Social work is a profession in which it is important to have a set of guidelines to follow while working with clients. In the social work field, the code of ethics, values and use of supervision are important keys in how licensed social workers should handle their clients’ personal documents and other information in correlation with having professional attitudes towards their work as well as in their personal life. The code of ethics is a set of principles and/or guidelines set by the National Association of Social Workers made order for a social worker to follow while being a professional. These principles could also be considered universal in social work practice across the nation. Furthermore, these principles are further explain the six core values that licensed professional social workers understand must be upheld daily in their career. According to NASW (1996), the six core values are service, social justice, dignity and worth of the individual, importance and centrality of human relationships, integrity and competence (NASW, 1996). The value of service highlights the ethical principle of serving the community by addressing social issues that may be seen in certain communities. An example of service while being a social worker would be to assist a client who may be homeless find resources to enable him or her to get back on their feet. This could entail assisting the client with being put on the Housing Authority waiting list. The value of social justice is in relation to being an advocate for a client who may be treating unfairly and getting them into a situation in which he or she may have equal rights as others do. As a professional social worker, I feel like that it is only right to be a part of at least one organization that would assist me in learning how to take be an advocate and stand up against various laws that can work against the progression of the community that I may be serving as a professional social worker. By joining educational organizations, I won’t just be able to partake in activities that would educate and bring awareness to such issues but I would also be building my continuing education that a social worker take part in. The ethical principle defined by the National Association of Social Workers, for dignity and worth of the person is being able to respect clients no matter his or her situation. I believe that this is important as a social worker because this will help in building trust and a relationship with the client. This shows a client that just because they are the ones needing help that they will still be treated with dignity and respect. By being respectful and treating them as a person and not as someone who is looked at as being a bad person would open the door for more opportunities and resources that could be beneficial to the well-being of the client and situation. The importance of human relationships as an ethical principle is understanding that relationships are important while being a professional. This would assist the client in building new relationships and build a social worker’s expertise to be able to work more effectively with their clientele. Human relationships allow a person to be able to bond and grow more. Integrity and competence is a social worker understanding that he or she must act in a professional way and continue learning daily. As a licensed social worker and student, I am expected to become educated through professional development workshops and attending conferences. Within the State of Alabama, a social worker is to uphold these core values and ethical standards while practicing in the field.
The use of supervision is not only a requirement but it is quite beneficial to a licensed social worker. In order for a social worker to keep his or her license, he or she must undergo hours of required supervision. Supervision is beneficial in that it assist a social worker in their ethical conduct. Under State of Alabama laws, a social worker would have to undergo a minimum of 4 hours monthly for a continuous period of 24 months within a 36 month timeframe. Supervision would occur starting with employment. Supervision is only completed by licensed professionals who are qualified as a Licensed Master Social Worker or Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. The first requirement of supervision is for a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker. If a social worker decides to no longer practice in a specific area, then he or she must complete a minimum of 4 hours monthly for a period of 6 months. Supervision is discontinued upon documentation and a contract is signed stating the type of supervision and conditions.
Social Work Licensure and Laws
While researching Social Work Licensure and Laws, I learned more about how the state of Alabama follows a standard guideline for the licensure and laws of social work. According to to the Alabama Legislature (1977), Title 34 Section 30 states that a person is not able to give themselves the title or practice social work unless they have been licensed and passed the social work exam (Alabama Legislature, 1977). In order to apply to take the exam, an applicant must be a graduate of an accredited BSW or MSW educational program. The applicant must be 19 years of age, have paid the initial examination fee of $250, passed the examination, signed a notarized statement and sworn of the professional code, and meet any additional requirements based on the level of licensure. In the state of Alabama, there are three types of licensure that are given to those who meet the above requirements. A person can be licensed as a Bachelor Social Worker, Master Social Worker, or an Independent Clinical Social Worker. In order to receive a license for BSW, a person has to have a bachelor degree from an accredited college or university. Furthermore, a person has to show that he or she has a completion of the social work major and completed two years of continuous full-time employment in a social work position under supervision. If a person does not have a Bachelors in social work, a person who has a Bachelor’s in a related field, such as sociology, rehabilitation counseling, psychology and guidance counseling is eligible to apply for a MSW program or have a social worker job but will not be titled a social worker.
