Framework for Social Work Practice
Social work draws from many frameworks for practice, but some of these frameworks have had more influence on the profession of social work than others. We would like to highlight three that we think have been particularly influential:
The Ecosystem Perspective
This perspective focuses on the interplay between the person and his or her environment. To understand the functioning of the individual, we must understand his or her environmental context:
- Individuals exist within families
- Families exist within communities and neighborhoods
- Individuals, families, and neighborhoods exist in a political, economic, and cultural environment
- The environment impacts the actions, beliefs, and choices of the individual
The Strengths Perspective
This perspective is built on the assumption that every individual, family, group and community has strengths and focusing on these strengths leads to growth and overcoming difficulties.
Under this perspective, clients are generally the best experts about what types of helping strategies will be effective or ineffective.
The Cultural Competence Perspective
This perspective is the understanding and approval of cultural distinctions, taking into account the beliefs, values, activities, and customs of distinctive population groups.
Many cultures have prescribed ways of talking about health and the human body and these factors impact a person's reaction and acceptance of health services.
These perspectives are consistent with a Family-Centered or Client-Centered approach, which is central to the standards of best practice with persons with disabilities and consistent with social work's central values and framework.
Center on Human Development and Disability,
Clinical Training Unit, University of Washington,
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195-7920 firstname.lastname@example.org