Community Intervention Models: Problems, Strengths and Future Applications



Community Intervention Models: Problems, Strengths and Future Applications

Many community intervention models are mentioned in the literature, and three key approaches are referenced (Rothman, Erlich & Tropman, 2001). Let’s look at a brief description of these approaches. The first, locality development, stresses the involvement of a wide range of participation among community members addressing issues of central concern to them. Social solidarity is a strong requirement for success in this approach (Homan, 2004; Rothman et al., 2008). The second approach comes from social planning and policy and stresses the use of experts and educated professionals solving the community’s problems-often from a distance. This approach is empirical and data driven (Homan, 2004; Rothman et al., 2008). The third type of model comes from social action approaches which frequently emphasize the differences between the advantaged and disadvantaged within a community. This approach applies pressure on the advantaged group to leverage social change (Hoeffer &Chigbu, 2015).


While these three models are not exhaustive, (Rothmanm 1996) this has been somewhat of a useful lens from which to conceptualize and develop and evaluate community change efforts. Each model has been utilized to some degree to help create and measure community change, has mobilized community members and has provided useful ways for people to address systemic problems.

Associated Problems

In today’s rapidly moving and complex social environment not all of the three models produce positive community change.  In fact, they are likely outdated ( Boehm & Cnaan 2012). To meet the challenges of today’s societal demands, scholars and community practitioners have called for a hybrid approach due to the problems inherent in each modality. For example the locality approach emphasizes helping people help themselves, but this approach is often to blind to the larger factors of national, state or local government which often overshadows the ability of the localized population to mobilize for themselves see themselves as relevant actors (Carlton-LaNey, &Burwell, 1995). The social planning approach is criticized for being overly, rigorous, rational, and technical. In communities where the populace has less educational opportunities data driven strategies may leave people behind. Finally, one of the problems associated with the social action approach is that is highly militarized (Hoefer &Chigbu). The use of confrontational tactics and pitting one group against another usually requires the use of a third-party to resolve the inherent conflicts.

Newer Approaches

The literature suggests newer models have been developed in recent years including the community advocacy model, community engagement and feminist models, as well as a number of others (Boehm & Cnaan, 2012). While all these models have relevance and are more useful, than previous ones, they are primarily rooted in the classical models so many of the original limitations exist. One of the main criticisms is the overall lack of community involvement from the beginning stages. Newer approaches will need to include community members and community practitioners’ perspectives from conceptualization, implementation through evaluation. This empowers participants to share and build strengths as active initiators based on their perspectives on what needs to change, how it will change and when change will take place (Hoefer & Chigbu).

A new conceptual approach to community intervention is called the MAP-  Motivation and Persuasion Process, which is a hybrid configuration that addresses most of the gaps in the 3 classic models .(Hoefer & Chigbu). A major criticism of all three classic models is the lack of community involvement of its members in decision-making (Boehm & Cnaan, 2012). Bundled in a theoretical framework of empowerment, the MAP brings together persuasive psychology, motivational counseling, and principled negotiation to integrate community involvement as central to the model.  A number of studies indicate these approaches have been successful in working with communities, institutions and individuals (Cialdini , R.,2009; O’Donohue & Beitz, 2007; Pliois, 2007).  The MAP helps community members develop skill in self- negotiation with institutions and is built on principles which are central to social work:  self-determination and community empowerment (Goldworthy, 2007). Community members work alongside community practitioners and policy makers to learn a variety of skills leading to positive outcomes including use of authority, maintenance of consistency, demonstration of commitment, maintenance of objectivity, tactful response to resistance, display of empathy, and pursuit of self efficacy. These components comprise a model of community change by empowering community members to collectively come together with a skill set that can lead to successful outcomes (Hoefer and Chigbu).

macrosw 6-1-17 community models


Hopefully as macro social workers assume more central roles in public policy, urban planning and municipal government, social work values will support more community planned change models.   We must continue to advocate for centralized, normative opportunities for collaboration between community members, community practitioners and strength based problem solvers to work equitably in solving community problems.

Questions for tonight’s chat:

1 .What are the macro (social and community) challenges receiving most attention in your community today and why?

