Jill E. Manske
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates the nation's largest health-care system, with 1,300 facilities providing health care to 5.6 million veterans. VA offers pension and compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education benefits, home loan guarantee, life insurance, and burial in national cemeteries. VA social workers have played key roles in the delivery of psychosocial and mental health services since 1926, creating seamless transition processes for combat veterans, care coordination programs for home health-care monitoring, and long-term case management for veterans with polytraumatic injuries. VA employs 4,500 M.S.W.s and trains 600–700 M.S.W. students each year.
Karen S. Knox
Social workers provide services for crime victims and their families in a variety of settings, including law enforcement, the court systems, corrections, and parole or probation. This entry presents a historical overview of the types of victim-services programs and models that have been developed since the beginning of the 20th century. Social-work roles and interventions in victim-services programs are discussed. The need for specialized education and training in crisis intervention, domestic violence, and child abuse is addressed, along with recent challenges and innovations in the field of victim services.
Kathryn P. Alessandria
Research on White ethnics is lacking in the diversity literature; when included, they are used as the comparison for other ethnic groups. Diversity exists among White ethnics; consequences of ignoring these differences include culturally insensitive and inappropriate treatment, misunderstanding clients, and poor therapeutic alliances. The heterogeneity within the White ethnic population and strategies for gaining cultural information and demonstrating cross-cultural effectiveness are discussed.
Vimla Nadkarni and Roopashri Sinha
The entry outlines a historical and global overview of women’s health in the context of human rights and public health activism. It unravels social myths, traditional norms, and stereotypes impacting women’s health because social workers must understand the diverse factors affecting women’s health in a continually changing and globalized world. There is need for more inclusive feminist and human rights models to study and advocate women’s health. There is as much scope for working with women in a more holistic manner as there is for researching challenging issues and environments shaping women’s health.
Women have a lengthy history of fighting their oppression as women and the inequalities associated with this to claim their place on the world stage, in their countries, and within their families. This article focuses on women’s struggles to be recognized as having legitimate concerns about development initiatives at all levels of society and valuable contributions to make to social development. Crucial to their endeavors were: (1) upholding gender equality and insisting that women be included in all deliberations about sustainable development and (2) seeing that their daily life needs, including their human rights, be treated with respect and dignity and their right to and need for education, health, housing, and all other public goods are realized. The role of the United Nations in these endeavors is also considered. Its policies on gender and development, on poverty alleviation strategies—including the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals—are discussed and critiqued. Women’s rights are human rights, but their realization remains a challenge for policymakers and practitioners everywhere. Social workers have a vital role to play in advocating for gender equality and mobilizing women to take action in support of their right to social justice. Our struggle for equality has a long and courageous history.
Alice B. Gates
This entry describes worker centers as new sites of community practice. Worker centers are community-based organizations focused on the needs of low-wage and immigrant workers. This new organizational form emerged most prominently in the United States since the mid-1990s, largely in response to concerns about workplace abuses in low-wage and informal sectors. Drawing on multiple traditions, including labor unions, settlement houses, and ethnic agencies, worker centers offer a hybrid approach to planned change: They support workers organizing for collective action, provide direct services, and advocate for policy change at state and local levels. In the last decade, worker centers have led the efforts to pass legislation protecting domestic workers and helped low-wage workers win millions of dollars in lost or stolen wages from employers. These and other notable examples of U.S. worker centers’ contributions to community practice and social justice will be discussed.