Social Work Practice and the Law

Front Cover
Springer Publishing Company, Oct 17, 2011 - Social Science - 440 pages

"This is the first book to give social workers the tools to understand their clients' legal needs and rights and to address them collaboratively and effectively. Lyn Slater and Kara Finck ground their text in a comprehensive grasp of the legal system and the inequities of race, class, and gender that shape clients' experiences. Social Work Practice and the Law is a powerful call for social workers to be passionate and skillful advocates for their clients. Essential reading for social workers and lawyers alike who serve low-income people entangled in systems that so often fail them."

Dorothy Roberts, JD

Kirkland & Ellis Professor, Northwestern University School of Law

Author, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare

Based on the author's innovative and nationally recognized prototype for inter-professional work at Fordham University, this is the only volume about social work and the legal system that is written from the social worker's perspective. Devoid of "legalese," the book is designed to help social workers develop the ability to reappraise, question, and challenge the law to best serve their clients. It aims to promote the development of a more strategic relationship with the legal system-a partnership that can achieve more creative and just solutions to social problems.

Exhaustive in scope, Social Work and the Law identifies current national and international trends and legal movements that support and invite inter-professional, critically competent social work participation. The book also identifies and explains the essential knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary for the attainment of collaborative critical competence when interacting with the legal system. Each chapter includes vivid case studies based on actual collaborations that illustrate the application of theory to practice. Chapters also include legal, social work, and evidence-based resources.

Key Features:

  • Promotes a proactive approach to the ways in which social workers can use law to promote clients' best interests
  • Addresses all domains of social work practice-child welfare, housing law, educational access, disability law, benefits, and more
  • Offers abundant case studies taken from the authors' real-life work
  • Devoid of "legalese" and written from a social worker's perspective


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1 Identifying the Legal Needs and Realizing the Rights of Social Work Clients
2 A Conceptual and Historical Framework for Using the Law in Social Work Practice
3 Roles and Ethics
4 The Implicit and Explicit Context of Social Work Practice
5 Social Work Functions Knowledge and Skills in the Legal Context
6 Civil Proceedings Players and the Client
7 Criminal Proceedings Players and the Client
General Knowledge and Skills for Civil and Criminal Proceedings
10 The Intersection of Social Work and the Law in Criminal Proceedings
11 Alternatives to Traditional Methods of Addressing Legal and Social Problems
12 Administrative Proceedings Players and Advocacy Roles
13 MacroLevel Social Work Practice and Systemic Reform
Child Protection and The Case of Michelle Jones

9 The Intersection of Law and Social Work in Civil Proceedings

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