Community practice

Community practice

Community Practice is a branch of social work in the United States that focuses on larger social systems and social change, and is tied to the historical roots of United States social work. The field of community practice social work encompasses community organizing, social planning, human service management, community development, policy analysis, policy advocacy, evaluation, mediation, electronic advocacy and other larger systems interventions. In the field of social work, community practice is often contrasted with direct practice social work, in which social workers work directly with individuals solving micro-level problems. Community Practice has been referred to in the past as Macro Practice, though Community Practice is now the standard term in the United States.

Community Practice has considerable overlap with many other applied social sciences, such as urban planning, economic development, public affairs, rural sociology and nonprofit management. Community Practice social workers typically have a Masters in Social Work (MSW). There are several MSW programs in the United States that offer Community Practice Concentrations, while many other MSW programs offer specializations in one or several types of community practice, such as social services administration or policy analysis. The professional group of community practitioners is the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), which publishes the leading journal in the field, The Journal of Community Practice.


Schools of Social Work with Community Practice Concentrations

External links

University of Oklahoma


  • Hardcastle, D., Powers, P. & Wenecour, S. (2004). Community Practice: Theories and Skills for Social Workers. Oxford University Press
  • Weil, M. (2005) The Handbook of Community Practice. Sage Publications.

Further reading

  • Specht, Harry; Courtney, Mark E. (1994). Unfaithful angels : how social work has abandoned its mission. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0029303559. 

See also