Merging micro and macro practice: The point of view of social workers working with at-risk young adults

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In recent years, partly in response to significant changes in the economic and political environment in which social workers operate, scholars have called for the integration of micro and macro practice in social work settings. Yet, little attention has been given to how social workers construct their practice to integrate these two types of interventions. This qualitative exploratory study examines the perceptions and experiences of frontline social workers who are expected to carry out micro and macro practice in their daily work. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 30 social workers who work with at-risk young adults in Israel, findings show that social workers support the integration between micro and macro practice and share a profound understanding of its importance in promoting their clients’ interests. However, findings show that social workers are confronted with various challenges and barriers while trying to engage in multilevel practice. Specifically, four types of challenges arose: (a) unequal or limited skills and knowledge associated with both practices; (b) limited hours of work and high workload; (c) incongruity between available supportive services and organizational expectations; and (d) the highly political nature of interventions at the macro level. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106174
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Macro practice
  • Micro practice
  • Social workers, At-risk young adults
  • Welfare services

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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