Community capacity building (CCB) is the conceptual framework for vulnerable social issues. It allows for resolving delicate problems by analyzing and applying the community’s capacity to solve and eliminate public challenges. The given case study presents the high suicide rates as a troublesome social issue of a particular city. It is essential to understand that CCB should be thoroughly thought out and elaborated on before its implementation because the effectiveness of the program is highly dependent on it.
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The case study attempts to demonstrate how a social worker can introduce the conceptual framework of community capacity building as a quick solution for the high suicide rates of a small town. The causes can be low employment rates and the lack of education on the subject. In addition, the numbers are high among teenagers, which makes the issue more intricate. The town also does not possess a qualified mental health professional, whose role is to guide and educate the local population on aid opportunities. The goal is to design and propose a CCB-based social program that reduces or eliminates the high number of suicide rates in the given town.
CCB Benefits and Concerns
The key benefit of the CCB is that it allows a social worker to observe and eliminate the emerging efficiency issues throughout its implementation. The problem of evaluating the effectiveness of community capacity-building-based social programs is one of the most difficult in modern economics due to the diversity of social policy objectives and plans implementing it (Ife 2016). Also, it is highly challenging due to the inability to find the accurate quantitative measure, and the need to take into account feedback expressed in the population’s response to actions taken. The definition of social efficiency as the ratio of the obtained social benefits to the cost of achieving them leaves open the question of what results can be considered favorable. It is relevant because the objectives need to be defined in the goals of a specific program and develop recommendations for their quantification. The social-quantitative proposal is not always a possible response to which is possible only with a significant time lag.
Measuring the effectiveness of the social sphere requires the use of specific qualitative indicators of the development for each branch of this sphere. Nevertheless, the formation of a general methodological approach, which allows forming individual criteria for specific social programs on its basis, is an urgent scientific task. The effectiveness of CCB social programs should be considered in the context of three assessments: the overall result, the overall effect, and the net effect. The outcome describes the average values among program participants, such as suicidal teenagers and unemployed people (Kenny & Connors 2017). In the case of evaluation of social programs, this may be an increase in household incomes as a consequence of the introduction of new types of benefits, the share of participants who improved the results, which were taken into consideration when they entered the program.
The overall effect of the program is the result of comparing the outcomes between the group of participants in the program and the group not participating in it. The calculation of the total effect is often diminished by incorrectly evaluating the impact of the program since the groups of participants are usually not selected in the program randomly. Therefore, the values may differ significantly from the group that did not participate in the program.
The action plan approach is the most plausible approach due to its practicality and the small population size of the town. To correctly assess the net effect of the CCB program, it is necessary to construct a hypothetical scenario designed to reflect the situation in which the program was not implemented. For example, in the case of studying a plan to support families with suicidal teenagers, the researcher should model the exposure group and the control group. The exposure group includes families that participated in the program, such as suicidal teens and unemployed people. The control group contains people that did not participate in the program but are in similar conditions with the families included in the program. The hypothetical scenario can be built using two approaches, which are experimental and asset-based methods.
An experimental approach to program evaluation is a reasonable and reliable way to estimate the net effect. The essence of the method lies in the fact that the researcher selects several individuals or families with similar characteristics to participate in the program (Horsford & Sampson 2014). In addition, participants are distributed between the control and experimental groups randomly. Random distribution allows a social worker to get an unbiased estimate of the effect by eliminating known and unknown systematic errors, especially the trend, which is caused by the factors of time and space.
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Although the asset-based method has significant drawbacks and limitations in its application, it is still plausible to apply, because it is suitable for small towns. In some cases, it is possible to allow people to receive help for ethical reasons. For example, it seems unreasonable and unethical to exclude people from hunger programs only for better studying the design and results of the program. Moreover, excluding a group of people from participating in a program that could potentially benefit them may aggravate social tensions in society and lead to conflicts. Another argument against the use of the experimental approach is that a large number of programs are implemented at the national level; therefore, it is not possible to define control and experimental groups.
The main criteria for successful CCB implementation involve informative and critical measures, which allow social workers to integrate the program initiative systematically. They include open information spreading and raising awareness of the issue (Kenny & Connors 2017). The given small town can effortlessly inform the entire population about the current state of unemployment and suicide rates. People need to be warned that there is a connection between these problems because both of them are interlinked in a causal relationship.
CCB Components and Features
The key CCB component is to support vulnerable families because the negotiation-based measures do not effectively work with suicidal and traumatized community members. The most important feature of social support that distinguishes it from social protection and assistance is that it is characterized by the activity of the unemployed, a certain degree of its independence, focus on overcoming a difficult life situation. A person without a job is trying to use the external and internal resources in their arsenal, which makes it possible to a certain extent not to be in a position to ask for help or protection from someone. Therefore, the aid should be promoted and openly presented.
