This chapter demonstrates how social work ethics apply to ethical and legal decision making in forensic social work practice. It discusses the context of social work practice in legal systems. The chapter also details the basic structures of the United States (U.S.) civil and criminal legal systems. It lays the foundation for the criminal and civil court processes in the United States and introduces basic terminology and a description of associated activities and progression through these systems. The chapter focuses on providing an introductory, and overarching, picture of both civil and criminal law in the U.S. and introduces the roles social workers play in these systems. It focuses on the ETHICA model of ethical decision making as a resource and tool that can be used to help forensic social workers process difficult and complex situations across multiple systems.
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- Go to chapter: Social Work and the Law: An Overview of Ethics, Social Work, and Civil and Criminal Law
This chapter explains the concept of vulnerability and demographics of vulnerable populations. Poverty is the primary cause of vulnerability: It limits resources in many areas of life. From a public health perspective, a population is vulnerable by virtue of status, which means that some groups are at greater risk than others. Faith community nurses (FNCs) may have many or few opportunities to work with vulnerable persons, depending on the demographics of the faith community. Living in poverty decreases access to resources. It increases the likelihood that a person will experience adversity related to physical, psychological, and social health, as well as poor housing, nutrition, health care services, and education. FCNs need to be knowledgeable about programs such as social services, welfare, Medicaid, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as local food banks.
This chapter examines the Older Americans Act (OAA) through the prism of the coming nexus of aging and ethnic/racial diversity. It explains that the OAA can serve as a foundation for building a home- and community-based set of services for all older adults and persons with disabilities and for addressing aging in the 2lst century. The OAA is the primary federal program providing a host of services that enable older persons and their families to live in their homes and communities with a measure of dignity and independence. The OAA, Administration on Aging (AOA), and aging network today provide five major categories of services: access to social and legal services, nutrition, home- and community-based long-term social and supportive services, disease prevention and health promotion, and vulnerable elder rights protections. The OAA and the AOA remain secondary players in national agenda setting for an aging population.
- Go to chapter: Structural and Cultural Issues in Long-Term Services and Supports for Minority Populations
This chapter examines the history of long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs to document their racially and ethnically disparate impact, and explain the current research on the access and quality of LTSS used by older adults in communities of color. LTSS are a set of health and social services delivered over a sustained period to people who have lost or never acquired some capacity for personal care. The high costs of LTSS have led a smaller number of low-income older adults to consume a large share of Medicaid expenditures. Cultural beliefs about family responsibility to care for older adults as well as attitudes toward the use of formal and/or public health and long-term care services can shape older adults’ use of LTSS. The coming sociodemographic shift of older minority adults calls attention to other structural and cultural issues that facilitate or inhibit the appropriate use of LTSS.
The field of public health is the oldest form of organized health concerns in American society. Hospitals extended or introduced social services in their organizations. One of the medical students was Dr. Robert Kane, who did his military service as medical director of the Native American reservation at Shiprock and wrote about it in his first Springer book Federal Health Care with Reservations. Dr. Steven Jonas also founded a Springer Series on Medical Education, which includes books with social and humanitarian perspectives in the medical field. Public health grew and expanded and developed close academic proximity with health administration, social work, and rehabilitation. Springer published books in all these fields, where the buyers would purchase books focused on their own interests or academic work. For earlier years, comparable figures could be presented with nursing dominating the list of publishing fields.
- Go to chapter: The Role of Neurobiology in Social Work Practice With Youth Transitioning From Foster Care
This chapter presents advances in the understanding of adolescent brain development that can inform and improve social work practice with youth leaving foster care. Foster care populations have a high rate of mental health disorders, and the association of types of child maltreatment with elevated risk for such disorders is well known; discussion of specific mental health problems and their treatment can be found elsewhere. Conventional mental health approaches have often targeted the innervated cortical or limbic neural systems, rather than the innervating source of the dysregulation. Psychotherapy, whether psychodynamic or cognitive, acts on and has measurable effects on the brain, its functions, and metabolism in specific brain areas. The ethical response is a sharing of the dilemma, and of information about the neurobiology of the client’s struggle, to enable the client to make as informed a decision as possible. In addition, neuroimaging techniques themselves lead to other ethical dilemmas.
This chapter provides a summary of the social-cognitive neuroscience conceptualization of empathy. It discusses the application of neuroscience research to social work education, practice, and research. Empathy activates neural networks, groups of nerve cells that are connected by synaptic junctions. These three cognitive abilities, self-other awareness, perspective-taking, and emotion regulation, are critical components in the inductive process that results in the experience of affective empathy. Without these three cognitive abilities, people are more likely to be overwhelmed by the effects of the Shared representation System (SRS) and experience emotional contagion rather than affective empathy. Underlying the cognitive empathy appraisal process is the concept known as theory of mind (ToM). The affective empathy induction process relies heavily on a part of the brain known as the limbic system, which is near the center of the brain and evolved first in early mammals.
This chapter focuses on mirror neurons, which were discovered in the 1990s in Italy. It describes the relevance of mirror neurons for social work practice and addresses some research implications of this topic. The chapter explains the functions of the mirror neuron system (MNS), which includes a discussion of imitation, action understanding, intention understanding, theory of mind (ToM), and empathy. It includes sections on the neuroscience contributions to attachment theory, the concept of the social brain, micro-practice and policy implications, and research implications. Mirror neurons are a specialized kind of brain cells that form a network located in the temporal, occipital, and parietal visual areas, and two additional brain regions that are mainly involved with motor actions. The auditory motor neurons found in the high vocal center (HVC) of swamp sparrows are considered to be very similar to the visual motor mirror neurons that have been discovered in primates.
This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book serves as a practice resource for social workers by making accessible the vast territory covered by the social, cognitive, and affective neurosciences over the past 20 years, helping the reader actively apply scientific findings to practice settings, populations, and cases. It helps readers gain a deeper understanding of how neuroscience should and can help the design, development, and expansion of therapeutic interventions, social programs, and policies for working with our most vulnerable populations. The book considers the neuroscientific implications for social work practice in child welfare and educational settings across system levels. It highlights the neuroscientific literature that can inform social work practice in health and mental health. The book concludes by discussing the neuroscientific implication of social work practice in the criminal justice system.
This chapter provides definitions and scope of the problem of eliminating disparities in end-of-life (EOL) care. It provides a translation of the theories and research that can be used to guide social work practice with minority older adults. The chapter suggests that when working with minority elderly, the psychosocial needs of the patient and family become even more critical in decisions that may affect the timing of death. The term end-of-life care traditionally refers to the last phases of an illness before death; however, experiences across the earlier course of the illness are critical to shaping the anticipation, expectations, and preparedness for care during the terminal phases of illness. In terms of EOL care decision making and the disparity in hospice utilization across racial groups, Critical Race Theory (CRT) offers insight for looking at race relations in a broader context than the traditional perspective.