Do you ever want a profession that focuses on helping the society? Social work is the profession you may want to be! This profession may be difficult, this is very enjoying and thrilling job! Assist people in coping their struggles in life, guide them to make better decisions, that’s the work of social work! In this blog post, I will share you some of the fundamental information that will guide you to be a good social worker! Enjoy reading
There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life
-Mary Rose Mcgeady
Table of Contents
What is social work?
One of the field studies you can take in social sciences is social work. The primary definition of social work is it is a profession that assists or help individuals, family, group, and community on enhancing their social function and improving their total well being. To be clear, we will define the Social function as the way on how people do the task and their social role in society, it is also referred to the structural institutions that are provided in order to sustain people. In social work profession, practitioners help people in coping and overcoming the most difficult challenges that they face in their lives such as depression, poverty, abuse, discrimination and other similar issues. In addition, the social workers also help in preventing crises and they are serving as counselor to individuals, families, and community to be able for them to cope their stresses more effectively.
Social work definition according to IFSW
According to International Federation of Social Workers, social work is a practice-based profession, that means as you are experiencing to be a social worker and practicing professional standards, as time pass by, you are learning to be an excellent practitioner in this profession. It also is an academic discipline that promoting social change, an alteration in the social order of one society, and promotes social cohesion wherein it enables individual to be closely united with each other. Social work practitioners also help on the empowerment and liberation or freeing of people. This profession has principles that will serve as a guide and center of the work like the principle of collective responsibility, human rights, social justice, and respect for the differences of an individual.
Social work profession is a broad academic zone as it also covers some of the fields in social sciences such as anthropology, criminology, economics, psychology, political sciences, and sociology.
Social work provides a significant service to our society. Most of the time, individuals and families are the main focus of social work, and they are referred to be their clients. As a social worker, our purpose is to assist the clients to be more productive in their life and community. To be able to do this we must provide a support for family members, relatives, local religious leaders and elders and other most leverage members of society.
Social work is a multi-discipline profession and utilizing a group approach. They are willing to give a support to the individuals who require help, particularly the old, youthful, poor, mishandled, abused, debilitated, jobless, the wiped out ones and the destitute. Its approach is to utilize the available resources to solve issues in order to empower the clients to abidingly help themselves.
Brief History of Social Work
Here is the brief history of social work in the United States and in the Philippines.
History of Social Work in the US
1898 – This year, the first social work social work class was offered by Columbia University.
1931 – a Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jane Addams. She was the first women social work pioneer that received this recognition. Establishing the settlement houses for immigrants in Chicago in early 1900s is the best mark she had to do to be generally recognized during her times. Addams was a devoted community organizer and a peace activist.
1933 – Frances Perkins was the first woman social worker to be designated to the cabinet of the US president.
1961 – Whitey M. Young, Jr. a social worker and civil rights trailblazer was become an executive director of the National Urban League and serving as a dean in Atlanta School of Social Work. In late 1960’s he was also served as the president of NASW. He is known for being an expert in American Race Relations and he was acknowledged by Time Magazine as main inspiration of President Johnson for fighting in the poverty.
1998 – Social work profession celebrated its 100 years existence. On this year, many countries across the globe donated their important artifacts to Smithsonian Institution.
Source: Legacies of Social Change: 100 Years of Professional Social Work in the United States available from NASW Press at www.socialworkers.org.
Goals of Social Worker
Since social work is a very distinguished career, it has a lot of goals, but it is not just about helping people in their household. Hepworth (2013) states that there are six main goals in the social work field:
- Help people enlarge their competence and increase their client to view their problem solving and coping abilities. – A practitioner must assist their clients to view the struggles in another perspective or in a positive way, considering various alternative methods on solving it and making plan B’s, and show the value of awareness of strengths and many more.
- Help people obtain needed resources. – Practitioners have a responsibility for linking their clients to many different resources and services.
Make organization responsive to people. – The practitioners must examine the policies and series of actions of the organizations to know if their clients have their access to their needed resources.
Facilitate interactions between individuals and others in their environment. – Social workers must enhance the relationship and interactions of every member of the family, help troubled students, and provide for consumer input into agency policy-making boards.
Influence interactions between organization and institutions. – Social work practitioners are able to participate in medical, educational, mental health, and rehabilitative services provided a given family with multiple resource systems.
Influence social and environmental policy. – They also have the responsibility to work towards improving the quality of individuals life by promoting some social policies that can enhance the client physical and social environment.
