The Connection Between Social Work And Community Development

Societal development is a slow and gradual process that takes years and decades. The more you rush things, the more complicated a situation is going to get. Even if you look to right certain wrongs in society, it’s best to let natural order take its time rather than rushing things. 

Forcing people to change the way they live isn’t the right approach. Instead, it would be best to educate and teach people and have them make their own decisions. When it comes to society, a person consciously making their own decisions is far better than someone who changed because they were told to do so.

On a community level, things are relatively similar, but there are minor differences in between. Social workers are key players who help in community development, from eradicating dysfunctions in society to improving living standards by motivating the youth. 

This article will look at social workers and their roles and how community development follows them. Here are some of the connections between the two. 

Motivating delinquent youth

One of the most common and starkest examples of social work is when state-appointed social workers deal with juvenile delinquencies. If these delinquencies go unchecked, things could go from bad to worse, and before you know it, unemployment levels could skyrocket. 

High school dropout rates are the first indication that a community is at risk, followed by drug abuse and teenage pregnancies. Once a social worker identifies a community, finds their issues, and addresses them accordingly, it is only a matter of time before things turn around. 

Through advanced education and experience, social workers can make a difference through change. With remote learning becoming more common, aspirants are opting for an online social work master degree as opposed to conventional ones. 

That means that we are likely to see an increase in social workers who may help motivate the youth. 

By talking to these individuals and finding the cause for their lack of motivation, workers can attempt to bring them back on track before they fall deeper into delinquency. 

Educating the community

When social workers see issues in the community, they take a top-down approach to resolving the dysfunction. They start by discussing the issue in broad terms and then narrowing it down to specific scenarios where the community doesn’t feel attacked. 

Educating adults is a highly challenging task, especially when living a certain way for decades. The youth is considerably easier to deal with as they are often more receptive to new ideas than older individuals. 

On the other hand, youngsters break out of their habits once presented with facts and adverse effects of their behaviors. 

It’s imperative to teach community members about the pros and cons of their lifestyle choices, whether it’s choosing to live off of unemployment benefits rather than getting a job or drug addiction. Social workers aim to show both sides of the picture and change in the most harmonious and unforced way. 

Community work over jail time

Social workers often encourage community service rather than jail time, especially for younger offenders. It depends on the nature of the offense, but in general, social workers will always opt for community service instead. 

The benefits of community service are far more significant than incarceration, and here’s how.

Jail often makes a person worse because other criminals surround them on the inside. Young adults don’t need to be exposed to such hostile environments early, especially if it’s a minor offense. 

Moreover, once you are released from prison, the stigma of being a criminal never leaves you. It’s hard to find a job when you get out, and people generally look at you with biased views. 

These factors impede an individual from achieving their true potential. If corrective action through community service can do the job and get their act together, why not consider the option? 

Exposing yourself to the prison system is a major no-no and should be avoided at all costs. The lifelong impacts of prison never leave you. 

Counseling and crime reduction

Community development through crime reduction is a goal all social workers have on their minds. However, small working-class communities often have unresolved childhood issues that make them behave a certain way. 

Most of them are unaware of therapy, and even if they are, they don’t have the money to seek a therapist anyway. 

Social workers help counsel these individuals and get to the root of what the real issue is. Whether it’s childhood neglect or emotional instability as an adult, it’s essential to talk to these people. Catharsis and therapy can go a long way rather than letting them lash out at society in the most unhealthy and illegal practices. 

Assuming that they will have full-length therapy practices is an unrealistic estimation. A few sessions a month for about an hour is all these social workers can squeeze. However, that too can go a long way in changing the way they think. 

Encouraging job/ college fairs

Small communities often go unnoticed during job drives. People are often unmotivated to do anything, so they could be overlooked and never achieve much in society. 

The same goes for high-school graduates who don’t have much on their minds. A social worker can help these people find jobs and good universities. With the help of the local government, they can encourage job and college drives to get these people moving and help them do more for themselves in life. 

It may seem like a reductionist solution to find them jobs, but once they derive meaning from life, they are likely to change their outlook on the world. 

Conclusion

We’ve discussed some of the most common ways that social workers and community development are linked. The factors mentioned above highlight the essential roles of social workers and how they play an integral part in changing the community. 

Perhaps now we might develop a new appreciation for social workers and start acknowledging the work they do. Sometimes a single worker can turn a whole community around by their sheer dedication. They indeed are the unsung heroes of our society.

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