However, independent efforts do not always lead to the achievement of the goal and a positive result. Thus, there is a need to get something necessary from the subjects, such as government agencies and non-governmental organizations, that provide small groups with assistance (Müller & Pihl-Thingvad 2019). Those, in turn, use their opportunities to successfully overcome the difficulties faced by the unemployed and suicidal teenagers. At the same time, the efforts of two parties operating in the same direction are intensified. This action is aimed at stabilizing the weakened position of the object who applied for support.
Therefore, social support involves the mandatory development of the object, and this is one of the essential differences of this type of interaction from those defined by the concepts of social protection and assistance. Social support makes sense when it is aimed at acquiring the object of new knowledge, skills, abilities, providing a level of independence in overcoming difficult life situations.
Social Practice Skills and Services
The given case should involve all the social aid tools that are available for further implementation. All functions can be grouped by a variety of different characteristics, such as advocacy, empowerment, and social justice. Thus, suicide and unemployment support services include personal care, family therapy, and own life education. Furthermore, empowerment and social justice services should be focused on issues of a teenager’s ordinary life in the family, ensuring proper care. The value of aid, as well as home-based children’s groups, is being increasingly appreciated, which makes it possible to reduce the number of children brought up in institutions, such as orphanages (Abrutyn & Mueller 2014). Some specific problems related to the competence of social services, for example, neglect of teenagers and mistreatment, are at the center of public attention.
To solve these problems, funds are allocated to research, develop and test programs, and provide recommendations for recruitment. There is a psychotherapeutic method, such as family therapies, which helps to eliminate these negative phenomena. It suggests the possibility of therapeutic effects on the teenager through his/her family (Thill, Houssemand & Pignault 2018). The task of this technique is to level the negative phenomena in the family, correcting the situation in which it is possible to change the behavior of both individual family members and the child.
The major component of the theoretical approach is modernism. And related concepts. Modern social science, which studies society in all its manifestations, increasingly operates with such concepts as modernism and postmodernism. Their use in the most comprehensive and most diverse contexts sometimes makes it difficult to understand their specific meaning. However, it also makes it clear that this is about some total and pervasive phenomena in the life of modern society. The post-modernistic theoretical concept allows the given community to proceed with a prospective vision and advancement for the elimination of the issues of suicide and unemployment.
An integral characteristic of modern society is industrialization and mass employment. Industrialism is a phenomenon that engulfs the economic, social, political, and cultural spheres of society, and caused dramatic changes in them (Horsford & Sampson 2014). It results in communities acquiring a modern look and characterized by basic features. It includes orientation towards innovation, secular nature of social life, progressive development, democratic system of power and social relations, suicide education, the predominance of the employment, and the increasing role of human the factor. All these components are crucial for determining and identifying the causes of the small town’s problem.
In conclusion, it is critically important to understand the underlying factor and social elements influencing the high number of suicide occurrences in the given town. A thorough analysis should be made to implement a community capacity-building program successfully. Numerous features and properties of social frameworks have a substantial effect on the CCB realization. The action plan approach needs to be applied alongside support groups aiding the vulnerable members of the community. Social justice and empowerment practice skills should be used to demonstrate the opportunities for further development of the town. The modernistic and post-modernistic approach is the most plausible methodological tool to increase the awareness of the issue, which will allow people to realize the possibilities for assistance and psychological support. The unemployment rate can be reduced by expanding the social involvement in the problem due to the presence of sufficient funds.
Abrutyn, S & Mueller, AS 2014, ‘Are suicidal behaviors contagious in adolescence? Using longitudinal data to examine suicide suggestion’, American Sociological Review, vol. 79, no. 2, pp. 211–227.
Horsford, SD & Sampson, C 2014, ‘Promise neighborhoods: the promise and politics of community capacity building as urban school reform’, Urban Education, vol. 49, no. 8, pp. 955–991.
Ife, J 2016, Community development in an uncertain world, 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, London.
Kenny, S & Connors, P 2017, Developing communities for the future, 4th edn, Cengage Learning, South Malbourne, Victoria.
Müller, M & Pihl-Thingvad, S 2019, ‘User involvement in social work innovation: a systematic and narrative review’, Journal of Social Work, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 2-4.
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Thill, S, Houssemand, C & Pignault, A 2018, ‘Unemployment normalization: its effect on mental health during various stages of unemployment’, Psychological Reports, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 3-7.