WHO ARE SOCIAL WORKERS?
Social Workers are usually employed in intervention programmes, hospitals, community health centers, mental health clinics, schools, advocacy organizations, government departments, immigration service, prison service, social service agencies, child welfare settings, family service agencies, correctional facilities, social housing organizations, family courts, employee assistance programs and private counselling, faith based institutions, school boards, community development and consultation agencies.
Social workers are committed to five basic values:
" The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilizing theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments.
- Human dignity and worth
- Social justice
- Service to humanity
Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. " (Definition of Social Work, adopted by the General Assembly of the International Federation of Social Workers, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 2000.). . . .
SOCIAL WORK ROLE
social work roles are to build partnerships among professionals, caregivers and families; collaborating with the community, usually with the goal of creating supportive environments for clients; advocating for adequate service, treatment models and resources; challenging and changing social policy to address issues of poverty, employment, housing and social justice; and supporting the development of preventive programs. Prevention occurs on many levels and includes a focus on early intervention, individual and public education, advocacy and improving access to services, resources and information. Social Work Practice in Child Welfare
Child welfare is considered a special area of practice within the profession of social work, and the principles and values of the social work profession generally fit with policies that guide modern child welfare organizations.
The major guiding principle is always to act in the best interests of the child. Social workers in child welfare agencies are involved with the planning and delivery of a variety of services for children and families, such as family support, residential care, advocacy, and adoptions and foster care programs, as well as child protection. The social worker's task is to understand a variety of factors related to the child, the family, and the community and to balance the child's safety and well-being with the rights and needs of a family that may be in need of help.
The typical referral to a child welfare agency involves a child who is the victim of neglect, physical or sexual abuse. Social work in child welfare settings is frequently stressful. Caseloads are often large and there are chronic shortages of needed resources, both within the child welfare system itself and in community agencies that support it.
Social Work Practice in Community Development
Community social workers spend much time working with leaders and allies to identify common goals among community members. The social worker becomes a leading organizer to generate a strategic direction in the context of goals identified and defined by the group and that the group works toward. The social worker shares any and all information related to the presenting problem or issue so that stakeholders are better able to participate in formulating solutions. Social workers who practise as community organizers or developers are guided by the ethics and standards of the profession and by principles of sustainable community development. The social workers learn from the people in their communities, enhancing collaboration and partnerships that lead to achieving real social change. Community social work involves understanding the power dynamics and social relations that govern the relationships between various structures and diverse communities and working to achieve social justice through structural change. Social workers who practise from a community development or community organizing perspective attempt to address the systemic issues that create social problems. In many cases, they may also be engaged in the kinds of individual problem-solving practices embodied in many social work positions.
Social Work Practice in Schools
School social work is considered an intricate part of student support Services. School social workers offer consultative support to school teams, intervention with students and families, and liaison with community agencies. The goal of school social workers is to enhance the overall functioning and academic performance of students. School social workers work as a part of school teams in helping students to attain their academic potential.
School social workers provide the following services:
- Consultation with school administrators, teachers, school support staff, and parents
- Individual counselling and support to students
- Family counselling and support to parents
- Group counselling for students
- Parent and school staff education
- Fostering of positive relationships between parents and school
- Referral services to community agencies
- Community development programming
- Collaboration with community programs
- Other services based on the individual needs of the student
School social workers provide services to students who are experiencing difficulties within their environment that have an impact on their ability to function in school. Additional Roles School Social Workers Serve:
- Advocating on behalf of clients, schools, the community, and the social work profession in general
- Publishing materials for parents and professionals
- Offering professional development for educational and community professionals
- Writing, contributing to, and coordinating the publishing of documents for local school systems
- Liaising with government bodies of education and community and social services
- Liaising with international, national, state, and provincial school social work organizations and practitioners.
School social workers offer a unique perspective and knowledge to educators working with children, adolescents, and their families. This can assist educators in offering the most valuable and complete education to all students to facilitate the development of students as healthy, contributing members of society.
Social Work Practice in Primary Health Care. Social work is a diverse profession working in many of the health and social sectors included in a primary health care approach. Across all of these sectors, social work has always maintained a strong "person in environment" approach to working with individuals, families, groups and communities. By working within the framework of the determinants of health, social workers make the necessary links between the physical, social, emotional and economic impacts of health. The social work profession has a history of interdisciplinary collaboration and a commitment to the importance of early intervention, prevention and health promotion. These are all key features of primary health care.
aims to reduce the incidence of disease or dysfunction in a population through modifying stressful environments and strengthening the ability of the individual to cope. Prevention involves the promotion and maintenance of good health through education, attention to adequate standards for basic needs and specific protection against known risks. In mental health settings, preventive activities include public and client education regarding emotional self-care and healthy relationships, building community knowledge and skills, social action, and advocacy for social justice. Treatment: aims to reduce the prevalence (number of existing cases) of a disorder or dysfunction and includes early diagnosis, intervention and treatment. In mental health settings, treatment activities are focused on individuals experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms, emotional trauma, relationship problems, stress, distress or crisis and include assessment, risk management, individual, couple, family and group counselling, intervention or therapy and advocacy. Social work uses relationship as the basis of all interventions.
aims at reducing the after effects of disorder or dysfunction, and involves the provision of services for re-training and rehabilitation to ensure maximum use of remaining capacities by the individual. In mental health settings, rehabilitation activities focus on clients who are disabled by mental illness and may include individual, couple, family, and group interventions to build knowledge and skills, provision of specialized residential, vocational and leisure resources, and advocacy to ensure the development of needed services and to change community attitudes. At the micro and mezzo levels social workers are primarily concerned with "the social well-being of individual clients and their families equally valued with the importance of their physical, mental and spiritual well-being." At the macro level "social workers generally demonstrate a greater capacity to look beyond the illness and treatment issues, to consider the broader human, social and political issues in mental health.
The institute is floating a unique Doctoral fellowship program to encourage those with reasonable wealth of experience in various
social work practices to document their experiences academically and
earn a worthwhile honour as doctoral fellow, and also encourage research and documentation in various fields of social work endeavour.
This is intended to create a library of practical projects, approaches
and results achieved and also challenges and ways forward for future
We therefore encourage social work institutions in the public and
private to utilize the broad opportuniities available either in
particpating in advertised programmes, activities, projects and issues
or inititating customized programmes that benefits the peculiar needs
of their organizations with the help of our rich and ready
professiaonal and academic faculties.