Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Social service -- Oregon -- Portland, Interpersonal relations



Physical Description

1 online resource (57 pages)


One aspect of reality that professional social workers are experiencing in the course of performing social work is what the authors will refer to as natural service delivery systems. We use this particular term for clarity, yet there are questions that still remain. Are there, in fact, measurable phenomena that we can call natural service delivery systems? If these systems exist, what kind of services do they deliver or what types of services do they imply? If these services do exist and if we recognize them, what are the implications for professional social workers? How does our knowledge base allow for us to intervene in these systems with minimal danger of destroying or changing their character and still use them as resources? These questions arose after both authors had worked within communities where, because, of the nature and composition of the populations, it was apparent that natural services were being provided by one neighbor to another or by one friend to another. It was difficult to explain those services in relation to our own roles as social workers. Often it seemed as if there was in existence a procedure that we did not understand in terms of a worker-client relationship. It is from this history of interest and with these questions in mind that we began our research into the area of natural service delivery systems.


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A research report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work, Portland State University.

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