  1. In addition to the MAP what community intervention models do you think are more relevant to today and why?
  2. How do you see macro social work values operating in your community’s approach to solving problems and identifying strengths?
  3. What is the level of engagement between community members and community practitioners in addressing your community’s challenges?

If time permits-

  1. How visible are macro social workers and allied professionals in city planning, municipal and county government in your community?
  2. What is social work’s role today in helping our communities develop new models of community intervention?



Boehn, A. & Chnaan, R.  (2012). Towards a practice-based model  for community intervention. Linking So theory and practice. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 39, 141-168.

Carlton-Laney, I.,  & Burwell, N. (1995). African American  community practice models:  Historical and contemporary responses. Journal of Community Practice, 4(2),1-6.

Cialdini, R. (2009). Influence: Science and Practice (5th ed.). New :York NY; Pearson.

Hoefer , R. & Chigbu, K.2015) The motivation and persuasion process (MAP):  Proposing a practice model for community intervention

Goldsworthy, J. (2002). Resurrecting a model of integrating  individual work with  community development and social action. Community Development Journal, 37, 327-337.

Homan,M. (2004). Promoting community change: Making it happen in the real world. Belmont,CA: Brooks/Cole

Pliois, E. (2007).Competency in generalist practice: A guide to theory and evidence based decision making. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Rothman, J. ,Erlich, J., & Tropman, J., (2001 strategies of community intervention. (6th ed.).  Itasca, IL: F,E.Peacock.



#MacroSW Twitter Chat 4-27-2017 Resistance Strategies for the Long Haul


We have collectively survived the first 100 days of a new presidential administration. We have protested, demanded town hall meetings, written letters,  organized petitions thorough social media, increased and decreased time on our smartphones and have found creative ways to commiserate with and inspire one another. We have developed new curricula, increased our advocacy and watched- sometimes in disbelief at the ever unfolding political and social chain of events.

The good news is that we can make change, start or stop a movement and it doesn’t take a lot of people to do so.

We are addressing the issue of self care periodically in #MacroSW, not only because it’s a timely topic but a necessary one. How do we sustain ourselves, but also how do we sustain movements of resistance? In order to resist oppression, injustice, inequality,In order to continue our work and to make it sustainable, however, we must be strategic about what we are doing, who we ally ourselves with and and how we organize. We need synergy and sustainability.

Here are the questions to ponder for this week’s chat:

What are the greatest challenges ahead?

Name a self care tactic, and a greater resistance tactic that works for you.

Is social work leading movements of resistance? Why or why not?s

What are your practice priorities in terms of sustainable resistance?

Bring your ideas and actions to the chat, as well as resources you find valuable to share.

Perhaps the following articles will inspire a shift in mind or action:

#MacroSW 3-9-2017 Documentary Movie Night “13th” Topic: Mass Incarceration

Update: Chat archive now available!

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime, whereof the party shall  have been duly convicted, shall exist  within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Section 1; Ratified 1865.

We live at a crucial time in the United States characterized by a rapidly changing social, informational, global and political climate.  Social workers and allies in other professions are poised to assume leadership in variety of pressing issues with implications for social change. One such issue is that of mass incarceration.  The documentary 13th by filmmaker Ava Duvernay raises a host of issues on the subject and ties this country’s historical position of institutionalizing racial and economic inequality to present day systems of oppression. Mass incarceration has had severe repercussions for many of our country’s most vulnerable groups.

Presently, on any given day in the United States, over 700,000 people are in jail, the portal of entry to the prison system. In addition, the families, children and communities of those incarcerated also experience wide-reaching effects. In essence, we all pay a price for this loss.

The film 13th, traces incarceration in the United States from the abolition of slavery and the ratification of the 13th amendment in 1865 to how the loophole in the amendment  has been  been exploited for financial gain through today’s prison industrial complex. Currently, in the United States a widening network of for- profit prisons and detention centers has flourished.  According to the writer and director of 13th, Ava Duvernay, the film was created so viewers would have a “revolution within” regarding our thoughts about mass incarceration in this country and to serve as a catalyst for new thinking about how we approach this issue from now on. ” ’13th’ is coming out at a time where it might provide some foundational knowledge for folks as we really make demands of our candidates to go beyond Twitter beefs and get into the real issues that affect our everyday lives,” she said. With incarcerations having increased 5 fold since 1940, this is certainly time for both renewed and ongoing conversations.

