Human Rights: It’s Meaning and Practice in Social Work Field Settings

Human Rights: It’s Meaning and Practice in Social Work Field Settings

Julie A. Steen, Mary Mann, Nichole Restivo, Shellene Mazany, and Reshawna Chapple

The goal of the study reported in this article was to explore the conceptualizations of human rights and human rights practice among students and supervisors in social work field settings. Data were collected from 35 students and 48 supervisors through an online survey system that featured two open-ended questions regarding human rights issues in their agency and human rights practice tasks. Responses suggest that participants encountered human rights issues related to poverty, discrimination, participation/self-determination/autonomy, vio- lence, dignity/respect, privacy, and freedom/liberty. They saw human rights practice as en- compassing advocacy, service provision, assessment, awareness of threats to clients’ rights, and the nature of the worker–client relationship. These results have implications for the social work profession, which has an opportunity to focus more intently on change efforts that support clients’ rights. The study points to the possibilities of expanding the scope of the human rights competency within social work education and addressing the key human rights issues in field education.

Human Rights: It’s Meaning and Practice in Social Work Field Settings

KEYWORDS: accreditation standards; educational policy; field education; human rights; social work education

In the most recent edition of Social Work Speaks, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2015b) announced that “the struggle

for human rights remains a vital priority for the social work profession in the 21st century” (p. 186). The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) (2012), which is the international umbrella organiza- tion for national social work associations, has integrated the concept of human rights into their Statement of Ethical Principles. Through this docu- ment, they call on social workers to “uphold and defend” (IFSW, 2012) the human rights of clients. In addition, they present international human rights conventions as key to “social work practice and action” (IFSW, 2012). Although NASW (2015a) does not explicitly use the term “human rights” in its Code of Ethics, many of the concepts within the national document are derived from the human rights philosophy. For example, the code requires social workers within the United States to respect “the dignity and worth of the person” (NASW, 2015a, p. 5), “facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping social policies and institutions” (NASW, 2015a, p. 27), and work to “ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employ- ment, services, and opportunities they require to

meet their basic human needs” (NASW, 2015a, p. 27). These responsibilities align with the types of human rights classified as integrity of the body, polit- ical rights, and social and economic rights (Steen, 2006).

Although social work professional organizations on the national and international levels embrace the human rights philosophy (Healy, 2008; Reichert, 2011; Steen, 2006; Wronka, 2008), questions remain regarding the definition and application of human rights in social work settings. Answers to these ques- tions are particularly important as schools of social work seek to meet accreditation standards that require student mastery of a human rights competency (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], 2008, 2015). Although human rights content may be easily infused into the curriculum, the field place- ment remains an unexplored venue for human rights education. The field placement is perhaps the most important aspect of social work education, as this is the setting in which social work students directly witness human rights violations and are given oppor- tunities to take a human rights practice approach. Social work educators and the profession as a whole could build a stronger foundation for practice through a greater understanding of the nature of human rights

doi: 10.1093/sw/sww075 © 2016 National Association of Social Workers 9

issues that confront social workers and the ways in which social workers can take a human rights practice approach. To address this gap, we sought to examine the perspectives of field supervisors and social work interns regarding the meaning of human rights and human rights practice in social work field settings.

LITERATURE REVIEW Meaning of Human Rights Foundational to this discussion is the meaning one assigns to the concept of human rights. Many rely on theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for guidance in defining the scope of the concept (Reichert, 2011; Wronka, 2008). Wronka (2008) divided the articles of UDHR into the following five dimensions: dignity; nondiscrimination; civil and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; and solidarity rights. This definition of human rights has found its way into social work in- stitutions. In fact, several of the dimensions listed byWronka are represented in CSWE’s (2008) human rights competency, which includes attention to the client’s right to “freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education” (p. 5).

The meaning of human rights has gradually expanded beyond UDHR with the creation and adoption of population-specific conventions, de- clarations, and principles. Examples include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrim- ination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and Principles for the Older Person. Many of these documents reaffirm a specific population’s rights to the entitlements outlined in UDHR, but they also extend beyond this foundation by addressing the unique situations faced by the population. For example, CRC establishes a child’s right to be free from military service with the aim of preventing the use of child soldiers (Reichert, 2011). This realm of population-specific rights is one of the most fre- quently featured in the social work literature with authors directing their attention toward the human rights of various populations, such as women (Choi, Brownell, & Moldovan, 2015; Morgaine, 2006) and children (Doek, 2009; Munro et al., 2011; Scherrer, 2012; Viviers & Lombard, 2012; Watkinson & Rock, 2016).

