was becoming closely associated with the institution of education.
Philanthropy came from an early Greek word that meant "acts of love for mankind" and was institutionalized in the Greek city-states Barker, p. Workers from both forms of philanthropy struggled with issues of how to conceptualize and define this rapidly spreading vocation as a full fledged profession.
The need for a common conceptual framework to embrace the practice orientation dichotomy was evident early on, but not fully recognized for many years. An over reliance on sociological theories of professionalization Popple, p. They did agree on one thing: Simon Patten first coined the title social worker, presumably tied to the emerging notion of socialization work, in Patten applied the concept to both the friendly visitors of COS and the live-in-neighbors of settlement houses Barker, p.
This prompted a major dispute with Mary Richmond over the issue of whether social workers should be social reform advocates or primarily engaged in delivering individualized social services. A ten year long debate finally erupted between Addams and Richmond in the second decade of the century, which clearly illuminated the depth of the individual-reform dichotomy in social work Franklin,pp.
These were probably the two most influential women in the North American history of the profession, yet their influence on the profession has largely been described or analyzed in separate literature. In the Encyclopedia of Social Work, for example, there is no mention of the other in their respective biographies. Franklin is one of the few, if not the only; scholar of social work history to compare and contrast the legacy of these two diametrically opposed figures.
Addams was from a family of means; Richmond was an orphan. Addams was one of the first generation of college-educated women; Richmond had high school education and a secretarial background. Addams was a pacifist and a leader in the peace movement; Richmond supported American involvement in the first Great War and developed services to aid military families.
Addams engaged in partisan politics; Richmond was nonpartisan. Addams promoted social democracy and the amelioration of poverty; Richmond promoted the art of differential treatment. Addams stressed the need for research competence; Richmond emphasized technical competence and systematic procedures. Addams saw social work as a form of sociology; Richmond saw it more as a form of psychology.
Addams is credited with enhancing the profession's role as the 'conscience of society', but overlooked for her contributions to scientific research in social work; Richmond is credited with giving social work professional legitimacy, but overrated for her scientific contributions. Addams was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her opposition to the war; Richmond, ironically, received an honorary master's degree in social work for her work in developing the scientific basis of social work.
Despite their common interests in scientific philanthropy and service to others, they were antagonistic to each other to the extent that Richmond saw environmental reform as an interfering distraction from the work of perfecting casework techniques. This divergence of perspectives on the profession was to persevere for over 80 years. Educational Roots The pioneers of our profession were mostly independent women who eventually sought payment for their services so they could "earn a living" in their chosen occupation.
Formal education for social workers was advocated for, and begun in the s, influenced by Mary Richmond and others. Richmond called for a school of applied philanthropy for the training of charity workers, people who functioned as "friendly visitors" or "caseworkers".
Social Work Practice: History and Evolution
At that time, the socialization work of these pioneers did not have a professional name. Between and volunteer "friendly visitors" changed to paid "caseworkers" of COSs, and apprenticeship training shifted to academic training with an emphasis on a systematic and orderly approach to "applied philanthropy" Austin,pp.
The structure of social work education, well established byhad become two-year programs with two kinds of educational approaches. The East Coast New York School of Applied Philanthropy founded in and now well known as the Columbia School of Social Work was based on a vocational approach, with the objective of preparing individuals to be "caseworkers" first and "social investigators" second.
This school with a strong emphasis on practice wisdom and fieldwork experience was supported by Mary Richmond, who resisted the idea of training programs becoming fully integrated into the institution of education i.
This school, representing the academic approach to social work education and supported by Jane Addams and her links to the British settlement house movement, had an academic curriculum based on social theory with an analytical and reform orientation. Now the Faculty of Social Work, it developed a curriculum that tried to balance, within a Canadian context, the British focus on the theory of social work and social organization and the East Coast American focus on practical social work methods Hurl, As an aside, it is interesting to remember that research courses were a regular part of the early curricula in Canada, but shortly thereafter removed.
The demise of research courses may have cut social work from one of its strongest links to social reform since the community survey method, used by neighborhood workers in group work and recreation-based settlement houses, provided most of the data base for social reform actions. At the end of the first two decades of the century social work education was practice-driven with social agencies sponsoring most of the training schools for social workers.
In the late twenties, the Chicago school was the only strong advocate for an education-driven program. They based their approach on three principles of education: Legitimizing the Profession With the rapid developments that occurred at the turn of the last century, it was important for social work to be recognized as a legitimate profession.
