What do Social Workers do?

social workerIn today's constantly changing and high stress society, many people easily get overwhelmed and need assistance and resources to help them live better lives. Social work is an essential discipline that uses research, policy, organization, intervention, education, and direct practice to improve the lives of individuals, groups, and communities.

Individuals interested in working in the field of social work commonly ask, "what does a social worker do?" There are various types of social workers and exact duties depend on specific positions. The two main types include direct-service social workers and licensed clinical social workers. Direct service social workers assist individuals with the challenges in every day life. Licensed clinical social workers provide mental health services to individuals and provide referrals for other services and programs. Both types of social workers have a wide range of duties, such as assisting people in finding and applying for social services, protecting and assisting children, and helping in the health care field.

Social Services Assistance

Many social workers help individuals understand and locate available social services. They provide advice and assist people in locating resources for a higher quality of life. These social workers have direct access to a variety of information, such as housing programs, job counseling programs, job training services, financial assistance programs, and child care options. A lot of social workers also help individuals access drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and mental health counseling. Social workers commonly act as motivators in assisting people become more stable, both financially and emotionally. They often inform clients about eligible programs and help them with the application process.

Child Advocate

In various settings, social workers are employed by organizations that work to protect and help children. These social workers observe children in home and school settings and regularly evaluate those in hard family environments. They provide recommendations for family counseling or take action to remove the children from the setting. In the case where children are removed from their current environment, social workers set up foster care or other temporary housing. Social workers also help reunify families once unsafe conditions have resolved. Social workers working with children commonly provide testimony in court proceedings regarding their observations and the conditions on the living or school environment.

Health Care Assistance

Many social workers are employed by medical facilities and act as a vital member of the health care team of patients. They commonly work directly with patients and families to provide assistance with specific needs. They help families locate temporary housing to stay close to patients and also contact additional resources as needed. These social workers also help patients and family members understand the nature of care and follow up treatment once the patient leaves the medical facility. They also assist families with applying for programs that can help with the care of the patient, such as special insurance or medical equipment rental. These social workers strive to help take some of the pressure off families so they can focus on the patient and his or her care.

Working as a social worker is often a satisfying field and these individuals are in high demand around the country. To get started toward this career, people need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work. Many states also require licensure for certain positions.

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