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Social work is rooted in the struggle of the society to avert problems that were brought about by abject poverty. It is associated with the idea of charity work. Social work has developed as a profession in 1990’s. Previously, social workers did not receive enough attention as the field was deemed inferior. For example, Soviet Union did not recognize social workers. They were hidden. They also experienced several problems. The official communist ideology tended to show how life in communist was better in comparison with other countries (Courtney, 1994; 365). Hence, they could not allow social workers to air their views as they could alter their image to other parts of the world. Moreover, social workers were people of low class as they did not receive any form of education. Thus, they were not in a position to claim their rights. Rather, their specialized tasks were carried out by specialized officials from workers trade unions as well as workers from the personnel departments. However, 1990’s were marked by major changes that brought change in the way social work was viewed. Concepts related to social work and social workers were rediscovered. A worker had to prepare thoroughly before engaging in any social work. It evolved as a specialized profession on its own.
Social workers were provided with provided with information about their roles as well as improvement of their working environment. However, there was still limited number of licensed social workers (Dulmus, 2008; 298). Some of the factors that were associated with social work force include; recruitment process and retention of professional workforce. Social workers were required to be professionals. This meant that they had to undergo educational training in their areas of concentration. Social work was deemed to be just like other professions. Therefore, it was important to explore this area and ensure that only professionals and trained staff were employed. Most social workers about 66% enrolled in short courses, programs and workshops (Turner, 2005; 321). Other attended conferences in order to gain up-to-date information about the working environment. Other members saw it necessary to gain knowledge through on-the-job training. Similarly, some opted to enroll in distance learning programs.
Social workers need to be empowered. NASW incorporates the code of ethics that defines the rights and privileges of social workers. The main mission of social workers is to enhance the wellbeing of people as well as meet their basic needs (Gwenda, 2004; 234). Most social workers are vulnerable, oppressed and living in absolute poverty. Thus, there is a need to empower such people in their working environment. On the other hand, the code of ethics defines the duties on the part of social workers to empower their clients among other members of the society whom they serve. Personal empowerment is very important (Amanda, 2006; 181). This enables the worker to recognize his potential as well as recognize the uniqueness in their clients. Normally, individuals cannot be separated from their working environment. Moreover, people are entitled to access certain resources in order to control and influence their environment (Corcoran, 2007; 204). International Federation of Social Workers states that social work involves a method through which evidence and knowledge are systematically provided. Social work is mainly characterized by presence of interactions between human beings and their environmental setting (Courtney, 1994; 365). The profession of social work is linked with human development as well as social theory. Consequently, social work enables systems to accommodate the new change in the organization.
Empowerment should be the goal of any social worker. This should occur under all conditions to make the working environment more conducive to both the worker and his clients. Social workers as professionals are required to serve the public (Amanda, 2006; 81). In the modern world, social work is viewed as a profession that is highly esteemed.
Some of the ideological perspectives on social work include the following: neo-liberal perspectives, the radical social work perspective, the anti-racist perspective as well as anti-discriminatory perspctive. These perspectives influenced development of social work in one way or another. Social work gained momentum when the world economy was dominated by capitalists, socialists and economist. They believed that they should maximize their wealth in order to protect and improve their income generators who were the social workers. Thus, they were exploited and subjected to hard conditions in order to meet the needs of their masters.
Other ideological perspectives on social work are mainly developed through the use of various social policies regarding the welfare of social workers. Development of social work has been affected by political influences in a great way. That is why there are various political ideologies that give social work a different angle. Historically, social work has been affected by poverty, social need, citizenship as well as the need to acquire social justice (Gwenda, 2004; 240). Mainly, a political ideology involves a system of beliefs within which individual’s tend to perceive how their social phenomena is. Some of the major perspectives on social work include: social policy and social democracy. Social policy involves political ideas that are used to advocate for the rights of the society with the goal of increasing the available opportunities as well as respect for individual rights. Moreover, the policy entails provision of goods and services to the public. For improved policy outcomes and opportunities, the society should rise against capitalism, social democrats and ensure that there is fair distribution of wealth, reduction of tax as well as ensure that democracy prevails (Turner, 2005; 451). This should aim at reducing the disparities of income and wealth. In addition, the public should be able to access key services such as education and medical services. The government should also offer support financially and shelter to the worst-off groups. The state should be at the centre of development and allocation of goods and essential services. Social work involves taking care of the interest of its people. There should be free market. This will enable people to access goods in the market hence live with some form of economic security.
Ideology also involves set of ideas that enables one to achieve his goals, expectations as well as actions. More often than not, development of ideology aims at bringing change to the society. It entails systems that are applied to the public matters. Historically, ideology has been used as an instrument of social production. Some of the domain ideologies include the feudal mode of production, religious and political ideologies. Clinicians are also part of the modern social work. They are required to collaborate with their clients effectively. They should acknowledge them. They should avoid behaviors such as anger and defiance. This may result in the loss of clients. Lately, social work was transformed into a professional activity. It has been modernized with expertise and endowed with authority.
At the beginning of twentieth century, social work did not exist as a professional activity. Although many social workers remained as the backbone of the economy, they did not have any privileges or channel to voice their views (Pallassana, 2000; 56). They worked in many welfare organizations that served the society in several capacities. Some were given training opportunities. However, with the change sweeping across the world in twentieth century, some were retrenched while others were retained. This highly depended on the capacity of an individual to perform a given duty. Moreover, shortage of trained social workers remained a chronic problem.
Most American social workers were required to train as nurses. This was in the desire to link formal education system and the practices in hospitals. This was initiated by establishment of American of hospital Social Workers that was set up to train more social workers. About ten universities in the state were also required to start medical social courses. Other courses such as psychiatry and psychology were started to increase competence in the field of social work (Amanda, 2006; 230). Thus, the field became more innovative and effective in service provision. The concerns of social workers were thereforre put under consideration. This made social work more professional where merit was the major determinant.
Social workers should have determination in their work to ensure that the people in need are served. As stated above, they previously served in chartable and private organizations. Their mission was to bring out the needs of the society into the public arena. Nevertheless, the privileges that people enjoy today are as a result of miseries and injustices that early social workers were subjected to. Some of the benefits of social work to the public include respect for civil rights of workers regardless of race and gender. They should be withheld and protected by authorities. Secondly, workers have the chance to enjoy insurance, good payment, compensation as well as security of their work (Turner, 2005; 265). In addition, people with disabilities among other forms of illness such as mental illness can access and afford treatment. The poor, disabled and the old should have access to health care services. Children are also protected from any form of exploitation.
In United States, social work as a profession was celebrated in 1998. This commemorated 100 years within which social work has been in force. Several artifacts across the country were donated to Smithsonian institution. Moreover, civil rights advocates were treated with high esteem. Social workers in conjunction with other professions have worked to improve this arena. They have developed theories and modes of interventions (Roberta, 2008; 120). They have also modified and refined this field in both its understanding and how people practice it. They have traditionally maintained that it is essential for social workers to interact with their social environment.
Modern states have developed bureaucracies that provide goods and services to the public. However, Seldon (1981) observes that due to lack of competition among government institutions, they tend to provide goods and services of low quality. They are also resistant to change hence compromising and neglecting quality of goods and services. This has affected the modern social workers who are referred to as civil servants. Innovation of choice ad quality is also not given the attention that is required. The real losers in this game are the public especially the poor. Taxation is also another phenomenon that has influenced the modern social workers. Sometimes, taxation is a burden to the common public who have to work hard and get meager payment that ends up being taxed heavily. The paradox is that, Politian’s who earns million of shillings are mostly exempted from taxation (Roberta, 2008; 44). This has led to creation of social systems that do not consider the welfare of the poor. As earlier stated, social injustices were some of the reasons that led civil advocates and social workers put down their tools and demand for the respect of their rights. Thus, although most of the rights are provided and protected, there is still a loophole where most social workers are exploited.
In conclusion, social work as a field has gone through several transitions. In the modern society, it is regarded as one of the most proficient career. It mainly involves public service. Social workers should be committed to meet the expectations of their clients. Additional training is also vital to ensure that one is able to develop his or her career. Moreover, this enables one to participate in professional development activities (Roberta, 2008; 180). This serves to fulfill one of the employment requirements as well as improve the corporate image. Fortunately, most social workers today are professionals while others are undergoing education programs and conferences offered by professional associations. Social work today is subdivided into many branches such as specialty practice areas, ethics and supervision, disaster preparedness among others. Thus, there is variety of areas that different social workers have to specialize on. In every job development, training is very important. Thus, social work staffs are give time off to attend training and education programs to improve service provision. Social work has been and will continue being an integral aspect of the society and the government in general.