Problem-solving approaches are characterized by collaborative, highly structured, time-limited, goal-focused approaches to practice. Of all the approaches considered in this book, problem-solving theories yield the most comprehensive models for direct practice. These practice models derived from problem-solving theory define social work purpose and practice strategies at each phase of assessment and intervention. As such, problem-solving frameworks are among the most readily usable by inexperienced social workers, although there is also scope to develop advanced practice within these approaches (Reid, 1977, p. 11). Most commentators, including the critics of problem-solving approaches, acknowledge that these models enable workers to meet the growing demand from funding agencies for cost-effective, accountable services (Kanter, 1983; Epstein and Brown, 2002). However, they remain the subject of debate, despite their use in many fields of social service delivery.
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