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Group Work with Populations a Risk, Fourth Edition is a fundamental resource for practitioners in health and mental health settings and a comprehensive.
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Looks at the characterisitcs of the children and families that come into contact with the child welfare system; the pathways and services they experience while in the system; and the short and longer-term effects of the experience for these children and families.

July Chartbook relating to the health and well-being of Americans 65 and older. A Profile of Older Americans, U. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration on Aging.

Vulnerable Populations and Risk Factors

Data Sources on Older Americans "Highlights the contents of government-sponsored surveys and products containing statistical information about the older population. Vogt Yuan. Social Forces 86 1 , September , pp. Allen, Katie E. Cherry, and Erdman Palmore. Journal of Gerontological Social Work 52 2 , , pp. Mary Jo Bane. Journal of Disability Policy Studies 14 4 , Spring , Review of SSCI policies and the cultural variables specific to African Americans that may negate return-to-work incentives. National Forum 76 3 , Summer , Williams and Pamela Braboy Jackson. Johnson, Jr.

Cheryl Waites. New York, Routledge, Richard and Rafael Chabran, editors. New York, Marshall Cavendish, More than entries ranging from several paragraphs to signed full-length articles with annotated bibliographies relating to the Latino experience in the United States. Chicano Database c. This extensively revised edition provides tangible techniques and concrete guidelines on applying group work skills to a variety of situations.

It is a comprehensive guidebook for those working directly with clients facing social problems or health conditions such as AIDS, cancer, addiction, head injury, divorce, mental illness, or abuse. Specific resources for further study and materials for use with each population are essential chapter components. With new chapters on internet self-help groups, group work with Asian-American immigrants, community and organizational factors, victims of school and community violence, and evidence-based practice, this nuts-and-bolts resource offers students and professionals clear, practical guidelines for applying specific skills and assessment measures to a broad range of group work environments.

Early recognition and intervention often prevent serious harm. A major part of the population is vulnerable because of location, such as in low-density and impoverished rural areas; urban ghettos; or other places associated with underdeveloped or deteriorating infrastructure; lack of employment opportunities; inadequate medical, social, and educational services; poor transportation and communication facilities; high crime and victimization; and exposure to environmentally adverse conditions.

With economic deprivation and limited opportunities, outmigration of the young and better educated results in unbalanced age distributions, leaving those remaining more vulnerable and with inadequate support. Vulnerabilities may be temporary, stressing individuals and groups during particular life crises such as acute illness, family breakup, unemployment, community disasters, or other severe losses.

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In contrast, other people and communities face persistent and permanent vulnerabilities because of a long-term pattern of severe and persistent illness and disability, persistent poverty even from one family generation to the next , and chronic unemployment. Welfare studies have observed that most people who required assistance needed it only for limited periods before overcoming unemployment and other life crises. But approximately 30 percent of these clients faced adversities that were long term eight or more years and extremely difficult to resolve.

Many require intensive assistance during particular episodes, but most can satisfactorily return to conventional medical and self-management. A subset of these more common problems involve people with profound and persistent disabilities that require an intensive and continuing pattern of care and social support. Other populations spread across neighborhoods and communities share specialized needs because of their illnesses, disabilities, or incapacities—such as isolated frail elderly people, the seriously and persistently mentally ill, ex-offenders released from jail or prison, or the homeless.

Distinguishing among individuals, communities, and dispersed populations helps clarify which programs can be largely built around individuals and which require mobilization of neighborhoods, schools, voluntary groups, and public-private coalitions. Our medical care system has much stability despite its many problems, but many of the neighborhood and population programs that help create and sustain a community safety net lack stable funding and continuing political commitment.

Programs that address the needs of clients who are seen by the public as less deserving particularly face persistent problems of underfunding and instability. A few nongovernmental organizations NGOs addressing these needs have reasonably stable funding, but thousands of smaller organizations struggle from year to year in raising sufficient funds to maintain their efforts.

The policy challenge is not so much any lack of creative solutions but more the will to do the things we already know on the scale needed. The single most established finding in health is the importance of SES in determining the course of future illness, disability, and mortality. SES has broad implications because those who have more income and education are likely to have the resources needed to experience health-promoting life conditions and to take advantage of new social and medical innovations and opportunities, from the Internet to preventive health screening.

