One of the most persistent issues in social welfare planning has been the relative roles of service provision and social change. They have often been conceived as dichotomous: the assumption is that one precludes the other, on both ideological and methodological grounds. However, this division may be more the product of turf wars and fuzzy thinking than any necessary dichotomy. In this article a rationale for viewing service delivery and social change as dimensions of a single process --empowerment -- is developed. Next the needs assessment is examined as a vehicle for implementing the process of empowerment. Finally, a case study of this use of needs assessment is presented and analyzed.

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