Engagement and Assessment of Communities

You should begin researching a community for which you would like to assess strengths and needs in order to prepare for next week’s Discussion and Assignment. For more information on this assignment, please refer to the Assignment section of Week 5.

  • Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2012). Understanding generalist practice (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
    • Chapter 5, “Engagement and Assessment in Generalist Practice” (pp. 161-206)

      Itzhaky, H., & York, A. S. (2002). Showing results in community organization. Social Work, 47(2), 125-131.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

  • Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2012). Understanding generalist practice (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
    • Chapter 4, “Skills for Working with Organizations and Communities” (pp. 127-160)
  • Discussion: Community Social Work

When was the last time you drove through an unfamiliar neighborhood or community? How quickly did you identify that area as a “good” or “bad” part of town? What led you to that assessment? It is easy to label a community or town based on its appearance or reputation alone. Have you ever wondered, as you drove through certain communities, why some areas appear to be safe, clean, and filled with many varied businesses, while others appear run-down and lined with only check cashing centers, fast-food restaurants, and liquor stores?  As a macro social worker, you often will see that communities thrive and falter due to the lack of resources available. Additionally, these areas may not grow or prosper because their resources have been untapped.  Identifying strengths—be it in your individual clients, groups, families, and communities—is a key social work value. Use of this strengths perspective helps you to identify the potential strengths of a community and how to advocate for its members to obtain the resources and services they need to be successful.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Resources. Reflect on a community with which you are familiar and that is in close proximity to you. Then, consider the population and geographical characteristics of that community, as well as its strengths and challenges. Take pictures of the community that represent the characteristics you identified. Finally, think about how these challenges you identified might be viewed as a strength for that community.

Post by Day 3 a description of the community you selected. Then, explain the strengths and challenges associated with that community based on its characteristics. Finally, explain how you, as a social worker, might help the community view its perceived challenges as a strength.

Be sure to post the pictures you took that represent the characteristics you identified in the community.

Support your posts and responses with specific references to the Resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

  • Assignment: Assessment Application
    Engagement and Assessment of Communities

Working with entire communities and organizations might seem overwhelming, due to the large number of people involved. Where do you begin? It might be a relief to know that the GIM is just as useful to social workers practicing at the macro level as it is for those practicing at the micro and mezzo levels. In fact, you begin the process in the same way with proper engagement and the appropriate form of assessment before enacting an intervention. Successful engagement and assessment depends on strong interpersonal skills, regardless of the level of intervention. In some respects, skills such as empathy, warmth, genuineness, and general rapport-building are the same for macro work as they are for micro and mezzo work—they just may be applied in a different way. In other respects, this level of intervention depends on additional skills not often identified as social work-related, including negotiating, mediating, assessing, and budgeting. How might you utilize these skills when engaging and assessing communities? A competent and successful social work policy practitioner is able to meld these skills. This is of particular necessity when the goal is social change.

For this Assignment, review this week’s Resources. Refer to the community you selected for this week’s Discussion. Then imagine that you have been assigned to complete a needs assessment and identify potential resources for this community. You elected to interview key informants as one form of assessing this community. Consider who you would contact as a key informant for this community. Finally, think about how you might engage the informant to obtain the community details to complete your needs assessment.

Assignment: (2- to 4-page paper in APA format).

Your paper should include the following:

    • A description of the community you selected
    • A description of the key informants you would contact within that community
    • An explanation of why you would contact the key informants you selected
    • An explanation of the skills you might use to engage these informants to obtain the community details to complete your needs assessment and explain why you chose those skills.

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