A milestone event or millstone, depending on your judgment happened in when Abraham Flexner was asked to address the NCCC an association of COS and Settlement House organizations that had a common interest in scientific philanthropy on the topic, "Is Social Work a Profession?
When Flexner pronounced that social work did not fill all the traits of a profession and therefore was not an "established" profession, his diagnosis was accepted by the majority of social workers Austin,p.
He developed the classic statement of sociological traits to define a profession: It must engage in intellectual operations involving individual responsibility; 2. Derive its knowledge from science and learning; 3. Apply its knowledge with techniques that are educationally communicable; 4.
Be self organized; and 5. Operate from altruistic motivations Popple,pp. Flexner concluded that social work was an intellectual activity with a mediating function that linked individuals with social functioning problems to helpful resources.
Although it had the basic characteristics of a profession, it did not fulfill all the criteria. Social welfare issues were too broad to be addressed by one professional body; moreover, he stated that social work lacked an exclusive knowledge base and framework, and did not have a distinctive scientific method to address the complexity of these issues. From that time forward, social workers tried to establish their discipline according to the professional trait model set out by Flexner.
Other than the knowledge that his speech is heralded as an important turning point in our history, most social workers in this or the last century had no idea of who he was, or why this non-social worker was invited to address a national conference of social workers.
Very few knew that he authored The Flexner Report ina highly critical evaluation of medical education in both the United States and Canada that was the critical catalyst to move the profession of medicine from an apprenticeship system to a recognized discipline within a university Blishen, In other words, the influence of Flexner's report assisted in transforming medicine from the remaining vestiges of its shaman role in tribal communities to its pure and applied science role in an industrial civilization.
Even fewer realized that his report brought about a uniform type medical school in which the basic sciences were taught in the first two years and the last two years concentrated on clinical training.
What has been a source of curiosity for many years is our knowledge that Richmond capitalized on his trait criticisms of social work to write Social Diagnosis. However, very little is known as to why she rejected his university model for professional education and remained in support of the field agency apprenticeship model. Also, it seems somewhat ironic that the two plus two baccalaureate programs in social work, which blossomed in the s, were carbon copies of his medical education model.
Was Richmond guilty of self-serving interpretations? Should we now honor Flexner for the legacy of his education model? The task of shaping our profession according to the trait model proved to be impossible to achieve, largely, because social work by its very nature is diverse in its functions, and one method or technique could not fit every function.
The preoccupation with Flexner's method criterion led to an identity crisis among practicing social workers that left them wandering in search of professional recognition and legitimacy for more than half of the last century. According to Austinperhaps the greatest impact on the social work profession was Flexner's belief that a profession must have "a technique capable of communication through an orderly and highly specialized educational discipline" p.
Flexner claimed that "the occupations of social work are so numerous and diverse that no compact, purposefully organized education discipline is feasible" p.
Mary Richmond's scientific casework method, documented in her classic text, Social Diagnosissupplied the young profession's first authoritative answer to his criticism. Casework emerged as the professional technique of social work that arguably could be taught in formalized social work education settings. Richmond reasoned that the criteria for a profession could be met if the discipline's domain was narrowed to deal strictly with individual casework.
Casework specialties quickly emerged and by the s there were several clinically oriented fields of practice: In America, the first of three major professional organizations emerged out of this method bias in social work. The first organization of social workers was formed in and in became the American Association of Social Workers, largely made up of caseworkers.
Some of you may remember the American Council of Social Work Education did not accept community organization as a recognized practice method until Until then students could study community organization, but they had to be educated first in methods and skills of social casework or group work.
This was the case in spite of the Lane Report on the field of community organization that was published in This report provided a systematic and comprehensive in support of the community practice method that included a clear description of the roles, activities and methods of community organization based on the pioneer texts of Lindeman's, The Community and Steiner's, Community Organization A social work research group was formed in the late s, but it never evolved to an organized association of specialty social workers.
Social workers in administration did not form any type of national group or organization, although Mary Parker Follet's posthumous text, Dynamic Administration was published and became an major influence in the field of social welfare administration. The Americans, as you may recall, did not have a single integrated professional association until the amalgamation in of several associations seven in all into the National Association of Social Workers NASW.
Canadian social workers did not experience the same kind of specialization differentiation in their professional association developments. A single national association, the Canadian Association of Social Workers CASW was founded in and operated with a network of chapters across the country for almost fifty years Gowanlock, Init was reorganized into a federated structure of eleven organizational members: Generic Social Case Work: Despite the prominence of social case work dominated fields of practice early in our history, the need for a distinctive, but common, communicable technique was not overlooked.
