The field of social work can be divided into three main categories; micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice. All levels of social work employ a holistic approach and are held to the same ethical standards and set of guiding principles. As a profession social work strives to empower the marginalized and oppressed, works for social justice, promotes social change, and opposes discrimination. Each field’s scope of practice is defined by a unique set of theoretical frameworks and skills that guide the day-to-day work of the practitioner.
Community social work falls within the scope of mezzo-level practice, pulling from community development, community organizing, adult and popular education, social capital, and traditional community practices. Fundamental to the community social work field are the notions of building cooperative and connected relationships, using creative means to move social change forward, and promoting participation of diverse groups to come together to identify solutions to their own problems. In these ways community social work assists the community in using its own resources to solve problems, address broader social issues, and enhance well-being.