Using the quote, "The person who genuinely loves his country, his college, his company, is the person who recognizes its problems and tries to fix them" discuss social workers' commitment to social justice.
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Every social worker is occupied with fighting against oppression and social injustice, and each is aware of the problems associated with poverty, and the lack of adequate support sometimes for those in need such as those suffering from domestic turmoil, or disabilities. Social workers are people with big hearts who believe in social justice, the belief that all people are entitled to the same rights and services such as adequate health care and decent living conditions.
Perhaps, the largest challenge to social workers is the fact that they are dealing with bureaucracies on the one hand and people on the other. For, neither are predictable. Depending upon the party in power, there are more agencies or fewer, different policies, more funds or less. Then, while some people are genuinely in need, there are, unfortunately, those who manipulate the system and exploit social programs. So, it becomes necessary for social workers to be aware of fraud and other activities in which indolent or unconscionable people will engage so that they can profit from not working. In such cases, the social worker must ensure that only those who deserve aid receive it; moreover, they must encourage people to become self-sustaining, if at all possible, as the country needs responsible citizens who contribute positively to the nation, not those who remain on welfare for four or five generations. Some states have allocated monies into the health care, child care, and transportation areas, so that people are willing to go back to work without fear of losing health care. These steps toward getting people off the welfare roll have been effective in Wisconsin and Georgia and other states, thus saving taxpayer dollars.
The poverty rate in Wisconsin fell from 11.9 percent in 1996 to 9 percent in 2002, one of the steepest drops in the nation in that period.
While social justice implies that all people are entitled to the same rights and services, it does not mean that they should not become self-sufficient, or that they should cheat the taxpayers through welfare-fraud. Perhaps, then, the most challenging task of the social worker is to assist and aid people, but not to become an enabler to those who wish do not wish to become responsible citizens because they will tear at the fiber of a nation causing greater national debt. Social workers should work to encourage employment and self-sufficiency in place of welfare dependency. Enrollment in TANF and other programs should be seen as a last, not first, resort. Nevertheless, they should never neglect protecting those in need, working with them and advocating for social justice.
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