HCS518 Social Work Fields of Practice 1 (8)

The subject traces the evolution of the practice of social welfare and social work, and the profession. It provides a critical orientation to a range of fields of practice and population groups in our society, highlighting practice dilemmas. It grounds Australian and International Social work practice in the context of social, political, economic, historical and environmental considerations.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: HCS518. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of practice in the social services and the historical development of social service practice and the social work profession
  • be able to demonstrate knowledge of the range of vulnerabilities and contexts of practice and have an appreciation of the impacts of privilege (Pease 2010) or positionality (Takas 2002)
  • be able to understand, participate and theorise on social work fields of practice in ways that reflect the contested nature of social services
  • be able to identify , draw upon and extend relevant foundation knowledge from other disciplines that inform professional practice in social work
  • be able to engage in and make a contribution to developing current debates surrounding professional intervention in a variety of contexts
  • be able to identify and discuss ethical and practice issues and dilemmas that arise in specific fields of practice
  • discern and utilise research and, where appropriate, develop practice-based research that extends the knowledge base of the social work discipline


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to practice
  • Social service practice and the social work profession
  • Contested aspects of practice - values, methods and models
  • Practitioner autonomy in the organisational context of practice
  • Context of practice, including:
  • Health
  • Income security and employment
  • Criminal justice and corrections
  • International social work
  • Children and families
  • Gender, Sexuality and Power
  • Ageing
  • Young people
  • Disability
  • People in rural areas

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of HCS518 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Assessment item 1 assignment 1
Assessment item 2

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.