Looking Back to Move Us Forward: Social Workers Deliver Justice as Human Rights Professionals (1 credit hour)

Program Summary:  This course explores social work’s foundation as a human rights profession and describes early efforts to advocate for a wide range of social, economic, and environmental reforms.  The course highlights social work’s essential role as an advocate for social justice but also acknowledges the evolution of the profession toward professionalization and clinical practice.  The course examines the limitations of the micro/macro divide and advocates for the promotion of rights-based approaches in all areas of social work practice.

NASW Code of Ethics Value: Social Justice
Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.  
Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.

This course is recommended for social workers and is appropriate for beginning and intermediate, levels of practice.  This course is not recommended for NBCC ethics credit.

“Book  Open the Course Reading Here.

Course Reading: Looking Back to Move Us Forward:  Social Workers Deliver Justice as Human Rights Professionals

Authors:  Shirley Gatenio Gabel, Susan Mapp, David Androff, Jane McPherson

Publisher:  Advances in Social Work

Course Objectives:  To enhance professional practice, values, skills and knowledge by promoting a human rights-based approach toward justice in social work practice

Learning Objectives: Describe social work’s history as a human rights, values-based profession.  Describe the impact of the micro/macro divide on the social work profession and core values.  Identify human rights-based principles.

Review our pre-reading study guide.

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1: As evidence in our Code of Ethics, social work is
2: Which approach is built on a foundation of universal human dignity and deservingness?
3: In the first part of the 20th century, social workers worked to advocate for
4: Over time, social work divided itself into two dominant forms of practice- micro or macro- which delegated the advocacy for human rights and justice primarily to those practicing at the
5: A human rights approach brings justice as the focal point to
6: In the 1930's social work focused on
7: Within a dichotomized model of social work, ____________ is thought to be built on scientific objectivity.
8: Which human rights-based principle encompasses the concepts of universality, inalienability, and dignity and worth of the person?
9: Which human rights-based principle requires social workers to work with people, not on their behalf, but in solidarity?
10: Which human rights-based principle refers to openness and reflexivity in assessment, monitoring, evaluation, and research?

In order to purchase or take this course, you will need to log in. If you do not have an account, you will need to register for a free account.

After you log in, a link will appear here that will allow you to purchase this course.


Free State Social Work, LLC, provider #1235, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 9/6/2021 - 9/6/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 1 ethics continuing education credit.

Free State Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP NO. 6605. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Free State Social Work is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

G.M. Rydberg-Cox, MSW, LSCSW is the Continuing Education Director at Free State Social Work and responsible for the development of this course.  She received her Masters of Social Work in 1996 from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago and she has over 20 years of experience.  She has lived and worked as a social worker in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City.  She currently practices in the area of hospital/medical social work.  The reading materials for this course were developed by another organization.