Join us March 9, 2017 at 9pm EST for our MacroSW Movie night on Mass Incarceration.  Alongside #MacroSW chat partner and host Sunya Folayan, our guest hosts for this timely discussion are:

Becky Anthony, Ph. D; MSW Online Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Social Work at Salisbury University, Salisbury, Md.

Jennifer Jewell, Ph. D; Director of BSW program and Coordinator of Dual Degree program at Salisbury University, Salisbury, Md.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What role do social workers play in reducing mass incarceration?
  2. What do you think are some of the factors that allowed this system of racial control to evolve?
  3. What was the Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994? What were aspects of the bill that contributed to the rise in mass incarceration?
  4. How does the media influence our viewpoints of people who are currently in prison, specifically men of color?
  5. “13th” highlights the policies that have helped create the devastating mass incarceration problem. What current policies are proposed and how could they affect the current and future prison system in our country?
  6. What further thoughts do you wish to express about social work’s role in addressing mass incarceration?

Additional Resources:

Smart Decarceration Initiative (website): The homepage of the Smart Decarceration Initiative [hyperlink:]

Social Work and Criminal Justice (website): A website created by the SDI co-founders that promotes social work research and teaching in the area of criminal justice: [hyperlink: ]

Formerly incarcerated individuals are a crucial element in building a decarceration movement [hyperlink:

Mass incarceration: How the U.S. Prison System Creates a Cycle of Poverty:

About #MacroSW:

We are a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis.  Learn more here:

Community Building/Self Care for Social Workers in Today’s Complex Times



(The archive of this chat can be found here.)


Many are drawn to the profession of social work because they want to help others, contribute to problems at every level of human interaction, and create lasting societal  change. Newly minted professionals and seasoned veterans in all practice settings give great time, service and energy  in commitment to the betterment of our society. Most social workers routinely encourage clients to set interpersonal boundaries,  tend to their needs and pay attention to the consequences of not doing so.  Unfortunately, in our zeal to do our work well, we may find ourselves caring for others while neglecting care for ourselves. The cost of self-neglect can present as ongoing, relentless stress, that can siphon away one’s overall health and well-being,  show up as compassion fatigue and even result in burn out so severe that we may find ourselves walking away from the field of work we love. Today’s clients present with multi-layered problems requiring skilled navigation through social systems that are often obsolete and ineffective. Social workers are often asked to do more with less. The results can be disastrous with personal and professional consequences.

The social work community has begun to come together to identify the obstacles to self care, assess the high cost of neglect, and has begun to develop a culture of self care, that was not present in years past. Increasingly, as a profession, the need for self-care is being recognized as necessary and  a fundamental professional competency worthy of training, research and resource development.

Questions for discussion:

  • How do you define self-care?
  • How can we develop a strong community of support in creating addressing self care in our work?
  • What personal tips can you share for self care this season?
  • What are the obstacles to self care in light of today’s professional challenges
  • in social work?
  • What are the consequences of putting our client’s (and agency’s) needs above our own?
  • What resources do you use in creating a self-care plan?
  • How do you discuss self care with your students?
  • What have you incorporated into your self care that you have added since last year?

About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out:















Open Mic/Summer Self-Care Forum 7-28-2016


Once again, we reach that time of year when  #MacroSW chat will take a moment to have an open mic session as friends, colleagues and students to talk about what’s most important in our profession as social workers and allied colleagues. The topic? Whatever we please! While we are at it, let’s all share best self-care practices that have been helpful for the summer season and during this tumultuous season of change. Share what you have tucked away in your beach bag, favorite summer comfort foods, music selections, best summer beverage selections, as well as “staycation”, sabbatical and or travel plans. Bring your best memes and gifs suitable for the occasion.

MacroSW will break for the month of August resuming  Thursday, September, 8, 2016.


