5 Unique Facts About Rural Social Work!

(1) President Theodore Roosevelt was the founder of much early social work and in particular, focused on national concern about life in rural areas. He began touching on these issues with conferences that took place in the white house. These conferences led to the creation of child protective services and eventually social security. His efforts have led to the creation and expansion of rural social work (Ginsberg, 2011).


(2) The concept of bartering is something unique to social workers working in rural areas. Bartering is simply the exchange of goods or services as payment for treatment. It should be noted that goods are preferred over services. It should also be noted that the NASW suggests using this form of payment as a last resort. The social worker will carry the full burden if this exchange ends up being detrimental to the client – social worker relationship (Croxton, Jayaratne, & Mattison, 2002).


(3) Rural social work encompasses many fields of practice. Therefore, it has been predicted that it will continue to grow in the areas that social work is expected to grow in. In order to promote positive growth for rural social work, social workers should work to emphasize community based approaches and incorporate newer technology to enhance the services they can provide to individuals in rural settings (Murty, 2005).


(4) Within rural communities, it is likely that everyone knows each other, due to the strong sense of community engagement and concern for communal well-being. As a result, social workers are likely to face the challenge of dual relationships, in which they must learn to set clear boundaries with clients they may see in public places or receive additional services from (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008,  p. 350).


(5) Rural communities often have much less movement of individuals into and out of the community in comparison to more urban areas. Because of this, problems within rural communities frequently become generational. This may seem like a daunting trend for social workers to overcome, but it also creates a unique opportunity for rural social workers to make very lasting change within a family or throughout the community (Colleen Cunningham Rozelle).


Works Cited

Colleen Cunningham Rozelle

Croxton, T. A., Jayaratne, S., & Mattison, D. (2007). Social Work Practice Behaviors and Beliefs: Rural-Urban Differences? In Advances in Social Work (2nd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 117-132). Indianapolis, IA: Indiana University.

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Ginsberg, L. H. (2011). Social Work in Rural Communities (5th ed.). Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

Murty, S. A. (2005). The Future of Rural Social Work. Advances in Social Work, 6(1), 132-144. Retrieved April 27, 2016.