Social Works Practice

The current social works frameworks, which are universally accepted, independent in practice and methodology, skills and knowledge are linked to the ecological systems, general systems, and the modern natural system perspective.  The age-old social work’s principle still grapples with system approaches and identity issues. The frameworks are struggling to align the social work goal of fostering peace to people and creating harmony in their changing selves and to those of the environment.  Social works have undergone history of wrestling match with its experiences, both wily and elusive.

The spotlight of social works is traced in the United States of America between the late 19th century and at the start of the 20th century. The key social works players were Mary Richmond and Jane Adams. The two played a crucial role in splitting the social works into two distinct casts. Franklin (1986) attributes the performances of the social workers to their historical background. Among other factors, which shaped the icons, work include the religious beliefs, Charity Organization Societies (COS), the intellectual environment, and the easy to adopt Settlement Houses in England. The social work environment was enabling as long as the players had a clear roles to perform and the will power to manage their roles.

Richmond adopted the Charity Organization Societies (COS) through rehabilitation of the needy in the society. The essence of rehabilitation was to restore moral sanity among the underprivileged through education. The COS provided the environment necessary for the practice. The underprivileged were never treated as unique members of the society since anyone could become a victim of bad social, environmental, and economic circumstances. A perfect example as espoused by Franklin (1986) was the 1993 American economic depression and 1985 English learning by Charles Booth. It was clear that anybody, irrespective of demographic factors, or social class, is vulnerable to the unrelenting social forces. The Settlement House Movement adopted holistic principles that formed the societal fabric, “the experiences, thinking, and actions of local populations that could affect broad social and economic reforms” (Franklin, p. 508).

 Adams success was curtailed by her high political interests. Through Adam’s fall from grace, Richmond tethered the moral certainty model to the medical model and the popular psychoanalysis, which made the social work environment come from preoccupation with people’s casework, at the cost of person in environment (PIE). The characteristic prevailed into the 1960’s social works environment.

Thomas Kuhn’s coined the “paradigm shift,” which is a strike through when the existing rules of engagement are no longer enough to result the existing problems. Usually, a new protocol of solving the problems is adapted. Kuhn’s paradigm shift became known as a certainty of rational fact searching into 1960s. The rational inquiry model, now considered the Paradigm old became useful in outlining the experiences following the great depression (Popple, 1985). They formed an important source of the civil rights movement, after the realization that the social workers clear organization to meet the growing social challenges (Ramsay, 1986).


Franklin DL (1986). Mary Richmond and Jane Addams: From Moral Certainty to Rational Inquiry in Social Work Practice. Social Service Review, (December), 504-525.

Popple P (1985). The Social Work Profession: A Reconceptualization. Social Service Review, (December), 560-576.

Ramsay RF (1986). Social Work’s Search for a Common Conceptual Framework. Proceedings:    23rd International Congress of Schools of Social Work (August 27-31), Tokyo, Japan.   Eds. V. Kojima and T. Hosaka, 50-57.