The meanings described previously are largely derived from legal thought within Western demo- cratic countries, leading some to call for an alternative

means for defining the concept of human rights. Use of Western-derived meanings imposes limitations that contribute to colonialism and racism (Ife, 2010). One solution suggested by Ife (2010) involves the “reflexive definition of human rights,”which “occurs when people address the idea themselves and, rather than accept the dominant discursive construction uncritically, think about and define what human rights mean in their own context” (p. 135). Ife emphasized experience and context as being key parts of this making of meaning. “Human rights are constantly being defined and redefined, constructed and reconstructed, in people’s daily lives and their interactions with others, and also in their conscious reflection of what ‘human rights’ mean in context” (p. 135).

This discussion begs the question of what social workers in the field make of the concept of human rights. This leads us to our first research question: What meanings do social work students and their field supervisors attribute to the concept of human rights as it relates to their work in field settings?

Practice of Human Rights Another important question focuses on the actions social workers can take to make human rights a real- ity. In other words, the focus shifts from the concept of human rights to the practice of human rights. Most literature regarding the social worker’s role in human rights presents human rights practice as tak- ing the form of advocacy. In the words of Reichert (2011), this form of practice involves “challenging oppression.” Examples of both case-based and cause- based advocacy within a human rights framework abound. Case-based advocacy, in which social workers campaign for environmental changes that enable a client’s rights to be realized, has been oper- ationalized in a wide variety of fields. In the area of women’s rights, case-based human rights practice has been framed as “interven[ing] to protect [a client] against physical abuse from her partner” (Reichert, 2011, p. 240) and supporting client submissions of individual petitions to the complaint mechanism within the Women’s Convention (Tang, 2004). Cause-based advocacy is also described within the literature. Staub-Bernasconi (2012) listed tasks that fall within this category of cause-based advocacy, including “resource mobilization, consciousness raising, mediation, and empowerment. More spe- cific methods include . . . monitoring, lobbying, and, more and more, also whistle blowing” (p. 35).

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Specific examples of cause-based advocacy in the field of women’s rights can be found in the work of Tang (2004), who urged social workers to “work together with women’s groups and progres- sive NGOs to advocate for and support the imple- mentation of the Women’s Convention in their country” (p. 1183).

Another option was advanced by Ife (2010), who presented a mezzo-level model of human rights practice. He argued that community devel- opment is a means through which human rights can be practiced and achieved. Participatory democ- racy is central to his model. Community members come together to dialogue, build, educate, and advocate. Human rights education is one compo- nent of Ife’s model, though he believed that this task should be carried out in a bottom-up fashion. As such, he cited Freire’s (2014) philosophy and pointed to works of creative expression (for example, drama, art, and music) that provide community members with outlets to share their experiences as survivors of human rights violations. Social workers wishing to engage in human rights practice using this model would support community development through facilitation of community member engagement. An example of this form of human rights practice is described in the literature within the context of Middle East peace efforts (Grodofsky, 2012).

Whereas Ife (2010) emphasized the role of the social worker in the community, some authors have discussed ways in which social workers can integrate human rights into case management and clinical practice. Reichert (2011) described this method as being characterized by client empower- ment, the strengths perspective, ethnic-sensitive practice, feminist practice, and cultural compe- tence. Additional details are offered by Wronka (2008), who presented the following elements as being essential to micro-level human rights prac- tice: “creating a human rights culture,” respecting human dignity, practicing nondiscrimination, using a “nonhierarchical approach,” considering and respecting the client’s cultural context, integrating community- and client-driven interventions, using a “systems-oriented approach,” and respecting self- determination. Berthold (2015) provided the most comprehensive description to date of this approach. Her model of human rights–based clinical practice consists of “reframing needs as entitlements or rights, operating from a stance of cultural humility and intersectionality, fostering a therapeutic relationship

and reconstructing safety, providing trauma-informed care, and drawing from the recovery-model and a strengths and resilience orientation” (p. 2).

This literature provides a foundation on which to ask our second research question: How do social work students and their field supervisors describe human rights practice in their own agency settings?

