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Conceptualization of empowering social services in family social work


The aim of this article is to present how social worker conceptualizes empowering social services in family social work. The interview was done as a part of bigger research project “Socially Inclusive Participatory Action Research of Innovative Social Work Service Strategies” performed in Lithuania, in 2012. Overall aim of this project was to develop innovative strategies for empowering social services. Social services will be inclusive and empowering, when the social organizations and its employees (providers), the recipients, his/her families (if appropriate), guardians or trustees will become actively involved in decision-making, in planning, delivery and evaluation processes. Active participation in the process of providing social services allows users to identify their personal needs and to monitor changes in their personal lives, in other words, to allow for the recipients themselves, as far as circumstances allow, be responsible for their own lives.
Empowering social services in family social work are conceptualized within the clients’ autonomy and the ability to act independently in the social and cultural environment. Social worker associates empowering social services to the individual needs of the client. According to the paradigm of empowerment, efficiency and high-quality of social services are identified if the client is participating in the service provision process. In general, it can be said that this approach of empowering social services are still at theoretical level in
family social work. The reason which was actualized by social worker is customers’ demotivation to participate in social service provision / receiving process. Empowering social services can be provided by professional social worker who is able to think critically, sees and is able to reflect learned practice and have value-oriented approach of his/her work.


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