CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards in Diversity and Justice (EPAS 2015)
Social work competence is the ability to integrate and apply social work knowledge, values, and skills to practice situations in a purposeful, intentional, and professional manner to promote human and community well-being. Two competencies explicitly address aspects of well-being related to diversity and social and economic justice:
  • Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice: apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels; engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences; and manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.
  • Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice: advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.
Competence in these two areas requires expression across all social work competencies. Social injustice – take for example, the mass incarceration of people of color – is rooted in unjust policies and societal structures that result in inequality. But it manifests itself in multiple aspects of life (there are pipelines, domino effects, cycles) and needs to be addressed on multiple fronts. Consequently, work to advance social justice and diversity calls for competent professional practice in ethical behavior, research, policy, engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation across the spectrum: with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities – and the broader society. Taken together these practice behaviors “inform the overall goal of undoing disparities and promoting justice.” Thus content on diversity and social and economic justice needs to be applied in practical curriculum materials across all competency areas.