METHOD Design To attain a greater understanding of the meaning and practice of human rights within social work field settings, a phenomenological approach was taken within the qualitative portion of a mixed- methods study. Field supervisors and field students in a social work department with accredited BSW and MSW programs were contacted by e-mail and invited to participate in the study. The e-mail pro- vided field supervisors and field students with a link to an online survey. The online survey was administered through Qualtrics (2016) and re- mained open for survey completion from February 2013 to April 2013. The survey system was entirely anonymous, limiting the researcher’s influence in survey responses and allowed partici- pants to freely report their perspectives. No incen- tives were given to participate in this research, financial or otherwise.

Survey participants received a summary expla- nation of research and a survey. When participants clicked on the survey link in the recruitment e-mail, the link first directed them to the summary explanation of research, which is an abbreviated consent form approved for use in research posing less than minimal risk to participants. Participants were then directed to the online survey items. A portion of the survey included questions regarding the application of the policy competency in field settings; however, this article focuses exclusively on the results from the human rights section of the survey, which included both open-ended items and a structured scale.

The open-ended items focused on respondents’ view of the human rights competency as they experienced it in the field setting. The survey included the human rights competency as outlined in the CSWE (2008) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards:

Each person, regardless of position in society, has basic human rights, such as freedom, safety,

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privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers recognize the global interconnections of oppression and are knowledgeable about theories of justice and strategies to promote human rights and civil rights. Social work incorporates social justice practices in organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that these basic human rights are dis- tributed equitably and without prejudice. (p. 5)

The survey asked field supervisors to respond to two open-ended items regarding this competency: (1) What (if any) are the major human rights issues in your agency’s field of practice? (2) Please list the tasks that a student could complete in the intern- ship that might demonstrate mastery of this human rights competency. Field students were presented with two nearly identical items: (1) What (if any) are the major human rights issues in your intern- ship agency’s field of practice? (2) Please list the tasks that a student could complete in your intern- ship that might demonstrate mastery of this human rights competency.

In addition to the open-ended items, partici- pants were presented with McPherson and Abell’s (2012) Human Rights Exposure in Social Work scale. This instrument is composed of 11 items de- signed to assess the respondent’s degree of familiarity with human rights. The response set includes seven points on a spectrum ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree. The instrument has been tested, and results indicate acceptable factorial validity and reliability levels.

Sample, The final sample for the qualitative portion of the study, consisted of 35 field students and 48 field supervisors. The average age within the student sam- ple was 29 years. The majority of the field students were female (77 percent), with the remainder being male (20 percent) or transgender (3 percent). The student sample included representation from multi- ple ethnicities: biracial (3 percent), black (9 percent), Latino (23 percent), multiracial (3 percent), and white (60 percent). Thirty-one percent of the students were enrolled in the BSW program, and 69 percent were enrolled in the MSW program. The field supervisor sample had similar demographics, with the majority being female (88 percent) and white (60 percent). The sample included supervisors who were biracial (6 percent), black (10 percent), Latino (15 percent),

and multiracial (2 percent). The average age of the supervisor sample was 45 years. In regard to human rights exposure, the average Human Rights Expo- sure in Social Work (McPherson & Abell, 2012) scores were at the higher end of the spectrum for both the student sample (M = 5.15) and the supervi- sor sample (M = 5.28). Note that the score is repre- sentative of the degree of exposure, with seven representing the highest possible exposure and one representing the lowest possible exposure.

Analysis We analyzed the data with attention toward two key concepts: human rights and human rights prac- tice. Responses were sorted so that those with similar conceptualizations were placed together. These groupings were labeled with themes based on key terms in the respondents’ comments. To identify any differences across the two samples, we compared the percentages of supervisors and students issuing comments related to each theme.

RESULTS Meaning of Human Rights Seven themes arose from respondents’ conceptua- lizations regarding the human rights issues encoun- tered in the field of practice associated with their employing agencies or their internship settings. These themes include poverty; discrimination; par- ticipation, self-determination, autonomy; violence; dignity, respect; privacy; and freedom and liberty. Significant statements that exemplify each of these seven themes are presented in the following sections. Poverty. Poverty was the most frequently men-

tioned human rights issue. Forty-four percent of the field students and 37 percent of the field super- visors referred to poverty in response to the first question regarding human rights issues in their field of practice. Supervisors and students found that this human rights violation was closely inter- twined with their work and interfered with their clients’ abilities to meet their physical and psychological needs. Responses focused on the ways in which poverty affects access to housing, health care, and substance abuse treatment. One student stated, “The majority of the clients served are living well below national poverty levels so safety, health care are compromised.”Other students referred to clients being “booted [from treatment] as soon as insurance is up” and the inability to “reunite families because [of a] lack of a place to live.” Field

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supervisors mentioned similar problems, such as “patients without health insurance having issues with obtaining needed medical services.”

