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Social justice is the fuel that drives social workers and what sets social work apart from other professions. Social workers form the front line of defense for their clients and make up the threads of society's social safety net. The strength of that net, however, depends not just on the strengths of social workers, but also on the social policies that undergird their practice, defining the horizons of possibility—for themselves and their clients—in specific situations.
In Social Work Matters: The Power of Linking Policy and Practice, Elizabeth F. Hoffler and Elizabeth J. Clark bring home the truth embodied in that title for practitioners and researchers in a comprehensive range of settings. At heart, the book argues that social work matters because the profession is absolutely necessary to the healthy functioning of society.
The premise for this book emerged, in part, from the breadth and depth of social work services. The chapters that Hoffler and Clark have gathered portray what different kinds of social workers do on a daily basis, opening up the world of practice—in all its intensity and gravity—so that this often misunderstood and sometimes undervalued profession can be appreciated on an unprecedentedly intimate level.
In addition, chapter authors link the direct practice side of social work with critical policy and advocacy components of the profession, so the book as a whole explores the transition from micro-level service—working directly to improve the lives of individuals—to the macro-level work of altering our social systems and institutions through broad social action and advocacy.
Social work is more than just a "value added"—it is essential to ensuring that our country continues to provide opportunity, ensure equity, and help millions of individuals as they seek to fulfill their potential. Readers of this book will understand that truth as never before—just how much social work matters and will continue to do so.