Social Worker

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Social Workers are concerned with well being and development of individuals and communities, human rights, and social justice. They empower people to develop and use the skills and resources needed to deal with personal and social problems. Social Workers may work with individuals directly or plan and/or carry out programs that benefit individuals, groups and communities. They work in a range of settings, including private practice, in the not-for-profit sector and public service and therefore have a wide range of typical tasks. Tasks may include:

  • Provide counselling to individuals in crisis which includes the assessment of needs and planning interventions
  • Guide small groups of people with common issues (eg unemployed, single parents, migrants) to develop skills, share experiences and support each other
  • Provide the necessary support to empower community groups
  • Facilitate engagement between clients and appropriate community services and programs – providing letters of referral and reports where necessary
  • Research community problems, needs and solutions which may lead to reports, policy development, and program development
  • Evaluate social programs and policies
  • Lobby to change policies and procedures that affect the social welfare of people in the pursuit of social justice for all members of the community
  • Manage and train staff
  • Develop and maintain professional networks and attend professional meetings

Some social workers work in generalist roles while others choose to specialise in areas such as disability services, family and child welfare services, youth services, juvenile and family law support, health services, and mental health services.

Social work requires a commitment to social justice together with a level of emotional maturity; strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work objectively in crisis situations. Social workers need to be able to collaborate effectively with others as well as to work independently. Strong organisational skills together with analytical and problem solving skills are necessary for this work.