Discrimination. Supervisors and students served clients from diverse backgrounds who face discrimi- nation at the societal and organizational levels. Both supervisors and students made statements that re- flected a concern regarding discrimination, though there was a difference between these two groups in the types of discrimination mentioned. Students tended to focus on discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) population and listed concerns related to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (P.L. 104-199), “hate crimes,” and “access to safe and appropriate bath- rooms.” They also mentioned “employment dis- crimination” and “housing discrimination.” On the other hand, field supervisors listed “cultural compe- tency,” “equal access to care,” and “discrimination from medical providers” against women placing their children for adoption and “patients who secure treatment throughMedicaid.”

Participation, Self-Determination, and Autonomy. Responses conveyed the idea that clients’ human rights include the right to be treated as autono- mous individuals who participate in the decision- making processes that affect their lives. This theme was mentioned more frequently by field supervi- sors than by students. One field supervisor summa- rized this theme with the following phrase: “the right to self-determination when choices are seen as less than healthy by various members of the interdisciplinary team.” Another supervisor framed this idea as the “right to determine their own des- tiny.” This theme was often mentioned in the con- text of mental health and hospice and included references to “restraints” and dying “in comfort.” Students had similar concerns, such as “clients hav- ing a voice in their treatment plan,” the lack of “an individualized treatment plan,” and a client’s “right to choose how he or she dies.”

Violence. The responses of supervisors and stu- dents also conveyed the idea that the right to be free from violence is a human right. Various forms of violence were listed by both supervisors and stu- dents alike. Students referred to “elder abuse” and “hate crimes.” Supervisors noted “maltreatment,” “domestic violence,” “child abuse,” and “sexual assault.” One supervisor also mentioned “refugees that are fleeing oppression.”

Dignity and Respect. Another human right pre- sented by the respondents is the right to be treated as a being worthy of dignity and respect. This theme was referenced within the context of health systems, schools, hospices, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Students mentioned “preserving dignity of clients within the health care team and among hospital personnel” and “treating each student as an individual and with respect regardless of your opinion of them.” One field supervisor issued a concern for “devaluation in treatment and perception of those labeled as ‘liabilities’ rather than ‘assets.’”

Privacy. A few supervisors and one student men- tioned either “privacy” or “confidentiality,” though none of these respondents elaborated on this issue.

Freedom and Liberty. A few supervisors and one student used the terms “freedom” or “liberty” in their responses, with little detail regarding the type of freedom.

Practice of Human Rights An analysis of responses to the question regarding human rights practice yielded five themes: advo- cacy, service provision, assessment, relationship, and awareness. Advocacy. Supervisors and students presented

advocacy as one form of human rights practice and defined this in numerous ways (for example, efforts to change policy, systems, organizations, or these structures’ effect on a single client). Many of the respondents (40 percent of field supervisors and 50 percent of field students) made statements reflecting the advocacy theme. These statements were further categorized into the following three subthemes: general advocacy, case advocacy, and cause advocacy. The theme of general advocacy refers to nonspecific statements that include the term “advocacy.” Specific statements regarding advocacy for individual clients were coded under the case advocacy theme. Examples include “advocacy for children’s human rights (as recommendations in as- sessments/staffings)” and “advocating on patient’s behalf to government agencies to obtain services.” This was the most frequently used advocacy code for both supervisor and student responses. Cause advocacy was mentioned by a greater percentage of students than supervisors (18 percent of students compared with 2 percent of supervisors). Examples of cause advocacy within student responses include

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“policy advocacy at the agency level aimed at delivering quality care to marginalized populations” and “having the clinic accept all insurances and Medicaid.”

