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Empowerment Series: Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives 5th Edition

Karen K. Kirst-Ashman

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Part of the Brooks/Cole Empowerment Series, Karen K. Kirst-Ashman's introductory resource enhances readers' ability to grasp the essence and spirit of generalist social work and the issues in social welfare that social workers address every day. The author gives those who are contemplating a career in social work a solid introduction to the profession, presenting a balanced look within a unifying theme of critical thinking that trains readers to evaluate key concepts. This fifth edition includes practice concepts, social welfare policy concepts, history and current state of the profession, the contexts of practice and populations served, and professional development. Case examples illustrate social work practice.

Karen K. Kirst-Ashman, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Karen K. Kirst-Ashman, BSW, MSSW, and PhD, was a full professor and a former chairperson in the Social Work Department at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where she taught for 28 years. She is certified as a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Wisconsin and has worked as a practitioner and administrator in child welfare and mental health agencies. She received the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Excellence in Teaching Award in 1986 and its Outstanding Teaching Award in 2007. She has been a member of the board of directors of the Council on Social Work Education in addition to being an accreditation site visitor, and is a current member of BPD and NASW. She has served on the editorial board of Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, and as a consulting editor for many social work journals, including the Journal of Social Work Education. She is the author of numerous publications, articles, and reviews concerning social work and women's issues. Other books she has authored or coauthored include INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL WELFARE: CRITICAL THINKING PERSPECTIVES (5th ed); HUMAN BEHAVIOR IN THE MACRO SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT: AN EMPOWERMENT APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITIES, ORGANIZATION, AND GROUPS (4th ed); GENERALIST PRACTICE WITH ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITIES (5th ed); THE MACRO SKILLS WORKBOOK (2nd ed); and UNDERSTANDING GENERALIST PRACTICE (8th ed).

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  • In Chapter 1, Karen Kirst-Ashman presents the "AAA Model," which instructs students to "Ask questions, assess the established facts and issues, and assert a concluding opinion." By following this model, which provides a framework for the text as a whole, students learn how to approach concepts critically.
  • Themes integrated throughout the text include the pursuit of social and economic justice for populations at risk; client empowerment; dimensions and the intersectionality of human diversity; the significance of professional values and ethics; a generalist approach that interrelates social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities; and the inclusion of various global and international perspectives.
  • Kirst-Ashman includes such CSWE-mandated areas as diversity and difference, empowerment, human rights, social and economic justice, policy practice, and professional values and ethics, thus ensuring that students are well prepared to enter the world of social work.
  • By encouraging students to identify values and evaluate serious issues, Kirst-Ashman helps them develop critical-thinking perspectives on important topics. Features such as the "Focus on Critical Thinking" boxes highlight engaging topics that draw students into the discussion at hand.
  • The writing style is clear and straightforward, with numerous case examples that bring the content to life. The author includes topics that are intended to be interesting and relevant to students; for example, salaries and credentials in social work, mental health conditions featured in the new DSM-5, new recreational drugs recently appearing on the substance use scene, health care and insurance, and issues concerning veterans and their treatment.
  • Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter are reinforced clearly throughout the text, reflecting the emphasis on student learning outcomes and demonstration of core competencies required by CSWE.

Empowerment Series: Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives


1. Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare.
2. Social Work Values and Ethics.
3. Empowerment and Human Diversity.
4 The Process of Generalist Practice.
5. Practice Settings.
6. An Overview of Social Welfare and Social Work History.
7. Policy, Policy Analysis, Policy Practice, and Policy Advocacy: Foundations for Service Provision.
8. Policies and Programs to Combat Poverty.
9. Social Work and Services for Children and Families.
10. Social Work and Services for Older Adults.
11. Social Work and Services for People with Disabilities.
12. Social Work and Services in Health Care.
13. Social Work and Services in Mental Health.
14. Social Work and Substance Use, Abuse, and Dependence.
15. Social Work and Services for Youths and in the Schools.
16. Social Work and Services in the Criminal Justice System.
Epilogue: Your Values and Your Future: Applying Critical Justice System.
Name Index.
Subject Index.

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Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Online Instructor's Manual

ISBN: 9781305857452
The Instructor's Manual (IM) contains a variety of resources to aid instructors in preparing and presenting text material in a manner that meets their personal preferences and course needs. It presents chapter-by-chapter suggestions and resources to enhance and facilitate learning.

Online PowerPoint®

ISBN: 9781305857926
These vibrant Microsoft® PowerPoint® lecture slides for each chapter assist you with your lecture by providing concept coverage using images, figures, and tables directly from the textbook.

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ISBN: 9781305859777