Different types of community based interventions address recurring problems among specific demographic groups and seek to find solutions. As implied by the name, community-based interventions target more significant portions of the population.
They address issues among these groups categorized into the same demographic and share the same problems. Groups are organized by regional trends, age, parental status, education level, socioeconomic status, or other factors. This article will review several types of community-based interventions and the advantages and disadvantages of this method.
Types of Community-Based Interventions in Social Work
Before implementing or even planning a community-wide program, social workers must first identify the need. Especially if grants and other funding options are in play, it’s usually not enough to propose a program on observation alone. Step one is to identify a problem and objectively demonstrate its negative impact on the community. This means researching disease or mortality rates, crime rates, and whatever other metrics your program seeks to change. Without a thoughtful and critical research foundation, the program may fall short of its objectives.
With that in mind, the following types of programs are in many cities and towns. Note that each of these represents a type of program and that specific objectives and methods will vary based on the population, the problem, environmental circumstances, and other factors.
1. Parental Education Programs
Social workers believe that they can address multiple societal problems at the most fundamental level by supporting and educating parents in low-income areas. For example, the Head Start program empowers parents in several ways. This program teaches parenting skills, network-building, and stress management. The latter two may seem less relevant, but low-income parents tend to experience social isolation and frustration at work (or in the job search), negatively affecting their children’s learning and development outcomes. Furthermore, parents who are incapable of finding and retaining jobs strain the welfare system.
Workers should apply the same insightful and sensitive approach to program implementation. A classroom-style lecture, for example, is ineffective with low-income parents. This type of community-based intervention and all others need to deliver their services appropriately to the population if they want to be effective.
2. Public Health Programs
The most popular community-based intervention is the public health program. These programs can focus on general health and fitness or a specific community. Examples are the COPD community or the HIV/AIDS community. The populations and problems targeted by this type of community-based intervention form a lengthy list, including topics listed below.
- Childhood obesity
- Coronary Heart Disease
The format of the intervention itself is just as open-ended as the number of health disorders targeted by these programs. As mentioned, proper research will identify the best strategy. Ideally, the program meets participants in their environments. For this reason, school- and work-based health initiatives are commonly used.
- Discounted gym memberships for employees
- Weight-loss contests and incentives for employees (bonus time-off, etc.)
- Fitness games, contests, prizes, etc. for students
3. Educational Programs
Objective data has proven at length how education impacts both income and unemployment rates. Moreover, on both a city-wide and national level, these figures strongly influence several critical values and markets, such as welfare funding, GDP, the housing market, healthcare reimbursement, and much more. Education is at the heart of well-being at individual and enterprise levels.
Educational policy reform movements and awareness campaigns have spawned many community-based interventions in education. Dropout prevention programs, vocational training, primary skills curriculum, achievement tracking, and accelerated learning programs are just a few examples of these interventions. In addition to academic improvement, many of these programs aim to divert children in high-risk areas from crime-related activities.
4. Preventive Programs
Social workers will sometimes develop society-based interventions that promote social change through prevention if the environment and circumstances are appropriate. For example, instead of increasing a group’s access to a resource, this type of intervention seeks to discourage certain activities. The following formats are standard for a social worker in this arena:
- Drug and gun amnesty days
- Adolescent pregnancy prevention
- Anti-gang initiatives
- Anti-drug initiatives
- Suicide prevention programs
As always, how these programs are brought to the public depends heavily upon that particular region and the population’s characteristics. The objective data can offer important clues regarding the most effective program delivery method. For a program to comprehensively address a problem, it often has to root out the potentially unforeseen factors that cause it.
If a particular community of drug users chooses to buy and consume illicit drugs as a means of managing their chronic pain conditions, for example, simply railing against that specific drug without increasing this community’s access to cheap and legal pain-control options will not help.
5. Advantages & Disadvantages
Aside from failing to address the cause of the targeted problem, poorly researched or implemented community-based interventions have other disadvantages. For example, depending on funding, a particular program may rely heavily on volunteer labor, which isn’t always consistent. Therefore, this can increase attrition rates beyond the minimum acceptable standards. Additionally, the lack of appropriate follow-up when necessary can cause an otherwise helpful program to fail.
When properly planned and executed, society-based interventions can serve several important purposes. First and foremost, lasting social change. When the cause of the target behavior or problem is addressed sufficiently, a program can put systems in place that stay long after its conclusion, which is the ultimate goal.
Secondly, the results of society-based interventions can provide essential data for future program planning and research initiatives, even if they are negative. The success of any particular intervention can also act as a proving ground for policy proposals, influencing politicians to make decisions in favor of the successful bid. Finally, society-based programs can save lives endangered by epidemic-level disorders, violence, drugs, and other common problems even when the results aren’t permanent.
What Problems do Social Workers Intervene in?
