To understand the concept of community development and how it relates to social work practice, firstly the 'community' itself, should be defined in the context of social work. Community development is about giving people a fair and just share of available resources. This mode of practice highlights an extension of the skills and methods of social work 'direct' practice. Case work and community development, as separate modes of practice, are blended to empower the disadvantaged. In turn, important consideration of this modal link is the underpinnings of social justice in the community. This essay provides an example of problematic issues in the community and the options considered by the social worker in restoring the balance of economic and social empowerment of the community (Briskman, 1999, Pp89-90).
Generally speaking, the 'community' is made up individuals sharing a common identity with diverse interests such as class, geographic location, culture, age or gender.
Examples of communities are urban or rural townships, environmental groups, parents and citizens groups and cultural communities such as aboriginal communities. The community development worker is concerned with negotiation for the control of resources to enhance living standards of the powerless and disadvantaged in the community. Before strategies can be implemented to access the resources, the community worker must initially evaluate their approach to issues on behalf of and including the community (Briskman, 2000, p89, Kenny, 1994, p1).
The community worker, when deciding an approach to the issues, primarily uses one of the following four roles. Firstly, working together with the group to help identify common needs of the people in the group and ways of overcoming these problems. Secondly, acting as a mediator to help resolve conflict within the group and alternatively, between the group and other organisations. Thirdly, representing the group as a supporting advocate in both...