Service Provision. Supervisors and students in the sample presented human rights practice as stretching beyond advocacy on behalf of the client to include micro-level practice directly with a cli- ent. Service provision, whether direct provision or referral to another provider, was a frequently men- tioned practice that respondents believed to be reflective of human rights practice. Supervisors provided examples across a broad range of fields, such as disability, mental health, homelessness, family violence, and health care. Specific tasks listed by supervisors included “psychoeducation and support services,” “assisting a client in accessing . . . Medicaid services,” “matching birth mothers with adoptive families,” and “participating in outreach efforts to underserved communities.” Student responses reflec- tive of this category included tasks related to discharge planning, psychoeducation, case management, and hospice.

Assessment. Respondents included the accurate identification of clients’ needs and wishes as a form of human rights practice, because assessment is a necessary step before needs and wishes can be met. Statements regarding assessment were prominent in the responses of field supervisors, but not stu- dents. Supervisors viewed assessments as a method for justifying client access to a particular resource. Therefore, a small number listed assessments as a form of human rights practice with people who have disabilities, clients who “have been given a terminal diagnosis,” and “older adults and people who are affected by dementia.”

Relationship. Respondents presented human rights practice as being embodied in the worker– client relationship, specifically in the ways that this relationship is responsive to the human rights issues of dignity and respect, privacy, and nondiscrimination. Students mentioned consent forms and protection of confidentiality as key aspects of human rights practice. Supervisors also mentioned confidentiality but broadened their treatment of this topic by including “fair and equal treatment of each patient” and stating that “all patients are treated with dignity and respect.”

Awareness. According to the respondents, an important element of human rights practice is the

perspective one brings to the work, in particular, a perspective that incorporates an understanding of the possible threats to client rights. This theme of awareness received a small amount of attention from students and supervisors. Students mentioned “being aware of signs of elderly abuse,” “learning more about religious-based organizations, how that can impact what you can and cannot do or say,” and “understanding mental health laws and policy.” Supervisors listed similar items, such as “notice any discrimination that marginalized clients face.” They also suggested activities that could increase student awareness, such as taking a “cultural competency and ethics course” and spending the “night in a homeless shelter or on the street in teams.”

DISCUSSION The results provide rich descriptions of the human rights issues encountered by supervisors and stu- dents in field placement sites. The frequency of re- sponses regarding poverty as a human rights issue was noteworthy, because this problem relates to economic rights that traditionally are not embraced in capitalist countries. This frequency may be an indicator that the profession of social work can expand beyond the Western confines of the human rights definition. The responses also re- vealed the embedded nature of human rights in domestic applications across a wide variety of social work practice fields. The supervisors and students occasionally used abstract or philosophical lan- guage when defining human rights issues, but the majority of comments addressed practical, real- world concerns in the local community. Although their responses were locally embedded, their con- ceptualizations were similar to those found in the literature. The themes that arose closely mirrored the human rights dimensions listed by Wronka (2008). Significant statements included the types of population-specific applications found in Reich- ert’s (2011) classic text.

Although their responses regarding human rights practice were aligned with the literature in the endorsement of advocacy and respect for client rights within the worker–client relationship (Reich- ert, 2011; Wronka, 2008), the supervisors and stu- dents diverged from the establishment on other dimensions of human rights practice. Ife’s (2010) mezzo-level model of human rights practice was not mentioned by respondents. In place of this

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model, supervisors and students emphasized service provision with multiple examples of tasks that con- stitute case management. This conceptualization is unique in that the respondents are emphasizing the actual tasks as opposed to how the tasks are per- formed (that is, what is done versus how it is done). Human rights theorists in social work have long argued that social workers can practice human rights through the way in which they interact with clients (for example, respect for and empowerment of cli- ents) (Reichert, 2011; Wronka, 2008). However, these supervisors and students asserted that the tasks of social work, specifically the tasks of case manage- ment, are a form of human rights practice. Essentially, this argument may be translated into the idea that the core of social work itself is human rights practice.

Discussion of the language that was absent from the results is also warranted. Though students and supervisors mentioned issues, such as discrimina- tion and poverty, that are often related to race, none of the responses addressed race or racism. This lack of attention to race could be due to the absence of this term from the CSWE (2008) human rights competency, which was part of the question prompt. On the other hand, students referred to discrimination against LGBTQ indivi- duals, despite the fact that the human rights com- petency is missing any mention of the LGBTQ population. The supervisors used terms, such as cultural competency, that might indicate a consid- eration of race, but they did not specify a particular dimension of cultural diversity. The absolute absence of race from the responses is significant and may pro- vide justification for Ife’s (2010) concern regarding the racist implications of Western definitions of human rights.