Social work Code of Ethics
The NASW created a document stating the rights and code of ethics to make it from a value into a legitimate principle:
- The social worker’s conduct and comportment as a social worker.
- Propriety – being a social worker, the practitioner must act properly and maintain high standards of personal behavior in the capacity or identity as a social worker.
- Competence and Professional Development – social worker must do his/her best to become proficient in professional guidelines and maintain the performance of professional functions.
- Service – The social worker should give attention as primary the service duties or responsibilities of the social work profession.
- Integrity – The social worker must act appropriately with the greatest or high-class standards of professional integrity.
- Scholarship and Research – The social worker whose involved in study and research should be guided by the conventions of scholarship inquiry.
- The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility to clients – A social worker must know the right things to do or his or her ethical responsibility especially in dealing with his or her clients.
- Primacy of Clients Interests – The social worker’s primary obligation is to clients. He or she must prioritize his or her clients.
- Rights and Prerogatives of Clients – The social worker should do his or her best and make every effort to enrich self-determination on the part of the clients.
- Confidentiality and Privacy – The social worker should value the privacy of clients and hold in confidence all information taken in the course of professional service.
- Fees – When setting fees, the social worker must be fair or rational enough, reasonable, considerate, prudent, and proportionate with the service performed and consider the client’s ability to pay for the service
- The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility to Colleagues – social worker must know his or her ethical responsibility when dealing with co-workers or colleagues in order to have better relationships.
- Respect, Fairness, and Courtesy. – The Social worker should treat colleagues better with respect, courtesy, fairness and good faith.
- Dealing with Colleagues Clients – The social worker has the obligation to treat colleagues clients properly and to relate to them with full professional consideration and in accordance with the ethical responsibility to clients.
- The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility to the employer and Employing Organizations – A social worker must act appropriately with respect to his or her employer and employing organization
- Commitments to Employing Organizations – The social worker must be committed and adhere to promissory made to the employing organizations.
- The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility to the Social Work Profession
- Maintaining the integrity of the profession – As a social worker, he or she must not only keep his or her own integrity but as well as the integrity of social work profession. A social worker should uphold and enrich the values, ethics, knowledge, and mission of the profession.
- Community service – The social worker should make sure and help in the availability of social services in the general public
- Development of Knowledge – The social worker has the obligation for identifying, developing, and fully utilizing knowledge for the professional practice.
- The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility to Society
- Promoting the General Welfare – The social worker should advocate the general welfare of the society.
Types of social worker
- Child, Family, School Social workers – In this type of social work, the practitioners are focus on the social and psychological issues of children and families. This type of social workers can be hired on foster care agencies, government programs, and schools.
- Medical social workers – Social workers assist families with their medical issues such as dealing with illnesses and health issues.
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers – This kind of social workers are helping to provide treatment with persons who have issues on the substance abused.
- Military Social Workers – They are the Social workers that deal with the families that have a military life. They are helping the soldiers and soldiers relatives in coping their post-traumatic stresses.
- Community Social Workers – Community social workers make improvement in fettle and should give resources for particular institution or society. A community social worker will often give an attention to the organization of the community, for its innovation, improvement, planning, administration and social action in order to develop a better condition within their communities.
- Social Work Administrators, Researchers, Planners and Policymakers – Social work administrators, researchers, planners, and policymakers belong to another group of social workers. They hold administrative roles and indirectly work with the individuals or groups they are aiming to help.
Areas of Specialty
Information on the Profession of Social Work (Provided by the National Association of Social Workers)
- Addictions Prevention/Treatment
- Adoption & Foster Care
- Advocacy Consulting and Planning
- Alternative School Programs
- Child Abuse & Neglect
- Child Welfare Services
- Chronic Pain
- Criminal Justice
- Crisis Intervention
- Community Mental Health
- Delinquent / at-risk youth
- Development Disabilities Social Work
- Disaster Belief
- Domestic Violence
- Eating Disorders
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Genetics / Transplant.Gerontology Services
- Homeless Family Assistance
- Hospice and Palliative Care
- Housing Assistance
- In-Home Services
- International Social Work
- Law/ Courts/ Enforcement
- Mental Health Therapy
- Military Social Work Outpatient Treatment (Services can be provided in private, faith-based, governmental, nonprofit, or NGO settings)
- Parent Education Community
- Planning & Advocacy
- Political Development
- Private Clinical Practice
- Public Health
- Rural Social Work
- School Violence
- Veterans Services