Professional roles of social case worker


Some of the many professional roles in Social Work are


The social worker is involved in the process of making referrals to link a family or person to needed resources. Social work professionals do not simply provide information. They also follow up to be sure the needed resources are attained. This requires knowing resources, eligibility requirements, fees, and the location of services.


In this role, social workers fight for the rights of others and work to obtain needed resources by convincing others of the legitimate needs and rights of members of society. Social workers are particularly concerned for those who are vulnerable or are unable to speak up for themselves. Advocacy can occur on the local, county, state or national level. Some social workers are involved in international human rights and advocacy for those in need.

Case Manager

Case managers are involved in locating services and assisting their clients to access those services. Case management is especially important for complex situations and for those who are homeless or elderly, have chronic physical or mental health issues, are disabled, victims of domestic or other violent crimes, or are vulnerable children.


Social Workers are often involved in teaching people about resources and how to develop particular skills such as budgeting, the caring discipline of children, effective communication, the meaning of a medical diagnosis, and the prevention of violence.


In this role, social workers are involved in gathering groups of people together for a variety of purposes including community development, self-advocacy, political organization, and policy change. Social workers are involved as group therapists and task group leaders.


Social Workers are involved in many levels of community organization and action including economic development, union organization, and research and policy specialists.


Social Workers, because of their expertise in a wide variety of applications are well suited to work as managers and supervisors in almost any setting. As managers, they are better able to influence policy change and/or development, and to advocate, on a larger scale, for all underprivileged people.

Caseworkers must be prepared for anything in their role of the lead investigator, client advocate and coordinator of recommended social work services. Working in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, residential centers and health care facilities, caseworker duties include client outreach, support, referrals and follow-up. Although caseworker job descriptions vary according to the setting, the role and responsibilities of the caseworker entails helping people in difficult situations achieve their goals for a better life.

Conduct Intakes and Assessments

Caseworkers respond when clients request services or a the report is made that an individual or family may be struggling. Communication skills are essential in making a connection, establishing rapport, and building trust. As part of an initial interview, social history is taken to help the caseworker understand the challenges facing the client and the complexity of the issues identified. Needs and goals are discussed. Brief motivational interviewing may be used to guide the client through resolving ambivalent feelings about making lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on drinking alcohol

Coordinate Care and Services

Based on their assessment of client' needs, resiliency, motivation and strengths, the caseworker develops a case plan identifying the action steps needed to bring about the desired changes. Timelines are discussed and written into the plan. Information is provided on community programs and referrals are made to services that will benefit the client. For instance, the caseworker may facilitate a referral to a parenting support group, mental house counseling, food shelf, transitional housing, low income medical clinic or job services. If the caseworker is involved because children in the home are deemed to be at risk, the caseworker closely monitors progress being made toward goal completion.

Write Case Notes and Reports

Caseworkers must continually update their case notes to keep track of their heavy caseload. Records are kept of calls placed and received, referrals offered or refused, and programs completed by the client. Caseworker duties further entail assessing and revising case management plans as client needs change. Social work agencies may also require caseworkers to submit periodic reports documenting clients served and achieved outcomes. In certain situations, caseworkers may need their notes when testifying in court. For example, a case manager may be asked to state under oath whether a parent of a child in foster care is complying with substance abuse treatment ordered as a condition of the reunification of the family.



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