Social Work and Social Justice
Being a social worker means you will be faced with variable problems, people and personalities daily. A simple and known fact regarding a social workers career is that different kinds of people need different types of help and support. A social worker needs to be capable to interact with people from different backgrounds with different economic statuses and possibly different religious beliefs. Clients may only speak different languages or struggle to communicate in numerous ways. Diversity is the fundamental key for a successful social worker and by social workers being accepting of all different types of people only then they will be successful in their job.
One of the most recognized core values of social work is social justice. Many people disagree about the exact definition of social justice, as well as what the best approach for justice-oriented social work is. There are also issues of translating concepts of social justice into the field. Social research was a method of fostering social justice in the early settlement houses, but contemporary regulations are limiting on using social work study as a tool for promoting social justice. There are also controversies about the best instruction for educating about social justice in social work training programs. Over the past number of years social work specialists have increased the conversation about social justice to incorporate environmental justice and global social justice.
Social justice is one of the six main principles of social work. Social justice involves making sure the children get equal chances, partaking in making decisions, and that they are provided with the basic needs to thrive as members of our society.
Social work organizations such as NASW, CSWE, IFSW emphasize social justice as a crucial value and purpose of social work, but scholars suggest there are numerous meanings attached to the expression, which leads to a lack of lucidity. Little research was dedicated to how social workers define social justice and how/if they engage in social justice in their work. Social workers formed social groups to determine how participants express and use social justice in the work that they do. What they found was that most social workers focus on social justice as individual rights-based, which can be confusing by multiple meanings. Furthermore, participants focused on the potential for the term to cause unease and for this to prevent actualizing social justice in practice.
The profession of communicating with other people is social work. This might summon the opinion that as strong communicators social workers do not make communication mistakes. I believe this idea is false. Everyone, even social workers, make mistakes in communicating. Through mistakes and experiments we as humans have the power to learn and progress further. How we respond after realizing our mistake will influence others and ourselves to respond positively or negatively.
High rates of burnout, due to low levels of job satisfaction, is a major topic within the mental health profession when working with challenging client populations. In rural areas, for example one might face a higher risk of being unsatisfied thereby also having a higher burnout rate. Stress in the workplace, whilst having inadequate tools, generally well raise stress levels. Higher burnout rates are also proven to be in association with a restriction on worker freedom. When you don’t show an emphasis towards planning and efficiency, and give vague job descriptions, with extensive rules and regulations, all while there is a minimal support of creativity, it tends to turn employees off. On the other hand, working environments where employees feel dedicated to their work, where they encourage positive coworker relationships, and supervisory relationships are supportive there tends to be less burnout.
Brief History of Social Work and how it relates to Social Justice. As well as what is HR-SJS and how it relates to our profession worldwide. Human rights and social justice work hand in hand with social work. The five priorities that guide the NASW are, voters’ rights, criminal justice/juvenile justice, environmental justice, immigration and economic justice. In most cases social workers are the best and most up to date people to help bring out the social justice improvement because they understand and know about the issues that can create inequality. Social Justice and human rights have the same goal; human dignity and equality for all people alike. Sometimes issues may come up making social justice hard to achieve its goal like poverty, exclusion and or discrimination.
Provide an Evidence Based Intervention for those affected by Discrimination in the US Justice System. There are many issues listed in the NASW Social Justice Priorities that are in need of help. This list includes but is not limited to, reentry, collateral consequences, sentencing disparities, drug policies, solitary confinement, juvenile arrests and detention rates (Social Justice Priorities, 2019). Each part of the social justice system needs some type of tweaking and needs a different solution for what’s best for the situation. One of the biggest problems there is that the US Justice system discriminates against minorities and makes it hard for them to change their decisions they made. Additionally, the juvenile justice system is known to be even worse in this regard (Sage Publications, n.d.). Because minority children are more likely to be poor and live in unfavorable environments it makes it harder for them to change their lifestyle.
Amanda is a 17-year-old Caucasian female. At the time of Amanda’s birth, her mother, Susan was diagnosed with long term post-partum depression which resulted in her giving Amanda up for adoption. Amanda was adopted by a middle-aged Russian couple with two daughters close to Amanda’s age. At age eleven, Amanda’s birth mother reconnected with her against her adopted parents will. Susan gave Amanda a cell phone and told Amanda not to tell her adoptive parent’s. Amanda would skip school to meet Susan for lunch and walk her to her therapy sessions. Amanda’s relationship with her biological mother from there on out was a dysfunctional one due to her keeping it a secret from her adoptive ones.
Amanda is a short petite woman with platinum blond hair and green eyes. She has a minor speech defect which was displayed since her childhood. She has insignificant family support and has no friends. Her one older biological brother has bipolar one disorder and is in and out of prison most of his life. Like Amanda he too was given up for adoption at age two when child services removed him from his home. Amanda’s two adoptive sisters maintain busy lifestyles and don’t have any contact with her besides for a once a year phone call on her birthday and thanksgiving dinner by their parents’ house.
In high school, Amanda hung out with a wild group of delinquents. Because she was a very lonesome and troubled teen, Amanda was an easy target and wanted friends so was willing to do anything she was told to. One-night, Amanda’s friend Jack convinced her to help him out with a drug deal. Upon arrival at the designated meeting spot, the police were waiting, and it was Amanda who was taken into the station in handcuffs. Amanda’s birth mother was called but had no resources to bail here out. When Amanda hesitantly gave her adoptive parents number to the police to call, they too refused to come, saying the police should keep her as they hoped the jail time do her some good and help stabilize her.
After the details of Amanda’s three-year incarceration were released, it was decided to approach the juvenile courts for early release. After staying the required time in jail, Amanda was released from her life in juvenile prison, and was required to do 20 hours weekly of community work. Amanda also was required to have weekly psychotherapy sessions and a monthly meeting with a psychiatrist.
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