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Social Work In Rural Areas. Chapter 18. Introduction . The rural population of the United States is difficult to define, but demographic experts place the rural population between 55 million and 87 million. This amount nearly equals the population of France or England.

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introduction
Introduction
  • The rural population of the United States is difficult to define, but demographic experts place the rural population between 55 million and 87 million.
  • This amount nearly equals the population of France or England.
  • In April of 1989 the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families determined that 16.9% of the rural population are living in poverty.
introduction3
Introduction
  • One rural study identified urgently needed services in the following areas:
    • Job and economic problems
    • Alcohol and drug problems of adults and youth
    • Lack of constructive leisure-time programs and facilities
    • Marriage and family problems
    • Personal stress, anxiety, depression.
beginnings in rural social work
Beginnings in Rural Social Work
  • Rural social work practice can be traced to the Country Life Commission of 1908 appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt and the National Conference of Charities and Correction of the same year.
  • Interest in rural social work waned during World War II and the 1950’s.
  • A resurgence of interest began to develop in the late 1960’s as a result of the War on Poverty philosophy and also important social work leadership by Leon Ginsberg and others.
rural social work practice
Rural Social Work Practice
  • A rural social worker is described as a generalist who brings to bear a broad range of methodologies and skills in practice.
  • The rural social worker need to understand both the positive and negatives of working in small rural communities.
rural social work practice6
Rural Social Work Practice
  • Some important positive elements:
    • Open communication systems
    • Interagency cooperation
    • A sense of community
  • Some negative elements of working in a rural area:
    • Geographic isolation
    • Personnel isolation
    • Service isolation
roles of the rural social worker
Roles of the Rural Social Worker
  • Direct Service Role – with individuals, couples, families and groups. Rural social workers need to convey to the community the fact that social work is a valuable resource to every community member.
  • Resource Specialist – one of the most difficult roles the rural social worker assumes is that of assisting in the optimal utilization of the limited resources available in many rural areas. It requires imagination and creativity to put together resources in order to serve human needs effectively.
roles of the rural social worker8
Roles of the Rural Social Worker
  • Social Service Administrator and Community Organizer – most rural communities have few professional people, and rural social workers usually find themselves in the role of trying to coordinate all the social services in the community. The rural social worker needs to be able to relate to the power structure of the community.
positive aspects of social work roles in rural communities
Positive Aspects of Social Work Roles in Rural Communities
  • Independence
  • Rapid advancement
  • Tangible rewards
  • Personal rewards
  • Recognition
learning for rural social work
Learning for Rural Social Work
  • Some social work educators are supporting a rural advanced generalist curriculum because rural social work requires knowledge of micro, mezzo, and macro intervention skills.
  • Social work education is good preparation for work in rural communities because it emphasizes the interaction of the individual and the environment.
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