The American Academy of Social Work and Welfare’s grand challenge to “create social responses to a changing environment” is a call to action for social workers to advocate for environmental justice. The Global Agenda, developed by the International Federation of Social Workers, the International Association of Schools of Social Work, and the International Council on Social Welfare, calls for multilevel responses to concerns such as forced migration, air pollution, ecoanxiety, and food and water insecurity.
Ecosocial Work: Environmental Practice and Advocacy by Rachel Forbes and Kelly Smith answers that call with chapters that include theoretical frameworks and innovative tools. In this comprehensive text, the authors take a justice-centered approach as they draw on case examples to elevate multicultural and intergenerational perspectives spanning from local to global contexts. The book encourages readers to consider how simultaneously protecting the planet while meeting the historical aims of the profession advances the values and ethical mandates social workers abide by. Designed to foster critical thinking, the book offers hope and possibility for a just environmental future.
Prior to 2020, the field of social work was limited in its adoption of digital practice. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional, in-person service delivery was dramatically interrupted. Previously at a crossroads, the field is now experiencing a seemingly unstoppable shift toward modern technology-mediated forms of delivery.
Social Work in an Online World: A Guide to Digital Practice by David A. Wilkerson and Liam O’Sullivan addresses this shift and charts the changing landscape from analog to digital practice in varied client systems, system needs, and system levels (micro, mezzo, and macro). Going beyond online mental health service, which is largely individually focused and synchronously delivered, the authors offer a map of digital social work practice that can be expanded to include support, identity, community action, education, and psychoeducation.
In Metaphor Analysis in Public Policy and Private Practice: A Social Work Perspective, Gerald V. O’Brien encourages the reader to educate, engage, and make the connection between individual work and policy. Focusing on the emotionally charged issues associated with social work, he shows the reader how metaphors are used to oversimplify complex issues like poverty, immigration, and mental health. He demonstrates how the overt and covert use of dehumanization, objectification, “positive” stereotyping, and fear- and disgust-based metaphors shape public opinion and policy and can damage an individual’s self-worth and perception.
It is essential for social workers and allies of social justice to understand public discourse metaphors if they are to advocate for and treat the vulnerable and oppressed populations that they serve. Engaging at this level helps social workers live up to the code of ethics of the profession, whether they work in public policy, institutions, or private practice.
43 Essential Policies for Human Services Professionals by Gerald V. O’Brien boils down key policies to their most essential elements: historical overview and nature of the social problem, policy overview, and effectiveness. Analysis elements address issues related to the policy, such as trigger events, problem framing, social engineering, covert rationales, unintended consequences, target efficiency, and governmental responsibility.
This thought-provoking and reader-friendly text prepares students for class engagement, lobbying activities, meeting with legislators, and serving their local communities. It fulfills the basic need of all social workers to understand the historical roots of oppression, to advocate for their clients’ access to services, and to advance social and economic justice.
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