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
The medical model in psychiatry assumes medical intervention is the treatment of choice for the constellations of diagnosed symptoms that comprise various mental disorders. These treatments may include pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive treatment, brain stimulation, and psychosurgery. Therefore, psychopharmacology for older adults can be considered palliative rather than a cure for a brain disease causing psychopathology. Older adults experience many psychopathological problems, including anorexia tardive, anxiety disorders, delusional disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and co-occurring disorders with substance abuse/dependence disorders. Therefore, it is critical for the social worker to understand the various manifestations of psychological problems in older adults from the perspective of an older adult, rather than extrapolating information commonly taught in social work programs that neglect to focus on older adults and restrict teaching to psycho-pathological problems in younger and middle-aged adults.
For older adults, the phenomenon of death is accepted and does not induce the fear experienced by younger adults. Older adults who do not engage in end-of-life planning may receive unwanted, unnecessary, costly, and painful medical interventions or withdrawal of desired treatment. Many older people feel that the goal of palliative care is to make the best possible dying experience for the older adult and his/her family. In addition to palliative care, an older adult will most likely find himself or herself in an intensive care unit as part of his or her terminal care. Euthanasia, or hastened death, is seen by some as an alternative to palliative care. A psychological aspect of death that an older adult is concerned with, in addition to place of death, is whether he or she will die in his or her sleep or die suddenly, making the death experience an individual phenomenon.
This concluding chapter summarizes the major points regarding elder abuse (EA) presented in the preceding chapters. It concludes the chapter by taking one last opportunity to encourage exploration and initiation of system-level efforts to solve a major public health problem. The socioecological framework for violence prevention utilized within domestic and global public health work is applicable and extendable to EA. Throughout this book, the authors have argued that EA is a public health problem and that EA may well be among the most under-recognized and under-resourced population health problems of the early 21st century. Public health has frameworks, tools, approaches, relationships, structures, systems, and a variety of agents and organizations poised to address the problem of EA. The imprimatur of the growing population of older adults and the character of demographic transitions occurring globally provide the perfect rationale for action—now.
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.
This chapter focuses on informal caregiving among minority groups. It also focuses on context of caregiving and discuss the various specific challenges caregivers of minority older adults face. The chapter examines some of the specific caregiving interventions tailored for families of color and discuss the implications for practice, policy, and research. Medical advances and greater longevity point to healthier and longer lives for many, but both formal and informal caregiving remain a concern as individuals age and develop conditions that require care. Caregivers are often able to realize the positive aspects of caregiving when they are not struggling with financial or social support challenges. Despite the vast literature on caregiving in general, research pertaining to the needs and experiences of racial/ethnic minority older adults and their caregivers is limited, particularly for American Indians, Pacific Islanders, specific Asian American and Latino subgroups, and religious minorities groups such as Muslim Americans.
This chapter discusses current thinking in the field of social support and social relationships, and physical and mental health among older racial and ethnic minorities. Social relationships are an important predictor of health and psychological well-being across the life course. Many minority older adults will face the continued challenges of declining functional status due to physical and mental health conditions over the course of their lives. Most empirical studies on social support among older racial and ethnic minority adults explore the association between social support and both physical and mental health. The wealth of studies on social support among minority older adults has much to offer with respect to understanding the correlates of emotional support and patterns of assistance. The biological mechanisms explaining the link between social support and physical health outcomes have been largely unexplored among older racial and ethnic minority groups.
- 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.
This book provides the foundations and training that social workers need to master cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is based on several principles namely cognitions affect behavior and emotion; certain experiences can evoke cognitions, explanation, and attributions about that situation; cognitions may be made aware, monitored, and altered; desired emotional and behavioral change can be achieved through cognitive change. CBT employs a number of distinct and unique therapeutic strategies in its practice. As the human services increasingly develop robust evidence regarding the effectiveness of various psychosocial treatments for various clinical disorders and life problems, it becomes increasingly incumbent upon individual practitioners to become proficient in, and to provide, as first choice treatments, these various forms of evidence-based practice. It is also increasingly evident that CBT and practice represents a strongly supported approach to social work education and practice. The book covers the most common disorders encountered when working with adults, children, families, and couples including: anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorder, sexual and physical abuse, substance misuse, grief and bereavement, and eating disorders. Clinical social workers have an opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of historic, philosophical change in 21st-century medicine. While studies using the most advanced medical technology show the impact of emotional suffering on physical disease, other studies using the same technology are demonstrating CBT’s effectiveness in relieving not just emotional suffering but physical suffering among medically ill patients.
- 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.