In order to receive an LMSW, a person must have completed the Master or Doctorate of Social Work from an accredited or approved college or university. An exception to this requirement is a person who has candidacy that is granted by the Council on Social Work Education. After I graduate with my MSW, I will be seeking my LMSW. I believe that by going further in my education will not only make me more marketable in the social work field, but it will allow me to be more knowledgeable as how to work with clients.
To become a LICSW, a person would need either a master’s or doctorate of Social Work. A person would also need at least two years of supervision by after graduation, and be a U.S. citizen with appropriate documentation.
When and if a person is issued a license from another state, he or she would be required to meet state requirements if qualifications from the other state are not equivalent to the qualifications of Alabama. However, this is with the exception that the application fee and exam has not been paid or passed. Those persons who are seeking exemption from the Board’s examination must meet all qualifications for that specific license and also have completed six years of continuous supervised full-time employment approved by the Board or seven years of continuous full-time employment with a public agency on or before May 1, 1977.
In the State of Alabama, a social work license must be renewed every 2 years. The fee for a license renewal is $100. If applicant fails to renew within a 60-day time frame of the expiration date, then the license is either terminated or suspended. Per state of Alabama law, any licensed professional who is actively practicing social work cannot be denied for license renewal. If the applicant would like to remain inactive, then that person may write a request to the Board Examiners to be placed on the inactive list.
Social Work Practice Stages
The Social Work practice stages are also known as the Generalist Intervention Model (GIM). According to Miller, Tice and Hall (2008), the Generalist Intervention Model is a method of practice that integrates casework, group work, and community organization, and focuses on the interaction between persons and their environments (Miller, Tice and Hall, 2008).The GIM uses engagement, assessment, intervention planning and implementation, evaluation and termination as a way to better assist clients to planned change.
An example of utilizing the GIM would be first greeting and welcoming the client. For the purposes of this assignment, we will call the client- Client A. Client A is a female coming to a social worker in efforts of having planned change from her addiction of abusing alcohol. In efforts of demonstrating engagement, the social worker would use proper body language to show that he or she is listening to the client, using appropriate hand gestures and making good eye contact. The social worker would ask Client A to tell her what she thinks her needs are and what resources in the community may be beneficial to assisting her with changing. This would allow Client A to provide detailed information about her current situation and what she thinks about her surroundings. It is important for the social worker to take notes to assist Client A after the initial meeting. However, before taking notes, the social worker should ask Client A for their consent before taking notes.
After asking open-ended questions through engagement, the social worker should go over with Client A how the social service agency works and the services that we will provided. Any questions that may be asked of Client A will assist the social worker with assessing Client A’s needs. During the assessment portion, the social worker should assess Client A’s mental/emotional state, appearance/ mobility, ability to perform her activities of daily living, her environment, health, economic status, education status and transportation needs. The social worker could utilize the tool of an Ecomap to assist her in assessing Client A’s needs.
For planning and implementation, the social worker should work with Client A regarding a plan that is real and attainable. Client A must believe that the plan will work and must desire to reach goals that will be set together with the social worker. The social worker should prioritize the importance of change and helping Client A understand that change is a good thing. The social worker should assist Client A in understanding how this could benefit her socially. Once the goals are established, the social worker should address the objectives of each task given and how to proceed with actions towards those goals. Since client A is struggling with alcohol abuse, the social work should assist Client A with establishing the goal of: Lessening her urge to drink alcohol. The objective would be for her go to an Alcoholic’s Anonymous support group once a week for 6 weeks. The social worker will encourage Client A to keep a journal of her progress and Client A must write in her journal after each support group session and describe her experience. This will assist Client A as well as the social worker in understanding her progress.
As a form of evaluation, the social worker will obtain Client A’s journal that she has been writing her experience in and Client A will also complete a questionnaire on her progress. Client A would complete the questionnaire two weeks before her last appointment. The questionnaire would ask her about how she thinks she has progressed, services that were rendered, and about the social worker’s expertise.
Once she has successfully completed her goal, the social worker will talk with Client A about termination two weeks after the last meeting. During this, the social worker will also discuss with Client A her progression. The social worker should encourage Client A to continue with the progress she has made. If needed, the social worker should refer Client A to additional services that may be beneficial to other issues that she may face following termination. It is important for the social worker to follow-up with Client A once services are terminated. Follow-up can help Client A from relapsing or even coming back for services. However, the social worker should give Client A the phone number to the agency in case services may be needed again.