They respond more effectively to new opportunities and threats, through their money, knowledge, social networks, and influence, leading Bruce Link and Jo Phelan to characterize social class as a fundamental determinant of health.


Early socioeconomic deprivations make it less likely that children will have access to educational stimulation and good schools, have high levels of educational attainment, compete for better jobs, and achieve adequate incomes and living standards as adults. A major conceptual and practical challenge is how best to intervene in these patterns of cumulative disadvantage so that children in disadvantaged settings have a more equal starting point for attaining acceptable developmental progress and adult achievement.

Programs that provide income support, educational enrichment, and employment opportunities all importantly address such issues. There is no consensus about which of the interrelated elements of SES have the greatest impact over the life course, since each operates through both common and unique causal pathways. The relative influence of each will depend on the specific health and welfare outcome in question.

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Many economic and health indicators suggest that the most disadvantaged segments of the U. Some important programs in place seek to address long-term sources of vulnerability. Such well-accepted income policies as Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit have greatly reduced poverty, and there are indications that they have had major health effects as well.

Thus, approaching socioeconomic challenges through greater educational opportunity and quality offers a political advantage, since support for educational initiatives is widely shared across the political spectrum and ideological positions. Institutions and programs providing assistance to clients with long-term vulnerabilities face different challenges from those designed to serve people and groups in temporary distress.

The long-term problems require a comprehensive commitment social, medical, and rehabilitative , but our systems of assistance and care are largely built around meeting the needs of individuals and groups with more temporary episodes. The needed longitudinal approaches are difficult to sustain within our insurance structures and approaches to organizing health care. Major efforts to develop systems for chronic disease management continue, but financial incentives are weak, and progress remains slow. In addressing vulnerable people, inevitably a small proportion of the population with the largest handicaps will require a large proportion of expenditure because of the intensity of their needs.

Such disproportionate cost distribution is not unexpected, and inevitable, if we serve people with the largest needs. Medical care is our best-funded and most sophisticated system of interventions for vulnerable people. Response in other areas of vulnerability—including poverty, welfare, child support, and community disorganization—is less developed, is less systematic, and has less stable funding.

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These policies and programs are highly dependent on state and local efforts and those of NGOs. Vulnerable populations with little influence and power have little priority when cutbacks are required in public budgets. However formidable the problems of our medical care system, they are modest compared to the challenges faced by organizations designed to deal with sustained poverty, foster children, and depletion of neighborhoods.

The Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, is attractive across the political spectrum because it rewards work, and President Ronald Reagan and other conservatives championed what was in essence a large program of income redistribution to the poor. Typically, however, interventions that demand individual initiative will favor those with greater personal and social resources even among the poor, who are better positioned to take advantage of new opportunities. Thus, it should not be surprising that such programs increase some types of disparities.

Population initiatives, in contrast, affecting life and health independent of personal initiative, are more likely to benefit populations broadly without increasing disparities.

Vulnerable People, Groups, And Populations: Societal View

Auto and highway safety design, fluoridation of water, and Social Security are all examples. Reaching hard-to-reach groups can be facilitated by assuming eligibility of all and requiring that people explicitly opt out of programs in which they do not wish to participate. This type of intervention has been powerfully demonstrated to increase inadequate savings among young workers by assuming acceptance of k plans among employees who do not explicitly opt out. As evidence grows indicating that neighborhood and community context affects health and welfare beyond personal characteristics and resources, it makes clear the need to design improved interventions at the community level.

Degraded neighborhoods can be targeted for intensive interventions, including the many areas crucial to quality of life such as housing stock, employment opportunities, transportation, safety and freedom from victimization, educational enrichment, and recreational opportunities. These are longstanding but inadequately addressed concerns.

Much vulnerability arises from the way we have neglected many community environments. Nevertheless, the lack of opportunity for large segments of our population exacerbates problems for the entire society. It results in alienation, substance abuse, inappropriate behavior, and victimization of others. It degrades our shared social environment, which makes us unwilling to enter parts of our communities and keeps many of us fearful in our homes, separate from our neighbors.

An important challenge is to help the public and their political representatives understand that attention to vulnerable groups not only assists their life chances but contributes more generally to the safety and quality of life of the entire community.