#MacroSW 5-19-2016 Academic-Community Partnerships: Barriers to and Strategies For Success


Academic-Community Collaborations: Barriers to and Strategies for Success

(see the Storify account of this #MacroSW chat here.)

Host:  Sunya Folayan

The roots of social work are grounded in Mary Richmond and Jane Addam’s tireless efforts to assess the needs of underserved populations in the community, to develop standards for the profession and to ensure that future practitioners are trained to carry on specifics of the practice. The foundational core of social work education is the collaboration between community- based organizations which provide field instruction for newly minted social workers and academic programs that offer students the opportunity to develop core skills, knowledge, and theoretical underpinnings for the work ahead.  Macro social work centers on the exploration of large scale social problems, and the development and implementation of social interventions that aim to create effective positive social change at the community, state and national levels.  Macro practice includes application in social work research, program development for communities large and small, community based education, advocacy and policy analysis, organizational development as well as non-profit leadership and administration.  Macro social workers typically collaborate in an interdisciplinary fashion within larger research teams, as advocates, activists educators and analysts.

In recent years there has been increasing recognition that academic and community-based collaboration is beneficial for enhancing the provision of human services and resources. These collaborative relationships, however, are sometimes characterized  in less than desirable terms as each entity strives to meet  its own mission requirements. At times the relationship struggles as it matures into a mutually valued, mutually rewarding entity.  On Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 9:00pm EST (6pm PST) our #macroSW twitter chat will discuss the importance of collaborations between academics and the community. We will discuss the barriers as well as the benefits to successful  collaboration.


Join in as we discuss the following questions for discussion:

  1. How do you define collaboration/or partnership? Are they the same?
  2. Why is collaboration important?
  3. What are some of the benefits of collaboration specific to academia? Organizations? Communities?
  4. What are barriers to collaboration?
  5. What principles/strategies foster successful academic- community collaboration?
  6. Share current examples of successful of academic-community collaborations and what makes them so?

Further reading:

Begun, A., Berger, L.K., Otto-Salaj, L.L., & Rose, S. (2010) Devel oping effective social work university-community research collaborations. Social Work 55(1), 54-62. National Association of Social Workers.

Giffords,  E.D, & Calderon, O. (2015).  Academic and community collaborations: An exploration of benefits, barriers and successes.  Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership and Governance, 39: 397-405,Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.  Doi: 10.1080/23303131.2015.1034907

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health



About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out:


#MacroSW 1-14-2016 Social Work Grand Challenge: Financial Capability and Asset Building for All

Chat archive now available!

This week’s #MacroSW Twitter chat, 1-14-2016 9pm EST, is our first chat discussion on The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative- a series of working papers brought forth by social work practitioners, scientists and scholars under the umbrella of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW). This chat, hosted by macro practitioner, Sunya Folayan, will address the Grand Challenge: Financial Capability and Asset Building for All. One aspect of this Grand Challenge asks social work educators, researchers, practitioners and students to be financially literate in order to promote social and economic justice in society; and to infuse financial literacy into practice, research and teaching.

The Grand Challenges for Social Work are described as ambitious but achievable goals for society that mobilize our profession, capture the imagination of the public and require innovation and breakthroughs in science and practice to achieve. The AASWSW invites social work practitioners, scientists and scholars to participate broadly in discussion and problem solving dialogue. This Grand Challenge chat @#MacroSW will engage members of our profession in bringing our brightest ideas, creative collaboration, and innovation to the fore.

Our weekly generated resource bank will add to the body of knowledge created in addressing social work’s grand challenges. Social Workers have been powerful societal change agents for over a century- moving the nation through periods of stress, and unrest that characterize periods of social change and industrialization. Today’s global 21st century landscape brings with it more complex and interrelated problems which will require higher levels of problem solving. Today’s social work professional must play a more central, collaborative and innovative role in our ever changing world. If there ever was a need for the social work profession-that time is now!

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST).


For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out:

Assessment and Evaluation of SW Macro Practice Skills: Practice Wisdom From the Field #MacroSW Twitter Chat 9-24-2015 at 9pm EST

Source (some rights reserved)

Update: Chat archive now available!

Join in on this week’s #MacroSW Twitter chat as Rachel West and Sunya Folayan co-host this chat hosted at the beginning of the academic year as new learning agreements are developed in schools of social work around the country.

