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Applying Social Justice Principles in Social Work with Children

 |  3 Min Read

Social justice principles are embedded in the very mission statement of today’s social workers. The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics outlines the need for social workers to promote social justice in their work with others.1 Social justice is one of the six main values of the profession.

So, what is social justice in social work, and how does it contribute to the core mission of social workers? Social justice examples in social work include making sure the children get equal opportunities, participation in decision making, and that they are provided with the necessities to thrive. By promoting social justice in social work, social workers also enhance the social welfare of their underage charges.

Social justice in social work can be a crucial element of a social worker’s daily duties. The principles of social justice are applied in social work to everyone from the disabled, poor, elderly, and children. When social workers engage in social justice work with children, they do what they can to ensure the children receive what they need and are treated like humans and with respect.

It can be complex for social workers to promote social justice in their social work with children, as their needs and desires can often be overlooked or considered unimportant. They work hard to make sure children’s perspectives are heard amongst the din of bureaucratic noise. Working hard to achieve social justice for children and adults is part of a social worker’s professional responsibility.

Challenges and Benefits of Social Justice in Social Work

Social workers must protect children from oppression, discrimination, human rights violations, and economic injustice. They must ensure children get an appropriate degree of freedom for their age, personal privacy, access to quality education and health care, and a standard of living that promotes human dignity. They recognize the common thread between social work and social justice and incorporate these social justice principles into their work with children and adults. A dedicated social worker sees social justice as a vital part of their work to protect children and their physical and emotional development.

Social justice for children makes for healthy, productive, and engaged members of society as adults. Social justice gives children healthy self-esteem that they carry into adulthood, providing them with ambition, motivation, and the knowledge that a better future for themselves and their families is possible. Social workers have the potential to change the world for the better, and it all begins with obtaining strong and superior social justice for children.

Effective Strategies in Social Justice

Social workers facilitate strong relationships with people by visiting homes, sitting down with family members, and talking about their problems.2 Ideally, children are included in these discussions, as the decisions affect them directly. Sometimes, the children alone need services, but getting social justice for the child may involve the entire family. For example, obtaining housing, financial assistance, food, education equality, and proper healthcare benefits the children and the whole family.

Social workers don’t give up on their clients. They use their social work roles to ensure clients are treated with dignity and respect by the myriad of agencies they will deal with in their journey. The children benefit from all of this, as it is as much a matter of obtaining social justice for them as it is for their parents and adult family members.

Social justice is a large part of a social worker’s advocacy for children. They apply social justice principles from the Our Lady of the Lake University online Master of Social Work program in everything they do to ensure the children grow as well-adjusted, healthy, happy, and productive adults.

To download our comprehensive guide to working with children in the social work field, please click here.



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