Social workers help people manage social, financial, and health problems.
Social workers work in a variety of settings, including:
Social workers talk to new clients in order to identify their problems, concerns, and needs. They also collect other information, such as employment or medical records. They arrange medical or psychiatric tests for some clients.
After gathering information, social workers create plans for helping clients. They monitor clients' progress towards solving their problems and revise plans as needed. They provide information to clients about how to apply for assistance, funds, and services.
Medical and psychiatric social workers
Medical and psychiatric social workers in hospitals coordinate plans for the care and rehabilitation of patients. They help ill patients and their families locate the help they will need when they leave the hospital. They lead support groups to help families and patients deal with illnesses such as AIDS or cancer. They manage substance abuse and mental health programs.
Child social workers
Child welfare social workers work to ensure the safety and health of children. They make sure low-income children and pregnant mothers receive enough food. They investigate reports of child abuse. Sometimes they place children in foster care. They evaluate the quality of foster and adoptive homes.
Clinical social workers
Clinical social workers provide counseling. They work for public agencies and clinics and in private practice. They lead support groups or counseling sessions to provide support for problems such as depression, drug dependency, and stress.
Some social workers provide help to older people and their families. Social workers not only help them get the services they need, but also help families and individuals adjust to changes in their lives.
Social workers in schools identify students' problems and work to find help for them. Problems may include misbehavior in class, too many absences, or teen pregnancy. They confer with teachers, parents, and other counselors to determine the causes of problems.
Social workers work closely with other health care and social service providers. They supervise social and human service assistants. They keep detailed records of test results, conversations with clients, and treatment plans. They prepare reports for schools, courts, and other agencies.