Agency social workers: Views of their profession
Kelly, Susan Fay
MetadataShow full item record
Social work, as we enter the 21st century, is a very different profession from what it was at its beginning one hundred years ago. Social work's initial emphasis was work with the poor and many vulnerable populations, answering needs that had been met by the church and by volunteers. This study examines the views of contemporary agency-based social workers who continue to meet these needs.;The study's respondents are thirty-five agency-based social workers who have been engaged in such work for fifteen or more years. Their responses form the basis of the date gathered in this qualitative study, by means of a questionnaire designed by the author which was supplemented with ten in-depth interviews. All participants were employed by social agencies in Rockland and Westchester counties. These counties are suburbs of New York City.;Participants were asked to respond to questions designed to determine the concerns of importance to agency social workers. An additional goal was to illuminate their attitudes toward the sometimes overwhelming levels of stress that have been described by agency social workers. Typically, one question asked for the reasons for their entry into this work and the masons for staying with it today.;Date was analyzed by the use of the Statistical Package for Social Science, (SPSS), employing chi-square and frequency distributions. Content analysis was utilized in the measurement of responses to the open-ended questions and in-depth interviews.;The findings of the study indicate that these agency based social workers had a high level of commitment to working with the poor and saw themselves as able to cope with bureaucratic demands. They expressed a strong concern for job security and the salaries and other benefits which should accompany such employment. They believed that their work had great social importance.;These results point to the importance of continued support by the social work profession for the continuity of such work and for the salaries and working conditions which make this possible.