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 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
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
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.