Leading executives and board members in the social casework field met for the first Milford Conference in At their meeting ina committee was formed and asked to prepare a report on several important questions, one of which was "What is generic social case work? Their report, completed three years later, concluded that social casework was a definite entity and that the method differences in the separate fields of practice were primarily descriptive rather than substantive.
Generic social casework was defined as the common field; specialty forms of social casework were merely incidental. Although their definition identified the generic foundation of casework, it reinforced the method model as the core professional technique in social work. Apart from the unfortunate reinforcement of a specialty method identity, which was to dominate the profession until the late s and into the s, the report was rich with historical information that could be linked to the profession's search for a common organizing framework.
The report contains some of the earliest references to the concept of norms in human life and human relationships. Norms were concepts of desirable social activities that influenced the way people lived and the way social workers practiced. Social workers were concerned with social functioning activities that were, or could be, impaired by one or more deviations from accepted standards of normal social life.Careers in social work
There was an inference that social workers should endorse norms that are flexible and subject to differences in definition, and work toward formulating a philosophy of social case work that was grounded in normative and socialization concepts.
Examples listed included, churches, industry, insurance societies, public departments, social legislation, agencies for education, recreation, law enforcement, and the promotion of social and health work. The report went on to identify the social agency as a critical component in the practice framework of a social worker and pointed out that social casework was almost universally carried on through the medium of organizations that heavily influenced the type of social work that could be practiced.
A final subject of importance to our review of 20th century social work was the strong emphasis on the future growth of social casework being dependent upon it developing a scientific character.
The report stressed that "research of the social caseworker should go beyond the discussing of data and principles necessary for the discharge of his own immediate function. It should aim to throw light upon deep-seated factors in social life which lead to difficulties of adjustment between the individual and his social environment" p. The committee completed its work with a growing conviction that there was unity in the whole field of social casework notice that they did not use the generic term social work regardless of its specific applications.
The profession was still searching for a scientific theory to ground a common conceptual framework, when Freud and his work was introduced to North America in by G.
Social Work Practice: History and Evolution - Encyclopedia of Social Work
His psychodynamic theories pertaining to the cognitive, emotional and volitional mental processes that consciously or unconsciously motivate human behavior provided an integrated and coherent theoretical framework for understanding human development and behavior. These processes which were thought to be the product of a four part interplay between one's genetic and biological heritage; the sociocultural milieu, both past and present realities; their perceptual abilities and distortions; and their unique experiences and memories blended well with the addition of the word "personality" in Richmond's second publication inWhat is Social Casework?.
As Austin pointed out, "the usefulness of Freudian theory for fulfilling one of the requirements of the Flexner myth is reflected in the rapid adoption of Freudian principles as a fundamental component in social work curricula" p. In the s, the "diagnostic" school of practice, based on Freudian theory and Richmond's casework methodology, and her new concern for personality change, met its first real challenge from the Rankian based "functional" school Robinson, ; Taft, Robinson published the first comprehensive text to integrate social and psychodynamic concepts, A Changing Psychology in Social Casework.
Whereas the diagnostic school had been grounded in a medical model approach study, diagnose and treat individual problems in their social contextthe functional school tied itself to agency function.
Proponents of the functional school saw the problem as part of one's relationship with others and directed its treatment strategies to changing patterns of relating to others. Robinson's work was one of the earliest efforts to, at least implicitly, recognize social work as a discipline that had a systemic world view domain ; that it was an organized occupation; and that it had an identifiable orderly sequenced helping process. Around the same time Grace Coyle published the first comprehensive text on social group work, Social Processes in Organized Groups Federal law and the National Institutes of Health recognize social work as one of five core mental health professions.
Increasingly, graduates of social work programs pursue post-masters and post-doctoral study, including training in psychotherapy. In the United States, social work undergraduate and master's programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
A CSWE-accredited degree is required for one to become a state-licensed social worker. The success of these professional bodies' efforts is demonstrated in that these same requirements are recognized by employers as necessary for employment.
These associations may be international, continental, semi-continental, national, or regional. There also exist organizations that represent clinical social workers such as The American Association of Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work.
AAPCSW is a national organization representing social workers who practice psychoanalytic social work and psychonalysis. There are also a number of states with Clinical Social Work Societies which represent all social workers who conduct psychotherapy from a variety of theoretical frameworks with families, groups and individuals. The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration ACOSA  is a professional organization for social workers who practice within the community organizing, policy, and political spheres.
The Code of Ethics of the US-based National Association of Social Workers provides a code for daily conduct and a set of principles rooted in 6 core values: