What Is Social Work

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The ‘International federation of Social Work’ defines Social work as ‘a profession that promotes change in society, solves problems in human relations and empowering and liberating people to improve their well being’. (BASW 2001). This composition aims to discuss some of the skill base of a social worker, a brief historical overview of social work and law and ethics that govern them. Social Work emerged from three sources namely ‘the poor law, aid organisations and the settlement movement. Aid organisations formed ‘social casework’; this system together with the ‘poor law welfare’ became local government social work. (Payne, M., 2005). From Elizabeth Fry in 1817, ‘an angle of the prisons’ to Charles Murray, a ‘critique of social Work’ in 1984, Social Work has gone through a series of transformations and has been incorporated into the British welfare state. International Federation of Social Workers, (IFSW). It grew from being insignificant to an established role. (Payne, M., 2005). The term ‘Social Work’ is interpreted differently by different groups of people in society as different activities aimed towards helping people solve their problems. Groups such as teachers, nurses and doctors identified themselves as ‘Social workers’, in so doing gave a broad definition of Social Work but failed to identify some of the more detailed aspects of the social work role. Thompson (2009). These are statutory duties which investigated children who were abused, supervising children who were cared for by the local authority and applying for a person to be locked up in an infirmary when their mental state presented a serious risk of harm to themselves others. Payne (1997) describes some varied approaches to social work; they are the ‘individualism – reformism, socialist – collectivism and reflective therapeutic. (Payne, cited in Thompson p. 13). ‘Individualism – reformism’ subscribes to the notion that Social Work is an activity meant for meeting the social welfare needs of...
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