Intervention and Developmental Theories for Direct Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
There are several theories that are used to explain the behaviors of an individual, and has provided the framework for various models and interventions. One theory that can be utilized is Conflict Theory. Conflict Theory focuses on the structure in an individual’s life. This theory would showcase issues that could have occurred through a power struggle between family members or friends as well as in various stages of the individual’s life. The conflict theory would then consider the familial structure, and if there is a continuous cycle that may be from the past. There is also the Systems Theory. According to Gibson (2016), Systems theory, also called social systems theory, in social science, is the study of society as a complex arrangement of elements, including individuals and their beliefs, as they relate to a whole (Gibson, 2016). The Systems Theory would show how the individual interacts with others and if there is any correlation between the influences in the client’s life and their behavior. The last theory is practice models that focuses on creating an intervention through consultation and assessment of the individual. There are an array of interventions that may be completed, such as the Solution-Focused model, Crisis model, Task-centered model, and the Problem-solving model. The practice models would require more interaction with the client. Life stages would play an important role in each model especially when it comes to understanding what to focus on and what not to focus on. For example, a 50 year old is not at the same stage as a 20 year old because the 50 year old is more experienced with life. Therefore, it is crucial that the social worker understand this before using the practice models.
Diversity/ Social Justice/ Advocacy/ Rural and Urban Communities
Diversity, social justice, advocacy for rural and urban communities are at the core of social work. I believe that diversity is more important in urban communities rather than rural communities because individuals are looking for employment and better opportunity for school, homes, and the quality in urban areas. As a social worker working mostly with the older adult population, I work in both urban and rural areas. I observed that the services are limited in rural areas and is especially harder for my clientele to receive the necessary resources, such as transportation to and from their doctor’s appointments. I observed that there is a need for more rural social workers to assist clients in obtaining more resources to a better quality of life. Social justice in both rural and urban communities is beneficial as there are most likely political and social issues faced by persons who live there. Some people in rural areas may not even have an opportunity for their social injustice issues to be addressed due the scarcity of resources. As a social worker, it is important to be an advocate for those who may not be heard. Advocacy for rural and urban communities varies due to the resources that the community may be lacking. Sometimes a social worker will have to be an advocate for those living in a rural area for there to be more resources, such as additional transportation for the elderly to be able to get to their doctor’s appointments that are located in urban communities. The lack of services hinders certain individuals from getting the appropriate assistance, and as a result can place the community in a mindset that they are not able to be helped and their voices will never be heard.
Policy and Policy Analysis
Policy and policy analysis refers to the guidelines that are set to uphold the welfare and good of the clients. Policies are ever-changing and revised in accordance with time. An analysis is completed before a policy is written. The analysis helps in the development of the policy that is brought forth through careful research, surveys, case studies and other tools. It is crucial to have an analysis completed because it provides a thorough evaluation of any revisions or changes that need to be made. It also shows how useful the policy is to the population that is should protect. Understanding the effectiveness and the value of a policy helps lawmakers and other important decision makers.
Research, Program Evaluation/Needs Assessment
Research, program evaluation, and needs assessment are mainly targeted, not at the needs of one client, but of a client base. A single subject design is conducted for understanding the needs of an individual. In order to conduct research on a specific group of people, there must be an Institutional Review Board. The IRB is also known as a human subject committee is used to oversee research to ensure that it is following the proper guidelines set forth to be able to conduct the research. According to Royse, Thyer, and Padgett (2016) the guidelines include: the research participants must be volunteers, the participants should be given sufficient information about the study to determine possible risks or discomforts as well as benefits, no harm shall result from the study, and sensitive information should remain protected (Royse, Thyer and Padgett , 2016, pp. 45-46). According to Royse, Thyer and Padgett (2016) A program evaluation is conducted to understand if the services are really helping the clients that they are intended to serve (Royse, Thyer and Padgett , 2016, p. 1). During this process, information is gathered to see if the social worker and/or agency are the best fit for the client. According to Royse, Thyer and Padgett (2016), The mission of program evaluation in social work is to provide information that can be used to improve social programs (Royse, Thyer and Padgett , 2016, p. 2). Evaluation can range from a series of open-ended questions to observation of the client base in various environments. According to Royse, Thyer and Padgett (2016), Needs assessment are attempts to identify and document unmet needs, gaps in services, or problems in a community (Royse, Thyer and Padgett, 2016, p. 63). The assessment used would be dependent on how severe the clients’ needs are and the type of resources that can be used to assist the clients. The person conducting the needs assessment can utilize tools, such as surveys, personal interviews, focus groups and etc. to perform a needs assessment.
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