This much needed book provides an in-depth and comprehensive look at both the helpful and problematic aspects of social work with overwhelmed clients - those who live in transgenerational poverty and often have a history of little or no employment, family violence, substance abuse, truancy, and teenage pregnancy. What approaches, if any, make a difference in the lives of these struggling patients? To answer this question, the authors follow fifty cases in each of five agencies. They examine each client's problems, the intervention approaches used by clinicians, and the outcomes of these treatments, both positive and negative. The authors also examine the environment in which the clients live and its effect on their behavior.
In addition to evaluating the resources and constraints inherent in various agencies, the authors also examine the seemingly dysfunctional national policies and programs which, although they are set up to address and correct the problem of overwhelming poverty, too often merely reinforce these detrimental conditions. Special attention is also given to the roles that welfare programs, coping skills, self-esteem, authority, discrimination, power and powerlessness, ethnicity, and race play in the effectiveness of social work for these clients.
The authors include a rich variety of examples and cases that illustrate which clinical strategies used by individual social workers are most effective with overwhelmed clients. The Power to Care will be invaluable reading for educators, clinicians, agency directors, and policymakers who are currently reassessing programs geared to helping this population.