Social work interventions are a large part of the work that social workers do on a daily basis. They use interventions to help determine the long-term and short-term actions that they need to take to provide the proper resources in services to people who are in need of them.
Securing housing, health insurance, health care, academic support, and child welfare services are just a few of the types of interventions that social workers conduct on a regular basis. They help families secure therapy, psychotherapy, and other human services that can assist individuals, families, or communities with improving their overall well-being along with their health and education.
Social work has always been a field in which people with a strong desire to help others gravitate towards. This is because social workers assist people by helping them cope with issues in their daily lives. Social workers also help people deal with their relationships and solve their personal and family problems. Basically, social workers strive to improve people’s lives. They achieve this through a variety of different interventions, depending on the needs of each client.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently more than 700,000 social workers in the United States. There is an expected job growth of 12 percent by the year 2030 in the social work field. Many social workers focus on a particular part of the population or work in a specific setting. Social work through interventions helps individuals, families, and also groups to function properly and in a healthy manner.
What is the First Method of Social Work Intervention?
Social work interventions are provided not only for individuals in one-on-one interactions but also for groups of people. There are different levels of social work interventions, grouped below by the area of practice.
At the micro-level of social work, individuals or small family units are the focus. So a social worker will use a crisis intervention model to be able to address issues, such as domestic violence, trauma, mental health crisis, or substance abuse issues. Social workers then find the proper resources for their clients to assist them in dealing with their particular issues. For instance, if someone is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, their social worker can assist them in securing treatment at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. If a client is experiencing a mental health crisis, social workers can find the proper hospital or counselor to help them with those issues.
At the mezzo level of social work, there is a wider focus. The social worker is able to examine larger groups of people to help them find resources for various issues. This could include communities, workplace environments, school districts, and neighborhoods. Social workers can intervene when there is a major issue and help the people in those groups find the proper funding, set up clinics, or work with community organizers to address issues like homelessness or gun violence.
At the macro level of social work, there is an even wider perspective in place. Social workers may intervene with a large group of people to help change healthcare laws or even act as advocates for people who have disabilities or who are veterans. This part of social work involves problem-solving at the state and national levels. Social workers use lobbying to push for policy change that will help different groups of people.
What Type of Interventions Can Social Workers Provide?
Depending on the needs of their clients, social workers can intervene in different ways. A social worker can help with developing skills, case management, solution focused therapy, critical thinking, evidence base learning skills, problem solving model skills, and also preform administrative tasks.
Social workers use very specific intervention strategies such as solution focused therapy to assist their clients. Some of these include active listening, miracle questions, community organization, and case management. These strategies are designed to help social workers foster a good level of trust with their clients. Social workers help clients identify the root cause of an issue and then provide them with the proper counseling and support to help improve the lives of the people they are working with. For example, some intervention strategies help with things like eating disorders.
It also helps social workers to empower their clients to make positive changes in their lives and provides a safe space for them to be able to express their feelings. The goal of intervention for social workers is to help their clients achieve the best possible outcome for their particular situations.
An on a very basic level, they can help clients find resources. They can connect a client with a variety of community resources and community support services to help them. For example, a social worker can help with social services at government agencies for food and shelter.
Below are some of the different types of interventions used by social workers.
This type of intervention can be used at any time, but it is very helpful at the beginning of an intervention. The social worker encourages their clients to discuss different aspects of their lives in which they are not having issues to give them a level of positivity while they focus on their obstacles and challenges.
miracle questions are designed to encourage clients to visualize their world without the issues they are facing. This helps clients to imagine a better future for themselves by thinking positively and being motivated to change.
Vision statements are often used to help clients use their imagination to explore what it would be like to have a better future. An example of this would be to ask a parent what they would like their children to be able to say about them a decade from now.
Circular questioning allows social workers to help their clients put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This can be very powerful for clients so that they can learn new information and ideas while being encouraged to have a greater awareness and getting control over their situation.
A life story book can be very beneficial for children who have been in foster care or who have experienced trauma. For example, a story or book can be written for the child to be able to help them understand why they were adopted by new parents or why they were put into foster care.
Other types of intervention include later life letters, exception sinking, competent seeking, and several others.
How do Social Workers Plan for Intervention?
To plan for an intervention, social workers will conduct assessments on individuals, families, or groups to be able to determine a plan of action. They meet with their clients to determine the cause of the problems they are facing and to assist them in deciding the best way of addressing their needs. For example, if a child abuse complaint is being investigated, the social worker will speak with the child or children involved. The social worker will assess the home environment and address any complaints that were received about the child’s home or a family unit as a whole.
Social workers devise a care plan for a family or individual that will include any treatment they need and resources they need to secure. This allows the client to be involved in the solutions to their problems and provides them with a game plan to stay on track for finding solutions.