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Critical Thinking

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One of the primary focuses of social work is social change. Social workers must be committed to reforming existing laws, procedures, and attitudes until they are more responsive to human needs. Many pioneer social workers were active reformers who worked to improve the conditions in slums, hospitals, and poorhouses. Today social workers actively influence social legislation in an effort to create new social programs or to change factors that contribute to damaging social conditions such as racism, sexism, and poverty (Morales & Sheafor, 2004, 33). In an effort to facilitate such changes in social policy a social worker must conduct research, analyze the needs of the communities, and inform the public in order to achieve societal change. Thus, social workers believe that society has a responsibility to provide resources and services to help people avoid such problems as hunger, insufficient education, discrimination, illness without care, and inadequate housing (Morales et al., 2004, 141).

Environmental factors play a significant role in abuse and neglect cases. When the parent or parents are overwhelmed with parenting and other life stresses and they do not have access to supportive services and social networks, such as daycare or family members to provide respite, the likelihood of physical abuse is greater than that of a family who has access to needed resources. Poverty also plays a role in significantly increasing the risk of abuse or neglect. Financial difficulties associated with job loss or little to no access to educational resources increases a parent's stress, which highly correlates with the likelihood of physical abuse taking place.

As a social worker with Child Protective Services I work directly with clients on a day to day basis. Part of my job is to assist clients in getting services they need in order to maintain an abuse and/or neglect free home. We also have cases that are classified as FINSA cases, which stands for "Family in Need of Services." In this instance there is no reported abuse and/or neglect but the family is in dire need of services in order to prevent the child(ren) from being placed in out of home care. Once a case is established information is gathered to determine the specific needs of the family and an assessment of the situation



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