Social Work Practice: Individuals and Families
The need for social workers to have some understanding of cultural influences on behaviour and on the interaction between family members rather than focusing exclusively on one individual is seen in work with members of ethnic minorities. In making assessments social workers need to bear in mind the cultural dimension found throughout social work. Cultural differences between clients and social workers are important if they are of the same nationality. They require careful consideration too if they are of different nationality or ethnic origin. Social workers need to look at their moral and intellectual adequacy with minority groups. Social workers need to have some understanding of clients’ family and social networks, and their values and past and present experiences. For example, one needs to discover if the client is part of a family, what the pattern of obligations and responsibilities is, and the roles of the head and other members. To whom would the client be expected to defer? Who would be expected to defer to the client? How are children cared for? What personality characteristics are highly valued?
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