Today’s increasingly evidence- based climate reflects a shift in social work education that is driven by many complex sociopolitical factors affecting the profession. Field education for Macro practice competencies are defined as complex behaviors that reflect student’s integration and analysis of knowledge, values and practice skills (CSWE). Scholarly literature in social work has focused mostly on clinical (micro) practice among most professions including social work (Reheher, Bogo, Donovan, Anstice, & Lim, 2012). Fewer articles address the competencies necessary for community organization, advocacy, legislative and management practice: the historical underpinnings of social work. (Netting, Kettner, & McMurtry, 2008). While the Network for Social Work Managers has developed a core set of competencies for Social Work managers (Wimpheimer, 2004), some evidence suggests these competencies are not uniformly taught in MSW programs. As macro practitioners and field instructors, It is important to articulate a set of advanced competencies, implement them into MSW curricula, and design ways to measure how students are increasing in their understanding and development of these competencies throughout their educational process (Regher, et al.).


  1. What are the meta competencies?
  2. What are the procedural competencies?
  3. How are macro instructors and field educators assess student learning?
  4. What competencies are critical to micro, mezzo and macro practice?
  5. How important is leadership skill development in macro practice field education?
  6. How do field and classroom instructors prepare students to address ethical dilemmas unique to community practice?
  7. How closely aligned are social work student’s learning agreements with macro practice skill development and evaluation?


  • Harding, D.( 2004). Guidelines for ethical practice in community organization. Social Work, 49(4), 595-604.
  • Hassan, A., Waldman W., & Wimpfheimer, S. (2013). Human Services Management Competencies: A Guide for Non-profit and For Profit Agencies, Foundations and Academic Institutions. Retrieved from
  • Holosko, M., Thyer, B., & Danner, J. (2009). Ethical guidelines for designing and conducting evaluations of social work practice. Journal of Evidence-based Social Work, 6(4), 348-360.
  • Netting, F., Kettner, P., McMurtry, S., (2008). Social work macro practice. (4th ed). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Regher, C., Bogo, M., Donovan, K., Lim, A., Regher, G. (2012). Evaluating a scale to measure student competencies in macro social work practice. Journal of Social Services Research, 38(1), 100-109.
  • Regehr, C., Bogo, M., Donovan, K., Lim, A., & Anstice, S. (2012). Identifying student competencies in macro practice: Articulating the practice wisdom of field instructors. Journal of Social Work Education, 48(2), 307-319.
  • Wimpfheimer, S. (2004). Leadership and management competencies defined by practicing social work managers. Administration in Social Work, 28(1), 45-56.

About us:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held bimonthly on Twitter on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). For more information, chat schedule, and chat archives check out: Our collaborators include:

  • Association for Community Organizing and Social Administration (ACOSA), @acosaorg
  • Karen Zgoda, MSW, LCSW, Instructor of Social Work at Bridgewater State University, @karenzgoda
  • Rachel West, The Political Social Worker, @poliSW
  • University at Buffalo School of Social Work, @ubssw
  • Sunya Folayan, MSW, ACSW, founder/executive director, The Empowerment Project, Inc., @SunyaFolayan
  • Laurel Hitchcock, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham,@Laurelhitchcock
  • Kristin Battista-Frazee, MSW, Author and Marketing Consultant, @porndaughter

We wish to acknowledge the contribution of our founding members, the University of Southern California School of Social Work and Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), who were participants during our first year of chats.

Special Offer for participants of #MacroSW chat 6/11/2015 on Financial Social Work

Thank you for participating on the #MacroSW chat 6/11/2015 on” Financial Social Work as an Emergent Macro Practice Discipline”. #Macrochat collaborator Sunya Folayan interviewed her friend and mentor, Reeta Wolfsohn, the founder of the Financial Social Work discipline. The discussion was timely and informative.

Click on the link below to participate in an empowering event that will assist you in your path to financial well being. The offer is limited so register today!

The next #MacroSW Twitter chat will take place 6/25/2015. Chat collaborator Pat Shelley will host a discussion on IMPLICIT BIAS.