Social Workers Aren’t Just for Children

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When many people think of social workers, they think of the people who help children who are stuck in bad family situations.

What many people don’t stop to consider is that social workers do this and so much more. To help you better understand the various hats that social workers wear, here are five ways that these professionals help the community:

1.Locating Assistance

In today’s economy, thousands of people are out of work and looking for assistance. Social workers are employed by different community agencies and can guide people to the appropriate providers. Social workers can help people find job training, daycare providers and assistance in keeping their utilities connected. People may also find help in securing low-income housing and qualifying for food assistance programs by visiting a social worker.

2.Drug and Alcohol Counseling

For people who are struggling with alcohol or drug addictions, social workers can be a beacon of hope. Social workers may lead counseling groups or be able to help those struggling find rehabilitation programs. These professionals can also help with whole family counseling, assisting those people close to the addict who are negatively affected by the person’s addiction.

3.Assistance with Health Care

When people are faced with medical emergencies affecting a loved one, they are often too overwhelmed to know what steps need to be taken. A social worker can help families locate temporary housing, counsel people on the availability of long-term care and, though it’s not pleasant to think about, assist families in making final arrangements in the event of the death of a loved one. Social workers provide similar services in nursing home settings, helping families locate resources available for the care of the elderly.

4.School Districts

Almost every school district employs at least one social worker. These people help counsel students, facilitate communication between parents and educators, and help to assess the needs of low-income students and their families. Social workers employed by school districts often assist in the development of IEPs, or individualized education plans, for special needs students. School social workers may also find themselves being the initial investigator when allegations of parental, teacher or administrative abuse against a student are made.

5.Teaching

While every college and university has its own requirements regarding professors and adjunct staff, if a social worker holds at least a bachelor’s degree, he or she may be able to teach at the university level. People employed as social workers may find enjoyment in sharing their knowledge with students who want to enter the field. Teaching can be done as a sole career or in conjunction with a full-time job. Social workers may also find opportunities to tutor students who are pursuing their degree in the field or to act as guest speakers in a classroom.

While social workers do help children, they also do so much more. Social workers are involved in virtually every aspect of the community in which they work. If you are interested in touching people’s lives and helping them when they need it the most, pursuing a degree in social work may be the perfect choice.

Discover reliable and highly accessible information about effective services and treatment approaches across the full spectrum of social work practice with Social Workers’ Desk Reference by Albert R. Roberts.

She writes for education blogs nationwide. There are several schools that offer degrees in social work, including University of New England and Boston University.
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