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Social Work and Social Welfare

A Human Rights Foundation

Katherine van Wormer and Rosemary J. Link

Publication Date - June 2018

ISBN: 9780190612825

520 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

Illustrated with personal narratives, photographs, and critical thinking questions, Social Work and Social Welfare provides a global, human rights perspective on social welfare policies.


Unique in its use of a human rights framework, Social Work and Social Welfare goes beyond American borders to examine U.S. government policies-including child welfare, social services, health care, and criminal justice-within a global context. Guided by the belief that forces from the global market and predominant political ideologies affect all social workers in their practice, the book addresses a wide range of relevant topics, including the refugee journey, the impact of new technologies, war trauma, environmental justice, and restorative justice. As a general textbook, the content is organized to follow outlines for basic, introductory, and more advanced courses examining social welfare programs, policies, and issues.


  • Includes dynamic boxed readings on historical events, biographies, and social welfare practices in Norway, the UK, South Korea, Cuba, Ecuador, and the Caribbean
  • Features personal photographs taken by people in the middle of situations involving social action
  • Consistent with CSWE mandates, the text presents a chapter on environmental justice with attention to environmental classism and racism as well as to the impact of climate change on the earth around us.
  • Focuses on restorative justice as an alternative to traditional criminal justice and reparations for wrongs inflicted upon whole populations.
  • Describes US cultural norms and values that closely relate to social welfare policies (e.g. moralism, materialism, individualism, and a strong work ethic).
  • Includes an original outline for an anti-oppressive policy analysis for classroom use/discussion and term papers that focus on policy innovation.
  • Features critical thinking questions at the end of each chapter and includes a rubric of 2015 EPAS standards

About the Author(s)

Katherine Stuart van Wormer, PhD, MSSW, is Professor of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa. A native of New Orleans, she majored in English at the University of North Carolina where she was active in the Civil Rights Movement. She worked for several years in Northern Ireland as an English teacher and in Norway as an alcoholism counselor.

Rosemary J. Link, PhD, LISW, is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Simpson College. An international human rights expert, she has developed exchanges in a variety of countries, including Mexico with the Center for Global Education; initiated a 20 year sustained exchange of faculty and students with the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Augsburg College MN; and presented with Indian and US social work students in Bangalore, Chennai and Mangalore.


"The spirit of human rights and social work fit clearly, but the will to articulate human rights as foundational to social work has been sidelined - until now. This book provides human rights as an organizing framework, and makes it transferable to the syllabus and classroom. The global perspective is effective - we see more clearly when we learn through our peers around the world. The authors wisely include environmental justice and the kin idea of sustainable development; this is where human rights are nurtured or diminished for people all around the globe." - Christina L. Erickson, PhD, Associate Professor, Augsburg University

"van Wormer and Link capture the essence of social work as addressing the collective well-being of all with their emphasis on viewing human rights through a global lens. The star chapter about values analysis is a rare find and challenges students to think far past rugged individualism and geographic borders to realize there are many credible and worthy perspectives. The power analysis, cultural humility, and intersectionality approaches in the oppression chapter are current, holistic, and comprehensive. This is a go-to social work overview text due to the in-depth analysis of every piece of the social welfare pie." - Margo J. Heydt, EdD, LISW-S, Chair & Associate Professor, Social Work Department, Xavier University

Table of Contents


    PART I

    Chapter 1
    Social Work: A Human Rights Profession

    Chapter 2
    American Social Values in International Context

    Chapter 3
    Emergence of Social Work: Part I

    Chapter 4
    Emergence of Social Work: Part II

    Chapter 5
    Social Forms of Oppression

    Chapter 6
    Human Rights and Restorative Justice

    Chapter 7
    Poverty and Human Rights

    Chapter 8
    Public Assistance and Other Strategies to End Poverty


    Chapter 9
    Environmental Justice

    Chapter 10
    Child Welfare

    Chapter 11
    Care at the End of the Life Cycle

    Chapter 12
    Health Care as a Human Right
    by Marta Vides Saade

    Chapter 13
    Care for Persons with Mental and Physical Disabilities

    Epilogue "Putting It All Together"

    Appendix A: U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Appendix B: Outline for Anti-Oppressive Policy Analysis
    Appendix C: Relevant Internet Sites


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