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Strengths and Opportunities in Social Work Profession

The 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan for 2007–2011 declares continuity from the eighth and ninth plans focusing on the 'human as the center of development' and His Majesty the King's Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. The interpretation and implications of these two significant concepts are much more in-depth and practical, which reflects how the tenth plan is likely to cover social development to a greater extent than former plans. This would be a great opportunity for social workers to revise, review, and rethink generating a more advanced movement towards professional development. The 1st Five Years Strategic Plan of Thai Social Welfare for 2007–2011 parallels the 10th National Plan. The Strategic Plan was drafted by the National Commission on Social Welfare Promotion and, if properly set up, should also encourage the professional development of social work.

Social work scholars and practitioners also are enthusiastic about raising the standard of social work practice to the higher levels of profession. In addition, they are aware of the important role of volunteers in social welfare as they proactively strengthen community welfare, which has great potential in the areas of social and human capital.

Last but not least, the schools of social work in Thailand have adjusted their education programs frequently with the intention of developing social work education proactively. Collaboration between educators and practitioners is wellestablished and this will have a positive effect on the social work profession in Thailand.

Conclusion

Social work and social welfare development in Thailand share the same path. The movement from mainstream residualism towards welfare pluralism is the current trend. There are many ways to interpret social work values in Thailand as a result of Thai social structure, which is uniquely hierarchical in nature and has significantly influenced both the traditional and narrower meanings of 'social work' in the Thai language.

At the same time, the genuine and broader meanings of social work are addressed among scholars and professional social workers. There are many ways to interpret social work values in Thailand. The positive trend of the social work profession is evidenced by (1) increasing laws related to strengthening social work practices, (2) the government trend towards universal social welfare by 2017, and (3) attempts to promote the social work licence law among professional organizations and social work schools.

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