SW 604A: Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Childhood and Adolescence
Instructor: Sandy Howard, M.S.W
September 24, 2013 “The Functions of Social Worker in Empowering: The Voices of Consumers and Professionals”
A research was done to define the word “empowerment” which involved single parents, teens, elderlies and activists. Some believe that is “power to” and “power over”. There is lots of disagreement regarding how power is exercised, some focus on the way in which decisions are made; others use their ability to prevent decisions from being made. Moreover, some people combine their personal and social dimensions to build and define social reality. According to the article, there is no agreement or definition of “empowerment” but according to literatures, the general role of social worker is a nondirective in the empowerment process; “people empower themselves” and social workers should assist them to be empower. Beyond the principle of self-determination the principle of self-empowerment emphasizes the client’s rights and responsibility in the process of human empowerment. According to the article, many authors concentrate on their self-determination as the most critical value and principle for their practice, reducing the imbalance of power between consumers and workers. This model gives consumers more independence of making decisions that influence their lives. Social workers involve the consumer to help them in the process of making those decisions. In the research done, according to the article, consumers focused on their families, friends, health and their living conditions. Many elderly consumers focused in their financial situations and the ability to maintain them; the activists were worried about the availability of education, health, social welfare resources and the quality of community services. Empowerment for many single parents in this research demonstrated economic independence.
The group of single parents, elderly and activists related empowerment to strengthening self-images, sense of control, skills and capacities; each of these groups emphasized on concrete outcomes. However, the teenagers group emphasized empowerment more than tangible outcome, such as the feeling of being free, capable of manage life, freedom of having others influencing their lives and the freedom to do what they want. I do agree with the article, social workers are here to help individuals realize their own strength and to empower them to have a better life by exposing them to resources. However, there are many social workers that do not know their own strengths or abuse their power by intimidating, having sexual relations and/or making decision against their own believes. Most individuals depend on social workers more in the beginning stage of the implementation of resources because they are informed that the workers endeavoring are temporally. Social workers emphasize with clients that termination