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theory and practice

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Social Work and Empowerment Assignment 1 1455 The purpose of this essay is to explore social work theory and practice. The essay is based on a scenario of a father (Mathew), who after many years of caring for his disabled son (David), and having suffered a stroke attack an year ago, finds he is struggling to care for himself or the son. In relation to working with the elderly, the essay will discuss the roles of a social worker, the practice of empowerment, possible ethical dilemmas and an anti-oppressive practice. The type of agency chosen for this essay is Learning Disability Partnership (LPD) in Cambridgeshire. LPD is an organisation, which includes multi-disciplinary teams of Social Care Services and Health professionals. LPD dedicates services which help learning disabled people lead normal lives and life in abundance. Fully aware of the strain and stress brought on by caring, LPD tries to provide services which help people with learning disabilities, and their carers, to cope with these pressures. The diversity of social work roles in this organisation includes advocacy, direct change agent and executive. These roles can be used singly, or as a combination of two roles. The role of advocacy is about people speaking up for themselves directly or indirectly (Beckett, 2006: 9). Despite having communication problems, and assumning a positive mental capacity rationale on David, a social worker may advocate for David by providing specialist communication equipment that enable him to directly communicate without undue influence by his father. ...read more.


Needs determine the level of assessment required based mainly on empowerment and choice (Parker, Bradley, 2007). Contrary, defining the meaning of 'need' inevitably leads to procedural bias and restriction of services due to financial constraints. If the service user satisfies the local authorities eligibility criteria then they have a legal duty to provide the necessary assistance. For example needs for both Matthew and David vary and might change over time. Matthew's perspective might be need of rehabilitation and home help to enhance his physical well being whilst David's needs might be gradual introduction to socialisation and communication needs. Choices for independence targets services for persons at risk for institutionalisation. The Kantanian approach of individualisation (rights and respect for David and Matthew to be treated with personal differences) and user-self-determination (liberty to make informed choices or decisions) promote choice and independence (Banks, 2003:31). Direct Payments, supports self-directed care. This enables David and Matthew to recruit, organise and pay for their own services, enabling them to exercise choice and control over their lives. The campaign for real choice by guardian newspaper quotes that "the growth of direct payments is causing for celebration, alongside pilot schemes for individual budgets which give disabled people more independence" (www.guardian.co.uk). Social model is concerned with experiences of vulnerable people at a risk of oppression and social devaluation, seeking to reserve vulnerability. ...read more.


Conflict of interest arises on who the primary client is. Once a referral has been made, a social worker will purposely be going in to assess whoever is in need. However it soon comes to light that both the service user and the carer are in need, torn between two people in need a social worker therefore has to work with the whole family creating conflict of interest. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that: "a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity". In line with this, dilemma occurs on how to assess capacity and to what extend would capacity be measurable? A social worker is obliged to make a value judgmental call, and if the wrong move is made then the consequences lie with the social worker. To overcome these dilemmas awareness training and anti discriminatory practice would give a balance. From learnt theories it is evident that some social workers might have limited resources and lack of awareness. If a social worker is not aware or informed of these factors, then they will not be able to achieve empowering practice and that they will find their practice may revolve more around issues of empowerment and control are evidently forgetting service users and carers self-determination. Conclusively, Social workers are employed in varied social settings necessitating diversity of social work roles. Empowerment enriches and enhances human suffering, therefore should always be linked with anti-discrimination. The topic of empowerment is very broad, it not only requires technical competence but also qualities of integrity, genuiness and self-awareness. ...read more.

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This essay aimed to discuss social work and empowerment in relation to a case study. There was a good introduction given outlining what would be covered. There is scope to improve this work. In particular there was a lack of

Marked by teacher Diane Apeah-Kubi 28/06/2013

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