Methods: The study utilized a qualitative‐constructivist perspective, which seeks to capture the essence of a phenomenon through a close examination of people's individual perceptions and experiences in light of the broader social‐political relations in which they are enmeshed. The sample included 30 social workers who work with at-risk young adult between the ages 18-26 in the public social services in Israel. Practicing micro and macro interventions was considered a core component of their job description. Data were collected through in-depth interview with participants. Informed by an inductive approach to data analysis, all data were coded thematically with the aid of Nvivo.
Results: Findings indicate that social workers strongly support the integration between micro and macro practice and share a profound understanding of its importance in promoting their clients’ interests. However, findings show that social workers are confronted with four distinct challenges while trying to engage in multilevel practice: (a) limited knowledge and skills which are required to carry out both interventions; (b) limited hours of work and high workload, which lead to lack of time to invest in both practices in a balanced manner; (c) limited or lack of supportive services resources within the social welfare system; and (d) the highly political nature of interventions at the macro level, which deters social workers from engaging in such interventions.
Conclusion and Implications: Findings suggest that one cannot simply call for the integration of these two practices or view it as another task that social workers need to add to their burdensome basket of tasks, without recognizing and addressing the challenges that the already exhausted and overworked social workers face in the public services today. Findings indicate a need to enhance students and practitioners’ capacity to integrate macro and micro interventions. At the policy level, findings emphasize the importance of an adequate and comprehensive social welfare system which provides crucial services that cannot be substituted by the service provided by individual caseworkers.