Goals of Social work where community is client


Class 5:

The Community as Client


Generalist Macro Practice

Professor Dick Schoech

Copyright 2005 (permission required before use)

Suggest printing slides for class using: Print | Handouts | 3 slides per page | grayscale options

Review of Course

Generalist macro practice history, change process, roles, levels of intervention

Theories, values, perspectives

The community as client

Social conditions as problems/opportunities

Assessing social conditions

Intervening in social conditions

Administrative practices

Overview of Today’s Content

Definitions of Community

Relevant theories

Functions of communities

Changes occurring in communities

Organizations vs. Communities

Goals of social work where community is client

Definition of Community

A group of individuals or families that share certain values, services, institutions, interests, or geographical proximity (text, p. 260)

Shared physical space or interest

Social interaction

Sense of identity

A functional special unit that meets people’s sustenance needs, helps form collective identities, and patterned social interaction (Fellin)

Neighborhoods (geographical) vs. communities

Functions of Community


Production, distribution, consumption of goods

Social control

Mutual support

Social participation (



) (text, p. 261)

Theories for community

Ecological Social Systems

 population characteristics

 physical environment

 social structures

Action theories

– focuses on relationships, interactions, values, shared meaning

Power Theories

– Focus on who influences or decides (text, p. 280.

Changes in Communities


Warren, Fellin


Urbanization, suburbanization, immigration (text p. 273)

Diversification of population

Minority populations younger (50% of Mex Am are below age 25)

Movement from rural to rapidly growing Urban areas

Transfer individual/family functions to govt/business, sewing, cooking, child care, elderly care, etc

Stronger ties to the larger community, (national, international, global village)

Changing values

(Divorce, blended families, violence)

New structures (virtual communities)

Community as Resource System

Focus on assets and capacities of


Religious groups

Professional groups

Social service agencies

Business/trade groups

Civic groups

Consumer groups

Educational organizations

Goals of Social work where community is client

Produce community that helps people cope and grow towards self fulfillment

Produce people who are functioning well physically/ psychologically/ socially/ spiritually

Produce people with little need for human services

Provides social services if needed

Community well functioning (course pack, p. 52)

Ontario healthy communities

( http://www.opc.on.ca/ohcc/


Neighborhood Knowledge LA

( http://nkla.sppsr.ucla.edu

/ )


Community is client and tool/resource

Societal changes result in communities causing problems

(client) rather than preventing or solving them


Social workers determine when to use 1+ of many community approaches to solve a social problem

Use generic social work process with communities

Terms: change agent, target system, client system

(stakeholders), action system. Text p. 266

Think of organizations in community practice as similar to individuals in family practice