Social Work and Social Welfare: An Invitation, 5th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social Work and Social Welfare

An Invitation, 5th Edition

By Marla Berg-Weger


620 pages | 36 Color Illus.

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Social Work and Social Welfare: An Invitation is a best-selling text and website for introduction to social work courses. It provides students with the knowledge, skills, and values that are essential for working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and public policy in a variety of practice settings.

The fifth edition of Social Work and Social Welfare is in full color, with more visuals and photos throughout. As with previous editions, this book is an up-to-date profile of the world in which today’s social workers practice, with current demographic, statistical, legislative, policy, and research information; and sensitive discussions of contemporary ethical issues. The text includes exercises from six interactive cases.Visit for the detailed cases and companion materials that teach students about social work through practice.

In this book and companion custom website you will find:

■■ An emphasis on a strengths-based perspective and attention to diversity, social environment,

theory and theoretical frameworks, levels of social work practice, and an array of fields of


■■ The histories of social welfare and the social work profession presented as the intertwined

phenomena that they are.

■■ A profile of the contemporary landscape of the society in which social workers practice.

■■ Social work practice within the framework of planned change, encompassing: engagement,

assessment, intervention, and evaluation and termination.

■■ The opportunity to hear from social work practitioners working in fourteen diverse and

challenging practice settings.

■■ Six unique, in-depth, interactive, easy-to-access cases that students can easily reach from

any computer, provide a “learning by doing” format unavailable with any other text(s).

Students will have an advantage unlike any other they will experience in their social work


■■ A wealth of instructor-only resources provide: full-text readings that link to the concepts

presented in each of the chapters; a complete bank of objective and essay-type test items, all

linked to current CSWE EPAS standards; PowerPoint presentations to help students master

key concepts; annotated links to a treasure trove of social work assets on the internet; and a

forum inviting all instructors using texts in the series to communicate with each other, and

share ideas to improve teaching and learning.


Marla Berg-Weger provides a comprehensive overview of the context of social work practice and the history and structure of the social welfare system. Students will develop a rich understanding of the social work profession in the 21st century because this book highlights the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in a rapidly changing world.

—Joni Swanson Ernst, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Wayne State School of Social Work

The reader expects that each new edition of a textbook will update all the changes that have occurred since the last edition, but this edition does more than that. It has added a glossary to each chapter, includes more activities for students, expanded discussions in various sections, includes the newest social work interventions and current and future employment opportunities. The revision of the previous chapters four and five represents a rethinking of the content of those two chapters into one and it has strengthened the presentation of the content on diversity and cultural competence so that the environment in which social workers now practice and will practice is seen within the context of our changing demographic, social, political and economic environment. This introduction exposes students to the entire world of the social work profession.

—E. Aracelis Francis, PhD, ACSW, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of the Virgin Islands

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; About the Authors; 1. A Glimpse into the World of Social Work; 2. History of Social Work and Social Welfare; 3. U.S. Poverty and the Implications for Social Work; 4. Diversity with the Social Work Practice Environment; 5. Values and Ethics in Social Work Practice; 6. Social Work Perspectives and Methods; 7. Fields of Social Work Practice; 8. Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families; 9. Social Work Practice with Groups; 10. Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities, and Public Policy; 11. The Social Work Profession; References; Glossary/Index

About the Author

Marla Berg-Weger is a professor in the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University, Missouri,

where she also serves as the Executive Director, Geriatric Education Center, and is a past Director

of Field Education. Dr. Berg-Weger has been a social worker for four decades and holds social work

degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Her social work practice experience includes

public social welfare services, domestic violence services, mental health, and gerontological and

health care social work. Her research and writing focus on social work practice and gerontological

social work, particularly in the areas of family caregiving, dementia care, and older adult mobility.

With Julie Birkenmaier, she co-authored the textbook The Practicum Companion for Social Work:

Integrating Class and Field Work. With Birkenmaier, she co-authored another book in this series,

Contemporary Social Work Practice. She is the past President and Secretary of the Association of

Gerontology Education in Social Work and Managing Editor of the Journal of Gerontological Social

Work. She is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America.

About the Series

New Directions in Social Work

A Routledge Series
New Directions in Social Work is an innovative, integrated series offering a uniquely distinctive teaching strategy for generalist courses in the social work curriculum, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The series integrates 5 texts with custom websites housing interactive cases, companion readings, and a wealth of resources to enrich the teaching and learning experience. Please visit for more information.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General