Chapter 03

Chapter Three Objectives: Context of Practice

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Knowledge (Declarative Knowledge)

By the end of the chapter should possess declarative knowledge about:
  1. The two major social welfare policy models: Keynesian and Schumpeterian
  2. The fact that policy and program goals are value-based, normative and prescriptive
  3. The competing values and political and economic ideologies vie with each other to define social welfare policies and programs.
  4. What is meant by the phrase, context of practice, and be able to identify its 8 components
  5. The four types of contracts that legitimize social work practice: between (a) society and the profession, (b) the profession and the professional, (c) employer and employees, and (d) worker-client
  6. Where social work is practiced: in primary and host agency settings and under public, non-profit and for-profit auspices.
  7. The regulatory context of social work practice: curriculum standards, professional degrees, the NASW Code of Ethics, and licensing regulations
  8. Managed care as a context of practice.
  9. Indirect direct practice e.g. that value-based ideologies inform mission statements and get institutionalized through policy in the form of public laws that create social programs delivered by social workers in direct, face to face contact with clients, in agencies managed by social work administrators

Skills (Application of Knowledge- Procedural and Tacit Knowing)

By the end of this chapter you should demonstrate beginning competency as a professional social worker working within the context of an agency setting by being able to:
  1. Determine client eligibility for the specific program benefits offered by your agency
  2. Describe and analyze the agency within which you are placed: its field of practice,    auspice, chain of command, mission statement, procedures (operational manual), its    funding source, the policies and laws that create the program services that are    delivered,  the population it serves and the client"s route to service
  3. Access your state licensing board and your national and local chapter of NASW to    ascertain the legal context of practice unique to your state and agency setting .


  1. Appreciate the nuanced values and ideological context of  "Social Welfare" policies
  2.     and programs; universal and non-stigmatized versus those that are residual and     stigmatized.
  3. Respect the fact that indirect practice is the context for direct practice
  4. Respect the fact that direct practice is the face-to-face clinical implementation of     indirect practice policies and programs in agencies managed by social work         administrators.
  5. Engage in ethical and value analysis of managed care as a context of service     delivery.

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