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Surrogate motherhood

A surrogate gives birth to a baby conceived by artificial insemination; at birth the surrogate mother terminates her parental rights; and the child is then legally adopted by the sperm donor and his wife

Social worker

Graduates of schools of social work (with either bachelor's or master's degrees), who use their knowledge and skills to provide social services for clients, as defined by the National Association of Social Workers

Social work

The professional activity of helping individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and to create societal conditions favorable to their goals; requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social, economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors

Social insurance programs

Programs financed by taxes on employees, employers, or both

Social Darwinism

The concept that it was far better for society to allow the poor the weak to perish than to sustain their existence and encourage their proliferation through government-supported programs

Serial marriages

A pattern of successive, temporary marriages

Residual view

Asserts that social welfare services should be provided only when an individual's needs are not properly met through other societal institutions; has been characterized as "charity for unfortunates"

Public assistance programs

Benefits in these programs are paid from general government revenues and have a means test for applicants

Protestant ethic

Emphasized the importance of hard work and asserted that it was morally wrong to engage in pleasurable activities of any kind

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act

Passed in 1996; ended the 60-year-old Aid to Families of Dependent Children (AFDC) and replaced it with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

Open marriage

The partners are free to have extramarital relationships or sex without betraying one another


People who tend to believe that change is generally good, adhere to an institutional view of social welfare, and view the family as an evolving institution

Laissez-faire economic theory

Asserts the economy and society in general would best prosper if businesses and industries were permitted to do whatever they desired to make a profit

Human services

A broader term than social work because it includes services such as library services, law enforcement, housing-code enforcement, consumer protection, and fire prevention and firefighting that are usually not considered social welfare services

Embryonic stem cells

come from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, the term for a fertilized egg 4 days after conception

Devolution revolution

Decisions about the provision of key social welfare programs are being transferred from the federal government to the state level

Developmental view

A process of planned social change designed to promote the well-being of the population as a whole in conjunction with a dynamic process of economic development


People who tend to resist change, generally view individuals as autonomous, advocate a residual approach to social welfare programs, and revere the "traditional" nuclear family and try to devise policies to preserve it

Comarital sex

Mate swapping and other organized extramarital relations in which both spouses agree to participate

Cognitive disability

A disability characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and wor


The process whereby a new organism is reproduced from the nucleus of a single cell

Chorionic villi sampling (CVS)

This test helps identify certain fetal abnormalities, It is a prenatal technique that involves taking a sample of cells from the chorionic villus and analyzing it for birth defects

Blended families

Two families joined by the marriage of one parent to another

Biochemical genetics

The discipline that studies the mechanisms whereby genes control the development and maintenance of the organism

Behavior specialist

A social worker who can systematically apply behavior modification principles

Artificial insemination-husband (AIH)

The sperm donor is the woman's husband


The sperm donor is someone other than the husband


A genetic screening procedure in which a hollow needle is inserted through the abdominal wall and uterus of a pregnant female to obtain amniotic fluid for the determination of chromosomal abnormality. It is a test for prenatal detection of Down syndrome, other chromosome defects, and some metabolic disorders


Work that involves directing the overall program of a social service agency

Case management

A procedure to plan, seek, and monitor services from a variety of agencies and staff on behalf of a client; usually one agency takes primary responsibility for the client and assigns a person in this role, who coordinates services, advocates for the client, and sometimes controls resources and purchases services for the client

Charity Organization Society (COS)

An English innovation brought to Buffalo, New York, in 1877, when private agencies joined together to provide direct services to individuals and families, and to plan and coordinate the efforts of these agencies to combat the pressing social problems of cities

Commission on Global Social Work Education

A commission of the Council on Social Work Education that is composed of educators from around the country who are actively involved in teaching international content and initiating cross-national exchange programs

Community organization

Work that is aimed at stimulating and assisting the local community to evaluate, plan, and coordinate efforts to provide for the community's health, welfare, and recreation needs

Council on Social Work Education

The national accrediting entity for baccalaureate and master's programs in social work—requires all undergraduate and graduate programs to train their students in generalist social work practice

Ecological approach

An approach to human behavior that integrates both treatment and reform by conceptualizing and emphasizing the dysfunctional transactions between people and their physical and social environments

Family therapy

A type of group therapy aimed at helping families with interactional, behavioral, and emotional problems

