The Importance Of Empowerment In Social Work

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Advocacy is the cornerstone upon which social work is built. According to Cummins, Byers, and Pedrick (2011) social work is a practice-oriented profession grounded in the core values of self-determination, empowerment, confidentiality, the right to access the basic resources, and a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings. Cummins et. al. (2011) discusses the six core values and NASW Code of Ethics that provide social work practitioners with a set of guidelines for practice and ethical responsibilities to clients, colleagues and the broader society. When advocating on behalf of a population experiencing a social problem, empowerment seems to be more prevalent than one may think, although this remains a difficult skill to master. Empowerment is the process of enabling an oppressed or marginalized population to think, behave, and take action in autonomous ways. The purpose of empowerment is to assist an oppressed and/or marginalized group in overcoming feelings of powerlessness and negative valuations so they can resolve their problems and influence political change (Hardina, 2003). In social work, the goal of empowerment is to increase the power of the oppressed population or community (Hardina, 2003). Hardina (2004) and Cummins et. al. (2011) both discuss ethical issues encountered when working with community organizing. When advocating on behalf of a target population or community it is criteria that organizers reflect on their personal goals and values as well as assess the seriousness of the problem being addressed, personal risks and benefits engaging in the resolution of potentially conflictive issues (Hardina, 2004). The need to advocate on behalf of others seems especially important for ta... ... middle of paper ... ...fforts. School-linked mental health services are essential to a school’s ability to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, address classroom behavior and discipline, promote students’ academic success, prevent and respond to crisis, support students’ social-emotional needs, identify and respond to a serious mental health problem, and support and partner with at-risk families. Without all youth having access to school-linked mental health services their mental health needs remain unmet. Due to a lack of access to treatment resources and this could negatively affect students development as well as impact their ability to learn and be successful in school. By our group advocating on behalf of all youth for access to school-linked mental health services we are challenging social injustice in order promote equality in the school system.
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