Journal Article

Social Workers Serving Poor Clients: Perceptions of Poverty and Service Policy

M. Monnickendam, Ch. Katz and M. S. Monnickendam

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 3, pages 911-927
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp001
Social Workers Serving Poor Clients: Perceptions of Poverty and Service Policy

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Summary

This qualitative study extends current research on social workers' perceptions of poverty and the views of their roles by investigating how these perceptions are manifested in actions. How are the perceptions of poverty, poor clients, and the roles and the responsibilities of social work directors of council social services in Israel reflected in their definition and implementation of the services’ poverty related policy, i.e., the services they offer the poor and the services they recommend creating for the poor, within the cultural and situational context of people living in poverty in Israel. A focus group with eleven directors and in-depth interviews with six directors were conducted. The study shows that poverty perceptions are reflected in service policy. Directors were unsure of their professional role and responsibilities with regard to poverty, preferred intervention at the individual or family level over policy-practice, did not perceive the poor as a target population, did not direct their efforts at the poor, and consequently did not develop poor client centred services.

Keywords: Poverty perception; poverty; service policy; social work mission; community

Journal Article.  6589 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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