Group therapy

Work that is aimed at facilitating the social, behavioral, and emotional adjustment of individuals through the group process

Group work

Social work that seeks to facilitate the intellectual, emotional, and social development of individuals through group activities

Human rights

The basic civil rights recognized in democratic constitutions, such as life, liberty, and personal security; freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile; the right to fair and public hearings by impartial tribunals; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; and freedom of peaceful association, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights such as the right to work, education, and social security; to participate in the cultural life of the community; and to share in the benefits of scientific advancement and the arts

Identity formation

The process of determining who you are and what you want out of life

International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)

Promotes social work education and the development of high-quality educational programs around the world

international Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)

Comprised of more than 50 professional membership associations

New York Charity Organization Society

The first organization to offer training courses for social work

Settlement houses

Workers lived in the impoverished neighborhoods and sought to improve conditions by using change techniques that are now referred to as social group work, social action, and community organization

Social casework

Social work aimed at helping individuals on a one-to-one basis to resolve personal and social problems

Society for the Prevention of Pauperism

An early social welfare organization, founded in 1820 by John Griscom, that was established to investigate the habits and circumstances of the poor, suggest plans by which the poor could help themselves, and encourage the poor to save and economize

Strengths perspective

Seeks to identify, use, build, and reinforce the abilities and strengths that people have in contrast to the pathological perspective, which focuses on their deficiencies

Absolute confidentiality

Confidentiality in which disclosures made to the professional are not shared with anyone else, except when authorized by the client in writing or required by law


The process of evaluating the effectiveness of service programs

Ad hoc committee

A group, like a task force, set up for one purpose and usually ceases functioning after completion of its task

Board of directors

An administrative group charged with responsibility for setting the policy that governs agency programs


A group formed to deal with specific tasks or matters within an agency or organization

Community practice

The process of stimulating and assisting the local community to evaluate, plan, and coordinate its efforts to provide for the community's health, welfare, and recreation needs; various labels of practice include: social planning, community planning, locality development, community action, social action, macro practice, community organization, and community development


The implicit or explicit agreement between a professional and a client to maintain the privacy of information about the client

Education groups

The focus of such groups is for members to acquire knowledge and learn more complex skills

Family sculpting

An assessment tool that involves a physical arrangement of the members of a family, with the placement of each person determined by an individual family member acting as director; the resulting tableau represents that person's symbolic view of family relationships

Generalist practice

The equivalent of general practice in medicine, with a wide repertoire of skills needed to deal with basic conditions, backed up by specialists to whom referrals are made


Nonblaming messages that communicate only how the sender believes the receiver is adversely affecting him or her


Viewing and treating each person as unique and worthwhile

Locality development model

A model of community organization that asserts that community change can best be brought about through broad-based participation by a wide spectrum of people at the local community level (also called community development)

National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

An organization formed in 1955 that represents the social work profession in this country


A group of individuals gathered together to serve a particular purpose

Problem-solving and decision-making groups

Might be viewed as a subcategory of tasks groups; each participant often has some interest or stake in the process

Recreation groups

Groups that provide activities for enjoyment and exercise

Recreation-skill group

Group whose objective is to improve a set of skills while at the same time providing enjoyment

Relative confidentiality

Confidentiality in which case records are often shared with other team professionals and supervisors; most social work practice follows this type of confidentiality

Self-help groups

Voluntary, small group structures for mutual aid and the accomplishment of a special purpose

Sensitivity groups

Encounter groups, T (training)-groups, and sensitivity training (these terms are used somewhat synonymously) refer to group experiences in which people relate to one another in an intimate manner requiring self-disclosure

Social action model

A type of community organization that assumes that there is a disadvantaged (often oppressed) segment of the population that needs to be organized to pressure the power structure for increased resources or for social justice

Social conversation groups

Conversation in these groups is often loose and tends to drift aimlessly; there is no formal agenda; they are often used for testing purposes

Social justice

An ideal condition in which all members of a society have the same basic rights, protection, opportunities, obligations, and social benefits

Social planning model

A model of community organization that emphasizes the process of problem solving; assumes that community change is a complex industrial environment

Socialization groups

These groups generally seek to change members' attitudes and behaviors to a more socially acceptable direction

Task force

A group established for a special purpose; usually disbanded after the task is completed

Task groups

Exist to achieve a specific set of tasks or objectives

Therapy groups

Generally composed of members with rather severe emotional or personal problems

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