Implications for Social Work Practice These results have implications for the social work profession. Both practitioners and students are rec- ognizing the connection between human rights and social work. Leaders of the profession can strengthen this connection by incorporating human rights lan- guage into the mainstream dialogue, specifically the declarations and publications of professional associa- tions, the subject matter of professional journals, and the framing of conference themes and tracks. When the institutions of the social work profession rein- force the emerging recognition of human rights within the field, the profession can more clearly focus its intention on the realization of human rights.

Results point to specific areas of concern that can be addressed by the profession. One of these concerns is the negative impact that poverty has on the human rights of clients. Poverty is rarely a direct focus of social workers in the United States, where the emphasis primarily lies with aging, child welfare, mental health, and substance abuse. The respondents repeatedly noted the implications of poverty in these practice fields. Professional leaders can respond to this human rights issue by including content regarding poverty at social work confer- ences; addressing the relationship between poverty and the various practice fields; and increasing awareness of the intersections of poverty, race, gender, and age. A second issue of concern noted by respondents is the way in which organizations and providers treat and serve marginalized clients. The profession can provide more education and sup- port for frontline workers on organizational change efforts. Continuing education could equip them with the tools they need to shape their organizations into more respectful environments for clients.

Implications for Social Work Education This study also has implications for social work education. The results may indicate that the human rights competency could be expanded beyond its current state. The current definition of the human rights competency (CSWE, 2015), which has chan- ged only slightly since the 2008 version of accredita- tion standards for social work education, contains a heavy emphasis on advocacy. Although advocacy is an important component of human rights practice, field supervisors and students in this sample reported a conceptualization with a wider scope. Specifically, they incorporated practice tasks related to direct ser- vice provision and case management.

Social work education can respond to this wid- ening definition by integrating human rights into practice courses. As the field of human rights edu- cation has expanded, social work educators now have a wealth of material for use across the curricu- lum. Educators can go beyond the advocacy-based conceptualizations by including textbooks on the human rights approach to practice. The most recent examples include Berthold’s (2015) text on human rights in clinical practice; Libal and Harding’s (2015) text on human rights in community practice; and Androff’s (2016) text on the application of human rights in a wide variety of fields, including child welfare, poverty, and mental health. Furthermore,

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course content regarding human rights should be presented within the context of multiple dimen- sions of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion.

Field educators can also play an important role in guiding student application of human rights concepts in real-world practice. As social work students strive to apply what they learned in the classroom, they often encounter resistance to the full realization of social work ideals. In fact, one student respondent stated, “It’s a hospital. These standards are written into policy. There are chances to advocate for an individual patient, but that’s all.” Field seminar in- structors can bring this issue to the forefront of semi- nar discussions and explore the ways in which students can advance human rights to the greatest extent possible. Dodd and Jansson (2004) provided an excellent model for these types of discussions with an emphasis on preparing students to overcome barriers in organizational change efforts. In addition to seminar discussions, field educators can use the learning contract as an opportunity to more fully integrate human rights practice concepts into the field experience and explicitly label social work activities as human rights practice.

CONCLUSION Although theorists and researchers have made sub- stantial contributions to the conceptualizations of human rights and human rights practice, the voice of the frontline social worker is an important one to consider. This study was conducted in an effort to bring this voice into the professional dialogue and deepen our understanding of the connection between human rights and social work. With this understanding, the profession can begin to create a clearer roadmap for strengthening this connection and protecting client rights. SW

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Julie A. Steen, PhD, MSW, is associate professor, Mary Mann, MSW, is instructor, Nichole Restivo, MSW, is research assistant, Shellene Mazany, MSW, LCSW, is online MSW coordinator and instructor, and Reshawna Chapple, PhD, LCSW, is assistant professor, School of Social Work, University of Central Florida, Orlando. Address correspondence to Julie Steen, School of Social Work, University of Central Florida, 12805 Pegasus Drive, Orlando, FL 32816; e-mail:

Original manuscript received October 27, 2015 Final revision receivedMay 4, 2016 Editorial decision May 18, 2016 Accepted May 20, 2016 Advance Access Publication November 17, 2016

17Steen, Mann, Restivo, Mazany, and Chapple /Human Rights

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