EPAS Competencies in Diversity and Justice

CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) in Diversity and Justice

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 EPAS 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—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.

Disability EPAS Curricular Resource

This Curricular Resource on Issues of Disability and Disability-Competent Care provides a foundation for integrating disability content into social work courses. The resource has two objectives. The first is to outline how content on disability aligns with specific values and competencies of social work education as defined by CSWE’s 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The second is to provide specific classroom resources for social work educators. The guide incorporates the framework of the disability-competent care (DCC) model, a person-centered care approach. The DCC model is based on three core values: the individual needs of the participant, respect for the participant’s choices, and the elimination of medical and institutional bias. Educators can draw from the various teaching resources provided here to fit their teaching objectives. Learn more about this resource here.