What Is Human Services? Christa Gambrell What Is Human Services? The National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) defines the human service profession this way, “The Human Service Profession is one which promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but also seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery. ” Human Service is a very broad term covering a number of agencies and institutions; while creating many different careers for individuals.
But all have one thing in common; that is helping people to meet their basic physical and emotional needs. These are generally people who need outside assistance in meeting those needs. The human service professional works within a field of human or social services; each having a broad range of skills and a broad range of responsibility in helping people overcome a variety of social problems. These social problems happen when basic human needs are not being met.
Why some people are unable to meet their basic human needs and they need human services? There are various reasons, some being: an unsupportive family, no family, no friends, unsupportive friends, no social network, and possibly no supportive neighbors. They may need an education or job skills. Human Services comes into the picture when people find themselves confronting barriers while trying to get their basic human needs met. Usually they do not have anyone or anything in their life that can assist that person.
Although people who are fortunate do not need assistance in getting their needs met, human service professionals work within a field of human and or social services; each having a broad range of skills and responsibilities in helping people overcome a variety of social problems. There are two main reasons people need assistance from human services or social services. The first reason is people find themselves confronting barriers to getting their needs met and the second reason is they do not have a support system to assist in getting those needs met. Human Services can have many different goals.
The chief goal of the human service professional is to support individuals as well as communities function at their maximum potential, overcoming personal and social barriers as effectively as possible the major domains of living. That goes along with teaching a person to fish. That would mean that as a human service professional one of my goals would be to help people develop necessary skills to become self-sufficient and function at their best in society. The history of human services in America dated back to the late 1800s to early 1900s. Our welfare system was strongly influenced by England’s welfare system.
At one point the less fortunate were put into two different categories: the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. America began to change and more fully develop their welfare system. Starting in the early 1900s people working in the social work field were called social workers and that title was reserved for people with an undergraduate or graduate degree in social work from an accredited program by the Counsel on Social Work Education. During the 1960s thru the 1980s most social workers had a BSW and was qualified to get a license; and at that time most states required a license.
At this time most states require social to have at least a BSW, but the professional standard is a MSW. The Association of Social Work Boards identified standards for the practice of social work and defines by law the level of licensure of a social worker. A person is not required to have a license to work in Human Services. A human service professional uses skills that are shaped through scientific knowledge of the social service field and additional skills acquired from other sources; in order to plan and implement interventions.
A term used to describe the appropriate use of knowledge and skills in social intervention is, “practice wisdom”. This means, “a particular type of social work expertise involving the capacity for wise professional decisions in uncertain situations”. This requires an ongoing process of reviewing, transforming, or adding to the knowledge already accumulated through life experiences. During the intervention process, the human service professional should create bridges between professional knowledge, social circumstances, and the needs of those who seek support. Klein and Bloom, 1995) The human service professional is the primary tool for intervention. Since the human service professional is considered a generalist they use general skills and interventions (almost considered to be personality traits). A human service professional may be a good judge of character, but still need to be taught clinical assessment skills and techniques in order to provide the best interventions. A common intervention a human service professional may use is crisis intervention.
The first important step is to build and maintain the worker/client relationship; then the situation has to be assessed; next the human service professional has to look at how the situation has affected the client’s ability to function and how other people are treating the situation; the last step would be implementing a variety of helpful techniques that may help in the client’s situation. By helping the client to through their emotions in a rational manner and figure out the potential alternatives, the human service professional will be teaching coping skills.
In order to protect yourself and your client a human service professional must be aware of professional and ethical standards. According to the textbook (chapter 15) “Although human beings are certainly emotional beings, an individual with high character is one who is not driven to act solely on the basis of their desires and passions. ” This was stated under the topic, “Ethical Values vs. Emotional Desires. When a person acts solely on their values or rules they are often deemed a “rigid idealist”.
On the opposite note when a person is driven by feelings and desires they are often considered to be “immature, volatile, and impulsive. ” Ethical behavior is made difficult because our values are competing with one another; while desires and emotions are competing with one another. According to the textbook ethical standards in the human service profession depend on the human service professional’s level of education, professional license, and the state the human service professional practices in. It is very important to be aware of cultures, genders, and ages when determining what is ethical and how ethical decisions are made.
Without ethical guidelines to help us navigate through various situations, we are all at risk for allowing emotions to rule, leaving each person open to the influence of personal biases. Ethical principals in the human services profession are the foundation to the continued development of a helping profession that strives to objectively, professionally, and compassionately meet the complex needs of the most vulnerable members of our society, and without such guidelines we are at risk of exposing clients to revictimization. REFERENCE References
Goppner, H. J. and Hamalainen, J. (2007) Developing a science of social work. Journal of Social Work, 7, 3, 269-287. Klein, W. C. and Bloom, M. (1995) Practice wisdom. Social Work, 40, 6, 799-807. Lymbery, M. E. F. (2003) Negotiating the contradictions between competence and creativity in social work education. Journal of Social Work, 3, 1, 99-117. O. Sullivan, T. (2005) Some theoretical propositions on the nature of practice wisdom. Journal of Social Work, 5, 221-241. Payne, M. (2001) Knowledge bases and knowledge biases in social work.
Journal of Social Work, 1, 2, 133-146. Payne, M. (1997) Modern Social Work Theory. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan. Sheppard, M. (1995a) Care Management and the New Social Work: A Critical Analysis. London: Whiting and Birch. Sheppard, M. (1998b) Practice validity, reflexivity and knowledge for social work. British Journal of Social Work, 28, 5, 763-81. Revised strategy for social cohesion, European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS) of the Council of Europe, approved by the Committee of Ministers at the 878th meeting of the deputies on March 31, 2004.