Community Context

Week 9: Community Context

Important Note: Please use the media player below to hear an audio course introduction that will give you more background information about the course topic. Also provided is a transcript for you to download and print out.

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013). Community context [Audio file]. Retrieved from

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 1 minute.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download AudioDownload Transcript

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze community context in field education experience
  • Analyze characteristics of populations served by agency
  • Identify sources of agency funding
  • Compare agency mission statement to agency learning agreement
  • Identify organizational structure

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Chapter 7, “The Community Context of Practice” (pp. 76-86)

Averett, P., Carawan, L., & Burroughs, C. (2012). Getting “tillerized”: Traits and outcomes of students in a rural community field placement. Journal of Social Work Education, 48(1), 75–91.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Hawkins, J. D., Shapiro, V. B., & Fagan, A. A. (2010). Disseminating effective community prevention practices: Opportunities for social work education. Research on Social Work Practice, 20(5), 518–527.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Regehr, C., Bogo, M., Donovan, K., Anstice, S., & Lim, A. (2012). Identifying student competencies in macro practice: Articulating the practice wisdom of field instructors. Journal of Social Work Education, 48(2), 307–319.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Required Media

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013). Community context [Audio file]. Retrieved from

Note:  This audio introduction is located in the “Introduction and Objectives” section. The approximate length of this media piece is 1 minute.

Optional Resources

Click the following link to access the MSW home page, which provides resources for your social work program.

MSW home page

Assignment 1: Week 9 Blog

Refer to the topics covered in this week’s resources and incorporate them into your blog.

By Day 3

Post a blog post that includes:

  • An explanation of the community context in your field education experience
By Day 4

Respond to the blog post of three colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.
  • Make a suggestion to your colleague’s post.


Assignment 2: Agency Presentation

Various agencies contribute to the social services offered in social work practice. Although the goal of many social work agencies may appear the same—to offer social services to clients who need them—each agency provides a unique approach or opportunity to deliver those needs.

As a future social worker, understanding the position of your agency in reference to the world of social work practice might provide valuable perspectives for applying your professional skills.

For this Assignment, research the agency you are working with for your field education experience. Examine the characteristics of your agency in reference to the field of social work and the types of services offered to clients.

The Assignment (8–10 PowerPoint slides, voiceover optional):

Create an Agency PowerPoint Presentation that includes the following:

  • A definition of the characteristics of the population(s) served by your agency
  • A description of the sources of funding for your agency
  • An explanation of the agency’s mission statement and a comparison to your agency learning agreement
  • A description of the organizational structure of your agency


Emily Worley  

I take pride in my community, as I have lived in Catawba County my entire life. Garthwait, 2017 stated an agency mission, programs, and operations are often a reflection of the community’s characteristics, such as its values, politics, history, and special problems. Our community has a lot to offer, and The Cognitive Connection, is in the middle of these assets. For example, when I first started my field, the substance abuse groups were making posters to be displayed at Safe Harbor’s community overdose awareness event. The Cognitive Connection partners with many other community agencies to provide resources and support to their clients. ALPHA and Young People of Integrity are other community agencies that we partner with. Our community has a strong ties to helping individuals in addiction and the homeless population.

Social workers and social agencies must be knowledgeable about how power and influence are used in the community, simply put, power is the ability to make change happen in some way, whereas influence is the capacity to increase the chances that a desired change may occur (Garthwait, 2017). Cognitive Connection is one of the longest standing substance abuse agencies of Catawba county and they hold a lot of power and influence.

Even though Catawba County is considered a rural community, we do not lack the ability to influence policy or any other macro practices. Averett, Paige, Carawan and Burroughs (2012) stated that students in rural communities are having less opportunity for exposure to grassroots organizing, community development, and policy development/analysis. But within Catawba County, there are many opportunities for such, for example we have a Project Lazarus Community Board, who is developing strategies for policy change and community awareness. Community partnerships are key to having an effective agency.


Averett, Paige, Lena Carawan, and Courtney Burroughs. 2012. “Getting ‘Tillerized’: Traits and Outcomes of Students in a Rural Community Field Placement.” Journal of Social Work Education 48 (1): 75–91. doi:10.5175/JSWE.2012.201000016.

Response 2

Noelia Antonio  

The community context of an agency includes resources that are important to individuals, families and groups and can have an affect, whether positive or negative, on the success of the functioning of its members (Garthwait, 2017). Luckily in my agency, they are able to provide a plethora of resources that are easily accessible by vehicle or public transportation. However, in rural communities, transportation can become a barrier to accessing these resources (Averett, Carawan & Burroughs, 2012).

In my agency, their mission correlates with understanding what the families needs are and how to help during their time of need. The agency ensures that they are active participants of the community, whether its by holding community events in different parts of the city, to collaborating with other organizations to expand resources for its community. My agency is diverse, and ensure that they are engaging diversity within the community as well.


Averett, P., Carawan, L., & Burroughs, C. (2012). Getting “tillerized”: Traits and outcomes of students in a rural community field placement. Journal of Social Work Education, 48(1), 75–91.

Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Response 3

Surnita Warner  at Monday, October 21, 2019 10:02:20 PM

Garthwait (2017) refers to community context of social work as an “enhance or undermine level of social functioning of individuals, families, and groups .” ( p. 76) This can be enhanced by providing resources, community development, and social workers acting as facilitators. Within the field placement I intern, the social work interns act as  facilitators when helping clients who have experienced loss of electricity due to non- payment by assisting clients to apply for energy assistance. The client information is taken via phone and information is provided on is to be brought to their local Maryland Department of Human Services to apply. In addition, the agency checks the status of the caller application if they have already applied. After providing this assistance, the callers appear to be very relieved and prior social functioning changes via the phone. As Hawkins, Shapiro, & Fagan (n.d.)asserts “ the effective prevention of social problems, and developing an ideal of social justice is fostered through the universal promotion of well-being” (p.522).Therefore, in interns assisting callers in need of applying for energy assistance for electricity, the clients wellbeing becomes enhanced.


Hawkins, J. D., Shapiro, V. B., & Fagan, A. A. (n.d.). Disseminating Effective Community Prevention

Practices: Opportunities for Social Work Education. RESEARCH ON SOCIAL WORK 

PRACTICE20(5), 518–527.

Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students

(7th ed.)pp.76. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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